Harlequin Faced Lark Sparrows

Lark Sparrow on a boulderLark Sparrow on a boulder – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1.2500, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Typically I don’t try to play favorites when it comes to birds because they are all so wonderful, interesting and so much fun to photograph; even the ones most people ignore, but I have to admit that Lark Sparrows are a favorite of mine.

First, I love their calls and songs and even when I don’t see the birds I know that they are there probably walking around under the sagebrush or weaving through the grasses.

Second, I love the harlequin patterns on their faces created by the chestnut, cream, buff and black plumage on their heads. Some might say they look clownish with those patterns but not me, I think it makes them look elegant. The harlequin faced Lark Sparrows are unique, easily identified and quite striking for sparrows which are known for being “little brown jobs”.

The Lark Sparrow above was photographed yesterday on Antelope Island and was one of a pair I found right next to the road. One of the birds had a piece of dried grass in its bill and I hoped I would get to see the sparrows courting but they flew off.

Sorry this is a bit short but I am heading north this morning to guide Steve Creek, one of my favorite people, on his first trip to one of my favorite places, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge! I just know he is going to love it.

Life is good.



  1. Elephant's Child May 11, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Have fun with your friend.
    I have a very big soft spot for the lbs’s. I think that when we look at them they have an elegance and a charm that is too often ignored. As this one does.

  2. Patty Chadwick May 11, 2016 at 8:25 am

    I think this is a beautiful little bird…I love the colors and patterns in its face! I have always been drawn to some of the less “flashy”, less colorful birds…like the Canada Geese, the Chickadee, the white crowned and White-throated sparrows and the Juncos. They have a quality of simplicity similar in appeal to some of cave art and Asian art, like sumie, that I’ve always loved….

  3. Glen A. Fox May 11, 2016 at 8:01 am

    Gorgeous image Mia. They are spectacular birds. Steve Creek is a lucky guy!

  4. Bob McPherson May 11, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Beautiful photo Mia. Stunning detail and color.

  5. Randal Sokolik May 11, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Love your pix! The lighting, color, clarity and DOF The results you obtain from your Nikkor 500 w 1.4 tel are incredible.
    I am just starting out using a Nikkor 300 w 1.4 tel and your pictures give me the inspiration to keep shooting!
    Thank you!

  6. Roger Burnard May 11, 2016 at 5:14 am

    Wow Mia…. what a great shot… I love the rich brown color of this bird, and you did a great
    job capturing the image… I wish you much success on your adventure today to the Bear
    River Migratory Bird Refuge. I’m sure Steve will appreciate your willingness to share with
    him one of “your favorite places.” Have fun, and may you both get some great images. ;-))

Comments are closed.