It’s easy to see where the ‘happy as a lark’ expression comes from when you hear a Skylark singing – they sound like they’re positively bursting with happiness. And, though they sing throughout the year, spring is the prime season for their singing, as the males perform their vertical flight displays, hovering and belting out their songs from high in the sky before plummeting back down to earth. How could a female Skylark not be impressed with such melodic rhapsodies!
When it’s on the ground, the Skylark (Alauda arvensis) can be difficult to spot, as its streaky brown colours blend so well with its preferred habitat, of grassland and moorland, as you can see in these photos, taken on top of The Blorenge, a 561-metre mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Sadly, the once numerous Skylark has declined greatly in numbers in recent years and it’s now on the British Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern. Its decline has been attributed to agricultural intensification and to changing farming practices – many farmers have switched from spring to autumn for the sowing of their cereal crops, which has a knock-on effect on farmland birds. Hopefully, something can be done to rescue these beautiful songsters; otherwise the Skylark will be happy no longer.