A slight breeze sweeps across my yard showering me with dry leaves. Even with the dry conditions the wind stirs up the rich scent of forest humas. As I look skyward to watch the leaves flow down from the ridge I see the maple keys fluttering in the filtered sunlight. In my childhood I would pretend they were paratroopers dropping into battle. On a breezy Fall Saturday afternoon we’d gather all of green plastic army men and command titanic battles with the skies full of “paratroopers”.
As the rain of leaves and airborne maple seeds tumbled down through the twigs they made a sound like rain. The cool breeze slows to an eventual end and rustling leaves quiet down except for one spot.
I have allowed the brambles to claim a few spots on the banks of the creek that runs through my property and the canes are still shaking even though the wind has stopped. The berries have dropped from the thorny branches long ago and the leaves have cured to a golden hue in the amber Fall sun. The movement pattern is recognisable to me and so I cautiously stalk forward.
In spite of the fact that I have set food out and provided plenty of cover for the small songbirds they are still very shy. If I move too suddenly or push myself too close he will vanish behind the oaks on the other side of the road. This is as close as he’s ever allowed me to get. My guess is that he was so preoccupied with a catipiller in the bushes that he didn’t really notice me on the other side. The golden color of his feathers blend well with pale leaves and without my glasses it would have been hard to pick him out if not for movement of the canes.
His colors are that of the Magnolia Warbler but they’re not supposed to be in this area. They breed farther North and spend the Winter in Florida. I’d guess that he was just passing through on his way South but he’s been here every year all Spring and Summer.
I raise my lens and begin to snap photos when he finally decided that I was too close for comfort and dropped into the creek only to suddenly burst straight up the other bank. I lost sight of him as he climbed to tops of trees but the rest of afternoon I could still hear his song and catch movement in the canes out of corner of my eye.
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