Autumn Horned Lark

Preening male Horned LarkPreening male Horned Lark – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I went out shooting yesterday for the first time in a week and being where I could see birds, mountains, the Great Salt Lake and mountains was good for me. Seeing and being able to photograph birds makes me feel connected to the earth, sky and the air. One of the subjects I photographed yesterday was this male Autumn Horned Lark that was preening in the morning light on Antelope Island State Park.

Male Horned Lark with an itchMale Horned Lark with an itch – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I like how in this frame the “horns” of the lark are visible and how I was able to get eye contact from the lark even though it was scratching. Most of the time I’ve found the birds either turn away or close their eyes when I am photographing them in a scratching pose.

Male Horned Lark all fluffed upMale Horned Lark all fluffed up – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Summer has changed to autumn and the behaviors of the Horned Larks that have been seen through the summer but have been difficult to get close to have changed. They will start their days warming up on the boulders and rocks on the island and they are les skittish in the chilly dawn.

Yesterday was a delicious morning with cool air, a cloudless sky and lovely light. Summer has left the valley, the slopes of the mountains have begun to glow with the red colors of the oaks in autumn. Saying goodbye to the hottest summer on record here isn’t difficult to do at all especially when I know more birds are on their way.



  1. Julie Brown October 3, 2013 at 4:53 am

    Ah, such sweet light and lovely warm color! I love these birds, although I have only seen one once.

  2. Elephant's Child October 3, 2013 at 12:14 am

    I am late to the party today – but love, love, love the Horned Lark. Thank you.

  3. eric c11 October 2, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    hoo, how beautifull is this little passerine, never seen befor for me,
    he takes poses for you like in a studio, it s wonderfull
    thanks mia, take care =))

  4. Prairie Birder October 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Lovely colors and photos, Mia!

  5. Julie G. October 2, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Perfection! Your photographs are superb, Mia! I’m looking forward to viewing these cool birds at the beach here in Chicago this month. Your images are so exquisitely captured that I often feel like I can reach out and touch the birds you feature.

  6. Merrill Ann Gonzales October 2, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I love the scratching photo… How perfect! Love them all!

  7. Montanagirl October 2, 2013 at 9:58 am

    You captured him beautifully! The lighting and conditions were perfect.

  8. Stu October 2, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Great Colors and detail, and the narrative really helps explain the situation. Thanks Mia!

  9. Kathleen October 2, 2013 at 8:18 am

    What a lovely bird. It’s one I’ve heard, but only see from a blurry distance. I believe the first time I saw them, the other birders had a good laugh at my party because we were so intent on looking for cool birds on the water, we nearly missed these guys hanging out behind us in the parking lot!

  10. Wendy October 2, 2013 at 7:03 am

    What awesome shots! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Beverly Everson October 2, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Excellent shots!

  12. Bob Bushell October 2, 2013 at 5:08 am

    Wowee, that is perfection Mia.

  13. Eileen October 2, 2013 at 5:00 am

    Mia, it is a beautiful bird. And your photos are gorgeous. Happy Birding and have a great day!

Comments are closed.