This week’s photo, taken June 7, 2013 at Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge in the south/central region of Washington state, features a singing WESTERN MEADOWLARK.
Friday, I visit Conboy Lake NWR, and although I arrive in the middle of the afternoon on a breezy day, I still manage to experience some wonderful birds, including RUFFED GROUSE, CASSIN’S VIREO, WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER, NASHVILLE WARBLER and EASTERN KINGBIRD.
SANDHILL CRANES, once extirpated from the state of Washington, returned to Conboy in 1979, and in recent years a few dozen pairs have been nesting each spring in the wet meadows. From the observation platform, I spot a pair of cranes across the meadow, and then a small head pops up out of the grass – a baby crane! I’m too far away to capture a decent image with my camera, but since I had heard that fairly close views of cranes are sometimes possible from Kreps Lane Road, I return to my car and head in that direction. When I reach the most promising spot along that gravel road, I only notice another distant pair of cranes. However, a WESTERN MEADOWLARK proves to be a fine consolation prize. It perches on a nearby fence, faces into the sun, and it repeatedly broadcasts its soothing song. I take several photos of this highly cooperative beauty. Often times, in bird-watching and in life, it’s worth making the effort to find something. You won’t always get what you want, but you may be rewarded in other ways.