Peek-a-Boo Meadowlark

(I wrote most of this blog the last week of March and now just getting a chance to post. I thought I’d better get it posted since most posts going forward will be about London and migration. The photos are with my old camera.)

One of the frustrating things about birding is hearing a bird and not being able to see it. Especially grassland birds when the grass isn’t high. You hear them calling constantly but never see them.

Where are they at?

One of the prime examples is the EASTERN MEADOWLARK.

Eastern Meadowlark
An Eastern Meadowlark showing its bright colors in the afternoon soon. Franklin HS – 3/26/16

You can hear meadowlarks calling. There might be 1, 2, or 10 birds out there but you don’t know for sure because you never see them.

Or yes you do when they pop up to sing on a bush or tree. Otherwise they are hidden.

How do they hide in such short grass?

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Photo of the same area as above taken in a burst of 5 photos, so there wasn’t much time between the photos. Where did it go? Franklin HS – 3/26/16

I spent some time with an Eastern Meadowlark on a recent Saturday afternoon trying to find out. (I started with a Wilson Snipe but it wasn’t cooperating.)  I heard the meadowlark but couldn’t see him. So I waited and watched and after some time he popped up again.

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The meadowlark is back out in the open. Franklin HS – 3/26/16
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And just as quickly he disappeared. If you look close you can see his head barely exposed in the center of the photo. Franklin HS – 3/23/16

He was hidden, popped up, sang for a while, and disappeared again.  Where did he go?

If you look closely at the following photo you will catch a glance of his head on the center of the photo to the far right. Now I know why I don’t see them. He sang in the above photos, ducked, and ran to the west.

He is walking in grass only about half his height, he’s walking low, and keeping his camouflaged non-yellow side towards me.

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The meadowlark is keeping low and heading west. Franklin HS – 3/23/16

And when he did sing he didn’t stand all the way up. He just kept low singing. No wonder I’m overlooking them. If I hadn’t caught any of the minimally exposed yellow color I’d miss him.

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A zoomed photo to show how little of the meadowlark is exposed.

I ended the session with the understanding how I miss seeing Eastern Meadowlarks.

Not sure I’ll find them any easier though I now have an understanding.

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