Bird #452 — Lark Bunting

calamospiza (from kalame, a stalk of grain, and spiza, finch) melanocorys (from melanos, black, and korus, lark, because it sings in flight)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 — 4:55 pm

County Road 10 north of Las Animas, Colorado

Lark Buntings are perhaps the most-easily-seen North American bird that wasn’t already on my life list, and I knew I had a very good chance of seeing them on this trip.

I spotted several of them in the pasture just before I got to the cattle guard that marked the end of the roadside fence. There’s no mistaking them — the males are jet black with white wing patches and tail corners.

Moments after I spotted them, my phone rang. This time it was my wife asking how to connect to wi-fi in her motel room in Orlando, Florida, where she was at a training conference. I couldn’t really help her much, I’m afraid.

Fortunately, the birds stuck around. When I first saw them, I counted 18 males and 3 females, but when they flew across the road I could see there were many more.

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