I was in New York a few days ago and went down to Jones Beach (in the middle of a huge snowstorm) with two other birders to look for Horned Larks and Snow Buntings.
Remarkably we had fantastically close views of a Horned Lark, and I took a number of photos. Presumably it was one of the eastern North American races - most likely alpestris?. From a European perspective this is interesting because it's this form that is the one that's thought to very occasionally cross the Atlantic. Compared with the birds I see in the UK most years (which is not nearly often enough to be honest), the Jones Beach bird was very strongly coloured and (perhaps I'm imagining this) seemed to have a heavier bill. As it has "horns" our bird was obviously an adult but I was slightly surprised to see that it clearly has a quite restricted amount of yellow in the face: it has a yellow throat, but it only has yellow above the bill and in front of the eye - from above the eye backwards the yellow is replaced by off-white. I've not seen many eastern North American Horned Larks, and certainly none this well - is this amount of yellow normal for this part of the range does anyone know, as many Guides and websites seem to suggest that northern Horned Larks should have completely yellow "brows"?
I'd also be very interested to hear from anyone with more experience than me of Horned Lark if they think it is actually possible to assign this individual to a race (presumably based on range?).
The photos are at http://10000birds.com/horned-lark-jones-beach-ny.htm