Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) Icteridae

April 2, 2016
Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge, MT
Robert Niese

The Western Meadowlark performs a lovely metallic flute-like song throughout the spring and summer. Its Eastern counterpart, on the other hand, has a much flatter, whistled song. Easter and Western Meadowlarks are so similar in appearance that until quite recently they were considered the same species. Since the Eastern species was discovered and named first, the Western, when it finally gained full species distinction, became known as the “neglected” meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta). This species is one of the 37 (including subspecies) named by John James Audubon throughout his career as one of  America’s first ornithologists.

Washington Pass

North Cascades National Park, WA
August 17, 2014
Robert Niese

I’m off on an adventure with the BF for a couple weeks, then heading to UC-Riverside to do some research with a fellow ornithologist. I’ll resume regular posting in July! Until then, get out and enjoy the sunshine! Cheers!

Mount Rainier from Tipsoo Lake

Chinook Pass, Mount Rainier National Park, WA
October 4, 2012
Robert Niese

(Those bushy, Dr. Seuss-like plants scattered throughout the foreground are the fruiting structures of Anemone occidentalis, a common and beautiful montane flower.)