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Monday, December 5, 2016

Hola, HOLA!


Well, these are very "grainy" shots...it was getting dark when we were walking tonight (5 December 2016).  But this is only the second time I've seen a Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) on Salmon Creek Beach (during the past twelve years), so it seemed worth sharing some photos for the record.

Here's a view from the side.  In the first photo and the next one, note the yellowish face and throat; the dark facial markings; the black "necklace"; and pale underparts.



This individual showed quite a bit of russet coloration on the nape (neck) and some of the wing feathers:
 



The next photo is just fun.  It shows the more golden color above the bill (between the eyes) relative to the pale yellow on the throat and sides of the face.  [The Horned Lark is actively foraging among washed up eelgrass (Zostera marina).]
 

Parmeter and Wight (2010) write that Horned Larks have become scarce in Sonoma County. (I haven't heard thoughts about the reason(s) for this decline.  If you know more about local changes in Horned Lark populations, it would be interesting to hear more.)  It would be nice if this one decided to stay around for a while!

P.S.  The title of this post is a play on the 4-letter code for Horned Larkusing the first two letters from each word.

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