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Western meadowlark        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Western meadowlarks are widespread, abundant, well-loved, and often difficult to photograph.   They tend to be fairly shy and spend a lot of time on the ground, where they are usually hidden by grass and brush.   These were photographed at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area near Riverside, California, and at Bolsa Chica Wetlands in coastal Orange County, California.   The singing bird at top left is in bright spring plumage; the others are showing the somewhat more subdued winter plumage.   The bird at bottom right has a muddy bill from searching for buried soil insects.
          This page shows pictures of the very similar eastern meadowlark.

  • top left: Canon EOS1v, 500 mm f4 IS lens plus 2X converter, Elite Chrome Extra Color (2003)
  • others: Canon 10D, 1DII, 1D3, 7D, 1D4, or 7DII; 500 mm f4 IS or 800 mm f5.6 IS lenses plus 1.4X or 2X converter; fill-in flash on some images (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016)