Western Meadowlark calling while walking on a rusty signWestern Meadowlark calling while walking on a rusty sign – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

After a cold and very dreary winter the days are now much warmer, the grasses have begun to turn green and the bird activity on Antelope Island is starting to pick up. Spring migrants are starting to arrive including Say’s Phoebes and Sage Thrashers and I keep expecting to hear the curlews calling over the grasslands.

The Western Meadowlarks are very active right now on the island, searching for insects, scurrying through the grasses and singing their hearts out from their favorite perches.

Western Meadowlark perched on GreasewoodWestern Meadowlark perched on Greasewood – Nikon D500, f8, 1/800, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The population of Western Meadowlarks on the island is increasing as the meadowlarks that migrated slightly further south join the hardier ones that stuck it out through the winter.

Western Meadowlark with a caterpillar on bison manureWestern Meadowlark with a caterpillar on bison manure – Nikon D500, f9, 1/640, ISO 320, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The meadowlarks are finding newly emerged insects and caterpillars to feast on, even poking around or turning over the bison manure might help them find something to eat. They will need all the energy they can get for the breeding season.

Western Meadowlark close upWestern Meadowlark close up – Nikon D500, f9, 1/640, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

They will sing from the tops of signs, bushes, the ground or from a rock perch. They have begun to search for a mate to breed, nest and raise their young.

Western Meadowlark in late winter (or early spring)Western Meadowlark in late winter (or early spring) – Nikon D500, f9, 1/500, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The calendar might say that winter is still here but these birds know that spring has made its appearance and are taking advantage the longer days, the warmth and the lack of snow on the ground.

Western Meadowlark wing liftWestern Meadowlark wing lift – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’m enjoying the warmer weather too and the increasing number of birds on Antelope Island and the rest of northern Utah. It might snow again but it won’t last for long, spring has arrived.

Life is good.

Mia