It's the funniest thing. Once you've seen a thing, you'll always see a thing. Two weeks ago I noticed Horned Larks (Eremophila alpestris) during our drive along the prairie on Willms Road south of Knights Ferry in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I took a couple of poorly focused photographs, and posted them at the end of February. I promised to try and get better pictures next time.
So "next time" was today. We drove the road through the prairelands very slowly, and the Horned Larks weren't just "out there", they were next to the road, and they didn't flee when we pulled out the cameras.
There were males and females both. The males are the brightly colored ones. The "horns" are formed by upturned feathers behind their eyes.
The female decided to jump into the grass to show of some of the wildflowers that have started to bloom out here.
The vernal pools had been rejuvenated by the recent rains, and flowers are beginning to show up in abundance. There is such richness right now in this "normal" rain year after four bruising years of drought.