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 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.

Mia

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