For a day that the weather forecasters said would be “Sunny” this morning sure didn’t start off that way. In fact, for the first hour or more the light was very wishy-washy. The clouds were thick to the east and blocking the sun. But… when the sun finally did start to shine one bird made the bad light earlier worth it.

Perched Lark SparrowPerched Lark Sparrow – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

This is the closest I have been to a Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) to date and this was a very cooperative bird too! I had seen my FOY (first of year) Lark Sparrow last week and hoped that this year I’d be able to get closer and better images of the species.  Got it!

Lark Sparrows have bold harlequin facial patterns, a single dark breast spot (not visible here) and a long dark tail with white corners making them amongst the easiest sparrows to identify. Lark Sparrows breed here in Utah in sage flats and grasslands, they spend their winters in the southern U. S. to southwest Mexico.

I think they are handsome sparrows. Perhaps my luck in photographing them is changing.




  1. Judy Nealson June 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    I have many sparrows, most of them I cant identify but I especially love the little song sparrows and the black capped sparrows. We have come to look at them as pests but when you get the benocs and look closely they are quite beautiful and most have a pretty song.

    • Mia McPherson June 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      Judy, I agree that sparrows are beautiful and that most have a pretty song. I hope to add more to my portfolio soon! Thanks for your comment.

  2. zephyr May 8, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Love this image. i’ve been living with some lark sparrows in the garden here and am totally enchanted with them. Especially their very sweet song.

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      Zephyr, Lark Sparrows are enchanting! Thanks.

  3. Julie Brown May 4, 2012 at 3:59 am

    Sparrows are one of my favorite groups of birds. The field marks are all visible on this good-looking bird. I really like the over the shoulder pose!

    • Mia McPherson May 7, 2012 at 5:02 am

      Thank you Julie, Lark Sparrows are great birds.

  4. Ingrid April 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    What a beauty. I still have trouble with some of my sparrow IDs, so I will file this one away for that day when I encounter a Lark Sparrow.

    • Mia McPherson May 3, 2012 at 11:28 am

      Ingrid, Lark Sparrows are lovely and I hope that you see one soon.

  5. Tammy Karr April 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Great photo! Congrats on getting so close to this handsome sparrow!!

    • Mia McPherson May 3, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Thanks Tammy, they are handsome birds!

  6. Stu April 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Beautiful Photograph

  7. Bob Zeller April 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    A very handsome fellow, indeed. Great shot, Mia. One of my favorite sparrows.

    • Mia McPherson May 3, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Thanks Bob, you are very kind.

  8. Scott April 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    That’s a beautiful image, Mia.

    • Mia McPherson May 3, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Thank you Scott, they are beautiful birds.

  9. Carol Mattingly April 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    That is such a beautiful bird. I’ve not seen them before now. I like the light too. Carol

    • Mia McPherson May 3, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Lark Sparrows are beautiful, love that head pattern. Thanks much for your comment Carol.

  10. Susan April 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Wonderful Mia, the photo is so crisp and clear. Lark Sparrows are once of my favorites.

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