Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Horned Larks



I was hoping to digiscope Horned Larks on top of snow banks along country roads between Waunakee and Middleton this morning before work. I've been spotting more and more of them over the past few days. Because temperatures are forecast to be in the upper 30s and low 40s throughout this week, I probably don't have too much time left to accomplish this specific compositional challenge.

It didn't take long to find them on Fisher Road. But as the birds proved, obtaining a perfectly composed "horned lark in the snow" shot is entirely different from having a particular mental image of one. I realized part of the problem was choosing the morning instead of evening. In the morning, the hungry birds concentrate on exposed areas for foraging and picking at grit. In the evening, the larks seem to congregate on top of the snow banks and sing just before they go to roost for the night.

I captured the above picture this morning, but it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. Still, forming compositional mental images in advance of a digiscoping outing helps me. I like to recycle locations that have resulted in successful digiscoping because I feel like I know how the lighting will be and what distances and angles I can work with while keeping disturbances to birds at a minimum. It will be fine if I don't get the horned lark shot of my dreams over what's left of this winter. Mental images of other birds, like Fox Sparrows, Winter Wrens and Yellow-rumped Warblers, are just around the corner.

Horned Lark © 2008 Mike McDowell

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