The Gold that Really Matters

When warbler season arrives, as it did yesterday, you have to press your “fast forward” button and speed up everything – your eyes, your reaction time, maybe even your metabolism. For the warblers are quick themselves, definitely the Type A members of avifauna.  As they hunt for insects, they flit here and there, hopping, flying, leaping, hunting. They don’t pause for anything, and that makes them hard to watch.

Yesterday was typical. I’d been looking for the warbler migration to start for weeks now, but the cold has kept the birds in the warm south. Now that spring has arrived, so have they. I went hunting for them in the bushes that line the trail by the Leaky Pond. Historically, this has been a good spot for warblers. I think the perpetual wetness of the pond – which tries so hard to be a pond but only achieves pondhood when the rain pours down, and then only briefly – attracts insect parents, who lay their eggs in the dampness and thus doom their progeny to become warbler prey.

I could hear warblers in the depths of the bushes, but I wanted to SEE them. Soon, I did. A Yellow-rumped Warbler popped up for all of three nanoseconds, just long enough for me to tell it was of the Myrtle persuasion (white throat, not the yellow of the Audubon’s variety). Beautiful, yes – spectacularly so now that breeding season has arrived –but common. They’ve been here all winter. I wanted to see a new bird, a, a, a… OMG, there was a Wilson’sWarbler. A male. He stood in the bright sunshine for one breath, two, then poof!gone. But he stayed long enough for me to see the tiny black yarmulka on his head, his olive back, and the stunning yellow of his entire front.

Wilson's Warbler

English has no word for the yellow of the Wilson’sWarbler. It isn’t just one color. It is every yellow that ever was. A Wilson’s is so yellowful that there was only one thing to do. I went to the paint store and picked up all the yellow chips that I saw in his feathers. I figured an interior designer would be able to describe his yellow much better than a mere writer.  So now I can tell you that a Wilson’s Warbler is Ever Sunshine, Golden Glimmer, Daffodil, Cornbread, Buttery, Days of the Sun, and Dutch Gold. It is a Summer Petal, a Golden Fable, a Glimmer. In short, a Wilson’s Warbler is Solarette itself: little sunshine.

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