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Common Skylark - Sanglerke - Alauda arvensis
Sånglarka - Sanglærke -Kiuru - Veldleeuwerik - Feldlerche - Alouette des champs - Alondra Común


Common Skylark resting on the deck of a survey vessel
Onboard a survey vessel, Black Sea, 09 March 2010

Skylark are one of the earliest migrants to return in the spring and also make cold weather movements in winter, migrants can therefore be seen almost at any time outside of the breeding season. In early March 2010 large numbers were seen crossing the Black Sea. Many landed and subsequently died onboard a survey vessel approximately halfway between Turkey and Russia. Some died of exhaustion, others by collision.

A fate that often befalls migrants crossing open water is that on overcast nights the birds lose their bearings and then circle anything that has lights until daybreak when they can re-orientate themselves using the light from the sun. Needless to say this costs hours of extra flying and energy consumption. Skylark seem particularly prone to being caught up in these circulations and will remain circling the vessel until well after daybreak.

Skylarks circling an vessel offshore
Part of a flock of Skylarks circling an offshore survey vessel, German Sector of the North Sea, November 2011




Many of the Skylarks seen offshore in the Black Sea in March 2010 were killed and eaten by a Rook and a Kestrel, both of which remained onboard a couple of days. Interestingly some Skylarks killed by collisions in November 2011 lay on deck (along with dead of other species) and were not eaten by Long-eared Owls or Short-eared Owls that were present - these preferred to catch living prey.

Common Skylark resting on the deck of a survey vessel
On the deck of an ROV survey vessel, Black Sea, 04 March 2010
This bedraggled individual landed on a winch and became covered in grease.

Late autumn migrant at Tjeldstø, Øygarden
Late autumn migrant at Tjeldstø, Øygarden, November 2010





Exhausted migrant Skylark resting on deck
Exhausted migrant rests on deck during the night, German Sector of the North Sea, November 2011
The above photograph was taken at night using a DSLR with a 400mm lens using fully automatic mode.
For more about nocturnal bird photography see this link.

Migrant Skylark killed by collision with rigging
Migrant Skylark killed by collision with vessel, November 2011









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