Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) male Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) male  – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

The image above shows what harsh conditions even the smallest birds in Utah have to endure during the winter, the male Horned Lark has frost on its rump and tail. The sun had been up about 25 minutes when I took this photo of the bird sunning itself on a rock.

Yesterday the pickups thermometer showed 3 degrees Farenheit, the coldest temp I have seen so far this winter. No wonder the lark had frost on it.

Horned Larks are year round residents in Utah. It isn’t very often that I don’t see or hear them when I am out photographing birds and wildlife on Antelope Island. I look for them on the sides of the road, in the tall grasses and perched on the rocks. I love to hear them calling, the sound is very soothing to me.

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)  – Nikon D300, f8, 1/1000, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Western Meadowlarks are also year round residents of the island and can be found perched on rocks, Sagebrush, dried Sunflower stalks, on Mulleins or trees. At this time of the year they form loose flocks and there have been times I have seen well over 50 of them in small areas. Their call; while not as soothing to me as Horned Larks, reminds me of my childhood and brings back pleasant memories spent wandering through fields near my home.

Horned Larks and Western Meadowlarks are birds that I enjoy photographing all year long in Utah and yesterday they gave me some wonderful opportunities.