Having struggled to think of garden bird things to write about for my last week’s article, the other day I, decided to venture out of my own territory into another one, that of the countryside! My immediate thought was, even though our weather hasn’t been too severe, to try and see if there were any Snowy Owls in the location where I had photographed them a couple of years ago. I wasn’t really expecting to see one, but being ever the optimist, I ventured out and drove to where they might be. I actually didn’t see any Owls, but the very first side road that I turned into was rewarding, for there, just a couple of yards (metres) in, was a bird standing in the road. I half expected it to be a Snow Bunting, but due to it being a little bigger than that, I guessed that it was a Horned Lark. What a lovely surprise!

I pulled up quickly and got a couple of pictures of it through my windshield before the bird moved just across the road from me, allowing me to lower my side window for better shots, seemingly not too worried about my presence. He walked very quickly and was foraging on the roadside verge and heading towards another three or four of its relatives who were a little further away from the road on the snowy field. They did come towards the roadside verge and they too didn’t seem to be worried about me driving my car a little closer along the road, and I was able to get more pictures through my open side window.

I didn’t see any Snow Buntings, or catch any glimpses of Snowy Owls, but spent a super three quarters of an hour watching the Horned Larks. These, by the way, are named “horned” because there are two small tufts of feathers on either side of their heads, sticking up like little horns. I did get a couple of pictures from behind them, but the horns are barely discernible and wouldn’t have shown up in this newspaper, so are not included. There are some lovely pictures of them on the internet if you google “Horned Lark”.

I hope that you are getting to see more of your own birds on these bright but sunny, cold days.

Stay safe and well,


John Baldwin


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