Prolonged male Horned Lark preening session

/, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, Horned Larks, Utah/Prolonged male Horned Lark preening session

Male Horned LarkMale Horned Lark behind boulder – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Normally when I see Horned Larks preening it doesn’t last very long, a car or person comes by and scares the birds off, the sound of the shutter startles it or a raptor in the sky causes it to be alarmed and it flushes.

Yesterday I came across this very cooperative male Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris).  This male bird preened for a full seven minutes and I took 256 images of it.   The bird was behind a boulder at first but popped up on top of the right almost immediately and began to preen, he sure put on a show. This post won’t have much text but it does have plenty of images.

Little did I know how this Horned Lark was getting prepped for a marathon preening session.

Horned Lark Warming up for the preening sessionWarming up for the preening session – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Lift those wings! Yes, even Horned Larks seem to need to limber upLift those wings! Yes, even birds seem to need to limber up – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Horned Lark stretching those shouldersStretch those shoulders – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Is this my best side?Is this my best side? – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Horned Lark all fluffed upAll fluffed up – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Horned Lark keeping an eye on the skyKeeping an eye on the sky – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Male Horned Lark groomingGrooming is important – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Horned Lark scratching an itchScratching an itch – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Horned Lark pilatesHorned Lark Pilates – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Horned Lark stretching left sideStretching left side – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Horned Lark stretching the right wingNow stretch the right wing – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Horned Lark shaking it offShake it off – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Horned Lark Head TuckHead tuck – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Horned Lark and the Paparazzi poseThe Paparazzi pose –  Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Horned Lake and an over the shoulder lookThe over the shoulder look – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Horned Lark stretching one more timeOne more stretch – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Horned Lark checking out the skyChecking out the sky – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

A handsome Horned LarkA handsome bird – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

A Horned Lark almost done preeningAlmost done – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

A Horned Lark about to fly away after preeningTime to fly – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

I had a lot of fun photographing this prolonged male Horned Lark preening session on Antelope Island State Park.

Mia

15 Comments

  1. Larry Jordan October 19, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Bravo Mia! What a fantastic series! I’m a sucker for that over he shoulder look. So sexy 😉

    • Mia McPherson October 20, 2011 at 5:55 am

      Thanks Larry, I like that over the shoulder look too!

  2. Jim Hackley October 18, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Very entertaining poses and a wonderful series, way to go.

    • Mia McPherson October 20, 2011 at 5:55 am

      Thanks Jim, it was a very cooperative Horned Lark!

  3. Skip Harris October 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Mia, I have only seen the Horned Lark and would love to capture an image of one. My favorite in the series is the scratch shot. Makes me feel good just to look at it. You deserve to be spoiled by a bird once in a while. I am glad you were there to capture it.

    Skip Harris

  4. Nicole MacP October 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    VERY cool, love all those neat poses!

    • Mia McPherson October 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm

      Thanks Nicole, hope you are getting out to do some photography or working on your great drawings.

  5. Jeremy Medina October 10, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    What a great sighting! I love the “portrait” one where he’s looking back.

    • Mia McPherson October 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      Jeremy,

      That is one of my favorite images in this series too.

  6. David Sparks October 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    One cooperative bird is all it takes to make my day. Serious birders track species/day, but I’m happy to see only a few, or even one, if there is a cooperative bird like your Horned Lark. Great series!

    • Mia McPherson October 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      Thanks Dave,

      Some days would be a bust without one cooperative bird or a couple.

  7. Dan Huber October 10, 2011 at 7:16 am

    wonderful photos Mia. Love how much detail. I usually only get to see these guys from afar and don’t get as good a look.

    dan

    • Mia McPherson October 10, 2011 at 8:49 am

      Dan, thanks for your comment. I used to only get to see Horned Larks from afar too but ths past year I have been able to get close to them but only in certain locations. The photos here were taken at one of those spots.

  8. Robert October 10, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Wonderful series. Who knew that preening could be so dang interesting?!

    • Mia McPherson October 10, 2011 at 8:50 am

      Thanks Robert, it was interesting to see this fellow preening, especially for so long.

Comments are closed.