Meadowlark On A Cold Morning
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About a week ago a friend and I made a foray into the grasslands of Sonoita and Patagonia, about 50 miles southeast of Tucson. For those of you who’ve never been there, the area is much different from Tucson. Located at a significantly higher elevation than Tucson, Sonoita and Patagonia include many square miles of rolling grasslands and prairie. In some respects this area looks like eastern Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.
The climate there is cooler and wetter than that of our local desert. When my friend and I arrived there were several inches of new snow on the ground and the early morning temperature was down in the low 20s. We didn’t see a lot of wildlife on this trip: I suspect that many birds and animals were hunkered down due to the cold weather. However, I was able to photograph a Meadowlark as it warmed itself in the early morning sun.
Meadowlarks are among my favorite species to photograph during the cooler months. These birds are seasonal residents in the Tucson area. They avoid the desert, preferring to inhabit grasslands and the agricultural flatlands northwest of Tucson. There are two subspecies of Meadowlark: Eastern and Western. Both subspecies show up here, although the Western subspecies comprises the majority. They closely resemble each other and I can’t tell them apart, so, as far as I’m concerned this bird is just a “Meadowlark.”
Whatever subspecies it is, I find it to be charming.
Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 100-400mm ISII zoom lens+1.4x telextender, aperture priority setting, ISO 640, f8 @ 1/2500.