While out taking pictures recently, I was fortunate enough to have seen several Lark Buntings (Calamospiza melanocorys, family: Fringillidae). This encounter was exciting to me because I have never laid eyes on this species of bird before.
In this image, you can see a black bird with white shoulder patches.
He is sitting in a mesquite tree growing along a barbed wire fenceline. At first glance, I thought I was seeing a red-winged blackbird that had grown the wrong color of feathers for some reason. It was only after I was able to look through my 300mm lens that I knew I was looking at some other kind of bird. Notice the robust beak on this fellow, red-wing blackbirds do not have such a large beak, and where this fellow has white feathers, red-wing blackbirds have red.
In this image, the shoulder patches are clearly visible as our subject settles into a lower branch of the mesquite tree.
In the last picture, you can see two birds and their shoulder patches clearly. Also, you get a good look at their large beaks. The two birds are male and they are pestering each other to see who is the big bird in cowtown.
I was amazed to see these birds because I was out looking primarily for wildflowers that day. It was a double lucky day for me because I spotted yet another species of bird I had never seen just a little ways down the road from these fellows. You can see them here if you’d like.