Horned Lark, Eremophila alpestris – Pawnee National Grasslands, Colorado: Driving the county roads in Pawnee National Grasslands is a great way to see birds. Though birds of the open short grass prairies are easily spooked by curious photographers stumbling over the landscape, they seem to be oblivious to auto traffic roaring up and down the roads. So, using my van as a blind to photograph grassland birds was a no brainier.
I spotted this horned lark hundreds of feet ahead of me as I was driving one of the numerous dirt road that crisscross the grasslands. Anticipating that the birds might fly to fence posts as I approached, I rolled my window down, attached a window mount tripod head and camera. As I approached the birds I turned the engine off, put the van in neutral and coasted to a stop right beside this bird. The stealth approach allowed me to get a half dozen shots before the lark flew off.Fortunately this bird lifted the two feathers on each side of its brow as I shot, revealing the “horns” from whence it name is derived.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 500mm f4, Digital Capture ISO 200