Horned Lark in early spring

Horned Lark in early springHorned Lark in early spring – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/250, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Spring is springing up all over, I can see grasses turning green, the ice is melting off of the lakes and ponds and the snow is only thick in the high country. I photographed this male Horned Lark just two days ago and I’m tickled that I can see new growth of grasses in the frame.

Horned Lark fluffing in early morning lightHorned Lark fluffing in early morning light – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/400, ISO 500, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

The early morning light lit the bird, tiny grasses and the ground with a warm glow. I was bare handed and my fingers weren’t freezing! What a change for just over a week ago.

A male Horned Lark in early springA male Horned Lark in early spring – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/320, ISO 500, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I saw flies, tiny moths and even a mosquito the day I photographed this Horned Lark. I’m not exactly looking forward to all of the bugs; I dread the start of the biting gnat season, but I am happy to feel the warmth of the sun and to watch as the hillsides and plains turn green. It all happens so quickly.



  1. Kathie March 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Mia, what wonderful lighting! I saw my first horned larks right at the entrance to the Antelope Island Causeway. I remember how excited I was when I saw them. BTW, the “Moment of Nature” on CBS Sunday Morning this morning was of porcupines feeding on hawthorn berries on Antelope Island! I hoped they would pull back for a full view of the Island, but they never did. Still, it was fun to see the porcupines and know that it was Antelope Island!

    • Mia McPherson March 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      Kathie, I’ve seen Horned Larks at the park entrance too! They sing so beautifully and I love watching them chase each other around. Now that I would love to capture in images but they are so quick!

      I watched the video and enjoyed it a lot, the only thing was that they showed Russian Olive tree fruits not Hawthorne. I am not even sure there are Hawthornes on the island!

  2. M. Firpi March 17, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    It must feel wonderful to feel spring coming and see the grass and all the wildlife emerge!

    • Mia McPherson March 22, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      It sure does feel wonderful Maria!

  3. Lynn Koch March 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Beautiful shots, Mia. The lighting is exquisite and the subtle colors of Spring harmonize with the lovely Horned Lark!

  4. Merrill Ann Gonzales March 17, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Oh, I know what you mean by the warmth of the sun on your face! Nothing like it after a long hard winter! Thanks for such great photos… and I’m delighted to see that you are not knee deep in mud as we will be once we start to thaw. Your photos here show much more Spring than I’m seeing here… everything still gray… still snow coming every other day. So I thank you very much for these photos. HAPPY SPRING!

    • Mia McPherson March 22, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Merrill, the sun’s warmth is especially delightful after a cold winter. We’ve had a few more snowfalls since I published this post but the ground has warmed up and the snow didn’t stay around long.

  5. Prairie Birder March 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Very lovely pictures, Mia. Spring does seem to have sprung in your area, it will be awhile until we see green grass here!

    • Mia McPherson March 22, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      Thank you Charlotte, I hope you’ll be seeing signs of spring soon too!

  6. Bob Bushell March 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    You certainly filmed him so well Mia.

    • Mia McPherson March 22, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks Bob, Horned Larks are great subjects.

  7. Loekie March 17, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Beautiful and wonderful pictures as always, Mia! Here in BC where we live 1100 meter high and also in a weeks time we have seen how the snow melted and the ponds and lakes are starting to melt. Looking forward to see the summer birds back.

    • Mia McPherson March 22, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Loekie, thanks for your comment! We’ve had more snow since this was posted but fortunately the ground was warm and it melted quickly. I hope you see your summer birds soon.

  8. Pierre Cenerelli March 17, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Mia: wow, wow & wow! These are fabulous pictures of a lovely species I have not seen in years. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mia McPherson March 22, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      Thank you very much Pierre, I hope you get to see Horned Larks soon!

  9. Carol K Caldwell March 17, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Well done, Mia. Lovely images, great composition and subtle yet powerful lighting. All together photographs celebrating the renewal and promise of Spring.

    • Mia McPherson March 22, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks Carol! The light was wonderful.

  10. Sherry in MT March 17, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Love the lark, another bird I’ve never seen and you indeed are ahead of us in the green department!

    • Mia McPherson March 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      Sherry, I’m surprised you don’t see Horned Larks there, I have seen them all the way up to Glacier County.

  11. judy watson March 17, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Yes, beautiful shots of the Horned Lark. Love them.
    I love the changing colors there. And like you not looking foward to the bugs.

    • Mia McPherson March 22, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      Judy, I don’t mind the brine flies and the midges just tickle but I am really, really not looking forward to the biting gnats. Just thinking about them makes me either shudder or feel itchy!

      Last year the first time a biting gnat bit me was April 12th, oh man, that is too soon, only a few weeks away!

  12. eric c11 March 17, 2013 at 7:34 am

    beautifull specie, i like it, nice pictures mia ☺

    • Mia McPherson March 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      Thank you very much Eric.

  13. Stu March 17, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Great vivid colors Mia. Excellent shots.

  14. Julie G. March 17, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Lovely images, Mia! The lighting is beautiful. We are still waiting for the temperatures to warm up here in the Midwest. I too am looking forward to all the stunning colors spring brings.

    • Mia McPherson March 22, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks Julie, spring is still struggling here to kick out old man winter, it snowed some yesterday and today. Enough I had to clear it off of my vehicle windows.

  15. Eileen March 17, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Mia, beautiful shot of the Horned Larks!

Comments are closed.