It was great to get back out into the field yesterday and even better that there were some cooperative Lark Sparrows in my viewfinder. I spotted one on top of a Sagebrush and when I was able to focus on the sparrow I realized it had a grasshopper of some kind in its bill. (Maybe a Speckled Rangeland Grasshopper?) The Lark Sparrow posed for quite a few frames.
Then the Lark Sparrow flew to the ground and hopped along with its tail spread and its wings pointed to the ground with the grasshopper still firmly in its bill. I’m not sure if this was part of a courtship display (BNA does not mention this behavior) of if the bird with the grasshopper in its bill was attempting to get the grasshopper to its nest without being watched.
The sparrow flew to this rock where is was joined by another Lark Sparrow for a few moments before the sparrow with the grasshopper flew off, I took a few images of the bird without the grasshopper after it left.
The sparrow with the bit of vegetation in its bill flew up to the top of a nearby sagebrush where the other one with the grasshopper was located and while I took images of this Lark Sparrow I lost track of the one with the grasshopper and did not relocate it.
When the Lark Sparrow flew off to land on another sagebrush I noticed that the piece of vegetation was no longer in its bill. I’m not sure if what I saw was courtship behavior or if this pair of birds were just foraging for insects to feed their young but I found the behavior interesting. Antelope Island birds never disappoint.
Besides; I am always thrilled to photograph the harlequin-faced Lark Sparrows no matter what they are doing!