Arnprior: Eastern Meadowlark

Hi everyone,

Today, 12 December, Betty Michalowski observed two meadowlarks in the Arnprior area. They were originally reported by Donnie Gordon approximately two weeks ago.  She saw the birds in the afternoon along Van Dusen Road. To reach Van Dusen, take  White Lake Road out of Arnprior, go past the Antrim Truck stop, and continue SW. Take the first left (S) on Van Dusen, which is opposite Campbell Drive.  She observed one bird fly from B to A. She photographed the bird at A

Comments on the bird

Two things: 1) in both species, fall/winter birds are are less contrasty throughout and 2) it goes without saying that the bird is difficult to assess given that it’s puffed up and that some key characters are partially blocked by foliage. I feel it’s a better fit for Eastern as it’s quite a constrasty, warm-toned bird (for basic plumage); it has dark centered scapulars; it has extensive, vivid and deep yellow throughout the underparts; it has buffy sides. Of the things that I find confusing: its apparent light(er) contrast to the head pattern and what appears to be quite a bit of yellow throughout the submoustachial and malar region.. In general, hybrid Eastern x Western must of course be considered but I’m quite tired tonight and I’m afraid I just don’t have the energy for a feather-by-feather analysis! But, maybe someone does, Anyways, without further adieu, here’s the bird…

Photos

Ackowledgements

A thanks for Betty Michalowski for sending these pics by email late this afternoon. She provided details on where to see the bird and also permitted use of her photos to post here on this page.