A male Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena) perching among mustard flowers.

Over the past two weeks while hiking in Rancho San Antonio County Park I have been greeted by the spring song of the lazuli bunting. As they have done for many years, in mid- to late-April, male lazuli buntings appear near the water tank on the north side of the Coyote trail. This year has been no exception. I first photographed lazuli buntings in precisely the same location in April of 2003. On April 23rd, 2004, I photographed the singing male lazuli bunting shown in this photograph, again in the same spot. Last year, on April 24th, I captured the image featured in this post in beautiful light just as the sun began to rise.

The same location has been reliable for house and Bewick’s wrens, song sparrows, violet-green swallows, western bluebirds, and occasionally ash-throated flycatchers. But for me, it’s the lazuli buntings that always steal the show.

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