Meadow lark with morning sun

Early morning landing.

Early this morning as I walked down the road to feed Star, I saw these meadow larks (Sturnella neglecta) sunning on the barbed wire fence between the house and arena pasture.  I walked quickly back up to the house, grabbed my camera and took a few shots.  The larks are skittish and I did not get close, but I edited the ‘Early morning landing’ above as the sunlight pierced the feathers, creating an illumination that I saw only when I enlarged the picture.  Fascinating.

The photograph below captures the small flock on the fence.  When I came back to the house after feeding Star I looked out the front window and saw that the flock (or another group) had come around to the front of the house and was feasting on insects and seeds on the front lawn.  You can click on the ‘Larks on barbed wire’ below and obtain a larger image.  I did not get a picture of the flock at the front of the house.

Larks on barbed wire.

I have noted that birds are singing more here at the ranchito since the weather has warmed and rains have come.  I saw my first Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) a few days ago perched on a T-post beside the road to the barn.  I have a goal to photograph the bluebird this year.  I have seen as many as eleven bluebirds bathing in the runoff water from the horse trough.


Notes, corrections and additions:

To disclose my identification of the ‘meadow larks’ above, I have to add that my confidence in typing the above birds as meadow lark is fairly high, but with a bit of doubt about western or eastern.  When I got the Peterson’s guide open and starting reading about the meadow lark, there are at least two varieties, western and eastern, and I will have to look closer for the signature attributes.  The white edges on the tail (seen in the first photograph) are specific signatures for the western variety, so I go with that identification.  Besides, this is west Texas. 

I will look again in the morning at the flock, pending their reappearance.


Filed under Birds

37 responses to “Meadow lark with morning sun

  1. Meadow Larks are not something I am familiar capture of it. The birds are singing big time these past days..

  2. Rubia

    That turned out to be a pretty amazing photograph of the flying meadowlark, Jack! It could be an ancient Egyptian god rising up into the skies. Good luck on capturing a bluebird picture. I am eager to see!

  3. Cowboy

    Howdy Jack –

    To be honest, I wouldn’t know a Meadow Lark if it landed on me, but a great job of capturing it in flight.

    I’m looking forward to hearing birds again and maybe we will when the cold weather disappears.

  4. What a nice image of the light shining through the feathers. Those bluebirds bathing in the run-off must have a been a satisfying thing to see. One of my favorite things about living in El Dorado, just outside of Santa Fe, was hearing the meadowlarks as I walked down the road, especially in the evening with the sun getting ready to set over the Jemez mountains. I lived on Alondra Road and I believe that’s an Hispanic word for lark.

    • Teresa: What a nice walk that must have been. Oh, yes, seeing the bluebirds like that was satisfying. I didn’t even look closely at first at the flock of birds bathing. When I looked closer down in the corral (I was feeding the horses back up in the stables), I was really stunned at the whole flock having the time of their life. Must write this in a post.

  5. It was good to see your mention of the rains! that has to be comforting after the last year. It will be so good to again hear the Meadowlark’s song!

  6. fivereflections

    it has been a while since i’ve seen a meadowlark.

  7. Hello Jack, the larks are such sweet little birds. Yesterday I saw “my” first skylark this year, and it’s such a lovely sign of spring to see it flying up into the air singing of all its might. But I see that the meadowlark and the skylark are not of the same family!

    It’s a fine picture where you see the wings of the bird like that.

    And all the birds are singing now. Isn’t it lovely?

    Grethe ´)

  8. Nice to have this to read this Sunday morn. Great shot, Jack! I so appreciate that you share your process with us (the notes/corrections/additions). I participated in my first Great Backyard Bird Count last Sunday and for first time discovered the acute need for accuracy. The Blackbirds in the tree had mottled breasts, so I listed them as Redwing, not Brewers, even tho I spied not a red splash on a wing. Later after telling this to pro-birder Judy on her blog, she said that the females stay in separate flocks before breeding. There is so much to know!

    • Hi Cirrelda! You are welcome for the notes, etc. I like to do that note thing to explain things that don’t really fit into the body of the post. Wow, on your finding out about Redwing! Yes, that’s so good to look up for accuracy. I will make corrections if necessary! Good to hear from you. I notice that La Jicarita has a new format of information.

      • Hi,

        Your notes convey good civility – and convey your being an experienced writer, too.

        Right, on La Jicarita. I commented, but they haven’t approved it yet. It will be an interesting new mix – from the country and the city.

      • Cirrelda: La Jicarita seems to hit the problems pretty well. The criticisms take me a couple of steps beyond. I hope your comment is published with them. I did not respond, but their manifesto I really like! Goodness knows, I oughta be doing more politically to fight this ideology of waste, extraction and consumerism.

