I had never seen a Horned Lark before visiting Utah last month. Since I really have not taken any time to analyze my life list to see what I am missing within the ABA Area, there are still plenty of "easy" birds for me to see that are lifers. The Horned Lark was an example of that. I should be able to see one in my home state, but I haven't. Instead, I flew to Utah and saw one there :-)
When I decided to visit the Bear River National Migratory Bird Refuge, I had a small sense of the birds I might see, but not the complete picture. I went in just figuring I would see what I would see, and then later when I submitted my sightings to eBird I would notice which were lifers for me. For a few of the birds, however, I knew I had a lifer when I saw them. Again, the Horned Lark was an example of that.
Driving from the refuge's visitor center into the actual refuge takes you along a mostly gravel country road for nearly ten miles. Along the way, I blithely ignored the sticker in my rental car, conveniently hidden by the flipped down driver-side visor, that read something along the lines of "Thou shalt not drive this vehicle on unpaved roads, under penalty of embarrassment and significant expense!" Bah! I was not going to let some silly rule keep me from exploring that refuge. This quaint (and somewhat bumpy) road took me past lots of uncultivated fields with simple wire fences around them. My picture of an Eastern Kingbird a few posts back was on such a fence. The Horned Lark pictured below is on a fence post, and is just one of the many Horned Larks I saw near the road. They were impossible to miss, numerous, and immediately recognizable.