You may enlarge any image in this blog by clicking on it. Click again for a detailed view.
I’m very partial to Horned Larks. These little birds — barely bigger than a sparrow — are beautiful, graceful, and have lovely songs. They get their name from their “horns,” tiny tufts of feathers at the backs of the males’ heads.
Females’ plumage resembles the males’ but it isn’t quite as bright — there is less yellow, and not so much bold black markings on the face and throat — and they lack the males’ “horns.” The lark shown in the next two images is a female.
Horned Larks favor open country. Their range includes most of the United States, basically, wherever there are open fields. I photographed these individuals in grasslands in the vicinity of Sonoita, southeast of Tucson. I’ve seen them also in the farmlands to Tucson’s northwest.
These little songbirds usually travel in flocks, sometimes with as many as a hundred or more individuals. However, they’re not easy to spot because, normally, they stay low, foraging in the grass and scrub vegetation. I had the good luck to capture the two individuals depicted in today’s blog as they perched on wire fences.
I find that the best time of day to spot and photograph Horned Larks is relatively early in the morning. That’s when individuals fly up from ground cover to sun themselves and, perhaps, do a little singing.
Images made with a Canon 5Div, 400mm f4 DO II lens+1.4x telextender, aperture priority setting. First image shot at ISO 640, f6.3 @ 1/2500. Second and third images shot at ISO 640, f5.6 @ 1/5000.