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June 5th 2009

South Downs, England

    Every now and then the wife and I experience an angst associated with Eastern Meadowlarks.  Like so many in that category of declining species Meadowlarks nest in grassland.

    Larks in Britain also nest in grassland but the European Larks actually belong to a different family of bird.  The Shore Lark does have the yellow.

    A Meadow in a European sense is a field that is not ploughed.  More often a meadow is on the flood plain of a river.  Good grass grows into the late summer.  So meadows are that consequence of grazing by enclosed farm animals.  An ancient meadow is abundant in plant species.

    Eastern Meadowlark, here in Kentucky, begin to nest before hay making season, on into late June.  The angst the wife and I share reflects a concern for the wellbeing of the several groups of meadowlark on our territory and that primal urge to bush hog grassland.  A conjunction between our two species that I could blame on the absence of bison.

 

    The secret is not necessarily to know where the Meadowlark nest is, and politely mow around it.  A Meadowlark under those circumstances is unlike a wren.  The Meadowlark would simply abandon his nest.  Amongst birds, those who nest in grassland have a special wariness, and are too easily distracted.

    The Skylark, which is a British lark I am familiar with, can be easily seen at this time of year on what the English call either hills or downs or moors, depending upon location.    Larks will be nesting successfully, amongst gorse, bracken, tough grasses and sheep.  And sometimes near a lonely footpath, where once in a while they will see a person, in sensible shoes, walking.

    The hills and downs and moors of today, many centuries ago were deciduous woodlands and long ago the British Isle had fewer Skylark. 

A hill in England

 

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