  9. How wonderful for you…the song of the meadowlark makes my heart sing. Sadly, they don’t come up here where we live.

  10. Donnie Reno

    It is so great living in the country. Bobbie and I love it.

  11. I’ve not heard meadowlarks yet this year, the mix of their calls with the redwinged blackbird always reminds me of the midwest. Down on the coastal prairie, around Matagorda, the larks can be thick – nothing better for a morning walk than hearing their chorus.

    I’ve just noticed the mourning doves beginning their calls, too. And I can whistle up my bluejays for breakfast now! My whistling isn’t so loud – their hearing must be acute.

    And lucky you to have bluebirds. They’re gorgeous little things. Oh! and I forgot to tell you last year – four swallows fledged from that nest built under the dock. Perhaps the parents will come back this year.

    • Linda: I don’t get many redwinged blackbirds here, but early in the Spring, several flocks “seem” to migrate through the far field for a week or so. I would like for them to stay. On the bluejays, you call them up? How neat. I’ve always liked that touch of calling the wild closer or bringing in the domesticates by human sound (not a siren).

  12. Hello Jack!

    When I moved here to N.E. Arkansas, I saw a Blue Bird for the first time in memory. But they seemed lonely. Dear Hubby built a house for them, and since then, we have seen at least 2 clutches a year fledge. One year, a snake got the eggs.

    We now have a large population of Blue Birds and I have many photos. And they are so lovely flying among the trees with the Cardinals, Mocking Birds, Blue Jays and other birds who reside here! :^)

    How is your eye surgery healing? Still have yet to have anything done for the Macular Degeneration I was diagnosed with a couple of months ago. I am weary of waiting as I believe it is getting worse.

    Love your blog.

    • Iona: Great that you have bluebirds. Two clutches a year! Fabulous. My eye has healed, about 95 percent central vision returned. The hole is not there and the vision continues to improve. I’ll be a prospect for cataract surgery in a year. So sorry about your macular degeneration. I hope your doctor can stop or reverse the problem. Sooner the better is probably a good thing and the medicines they have these days really takes the pain out. Thank you for coming to my blog and commenting. Please keep me posted on your eye improvement. Thanks, Iona.

      • Hello Jack!

        Thanks much for your encouragement. It thrills me to know how speedily you eye has recovered without complications. That is good news!

        I saw my primary care physician (PCP) today and put the question to her because my young (about 40 years old) Ophthalmologist/Surgeon said if he was diagnosed with MD, he would not have the surgery. My PCP said, due to my age (I am 81) and that I take Coumadin (blood thinner), I would not be a very good candidate for surgery. She figures I would leave this world before I go blind from MD.

        Yet, it is my belief my family’s longevity is not being taken into consideration. Father passed age 94 from complications of a bowel blockage that could have been easily prevented. Mother passed at age 99 due to a massive stroke.

        I have two brothers and four sisters yet living. Ages range from 92 to 76. My 92 year old brother is still going strong. He drove (by himself) from Oceanside, CA to visit us here in NE Arkansas last June!!! People are astounded when they learn our ages! They can’t believe us, and some come to the point they think we are not telling the truth! lol

        Guess I need to do more homework and present it to the Ophthalmologist the end of March. Hold some good
        thoughts for me, if you would, please. And keep me in the loop about your complete recovery, please.

        Hope to soon see some more bird photos too!

        Thanks again,

      • Iona: Longevity certainly runs in your family. Your family lives long and enjoys life as opposed to living long and being incapacitated. One thing to bring up, Iona, I had a macular hole, rather than macular degeneration. The hole was caused by a yet-unknown factor. I had not been hit in the eye, but something like that would cause my hole. The macular degeneration is different the doctor told me from the hole thing. Don’t know if that will make a difference to you, but thought I better pass it along since you are gathering information. Best of luck — Jack.

  13. Hello Jack!

    Thanks for the info. Imagine it will make a big difference. I’ll try to find that and see how it all fits together.

    You hit the nail on the head about living long and the options. My Dear Mother had MD. She could still see lights and figures, but could not make out who people were, or see things outside of her window. She lost all ability to do needle work, watch TV, read, etc. Took all the enjoyment out of life for her yet she never complained. It meant a lot to have the bible read to her. Or just conversation. I cannot visualize myself in that type of existence. Yet, if the Good Lord were to ask it of me, I would live it to its fullest. Sitting about feeling sorry for yourself is not productive.

    Thanks again.


  14. Like Theodore Roosevelt said, “Better to wear out than rust out.” Hope all goes well with your appointments.

  15. Spring must be coming to Texas. We had 15 inches of snow yesterday so ours will come much later.

  16. Pingback: 24 May 2012: a lark « Gratitude every day

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