A Dab of Yellow

Fall migration through Texas is well underway and I’m keeping a keen eye out for atypical avian visitors to the garden. As a general rule, I don’t see as many migratory birds during autumn migration as I do during spring. So far this migration season, I’ve observed one Orchard Oriole and a Yellow Warbler, both of which where either females or juveniles, and neither of which did I photograph. Those two were the sum total of migratory birds until yesterday, when I spied this sunny male Yellow Warbler, Setophaga petechia.

During spring migration, it’s the pond and other water features which hold the birds’ interest, but autumn migration is different. As I watched him flit, first in my larger Red Oak tree, then to a Rough-leaf Dogwood, Cornus drummondii, I assumed he was headed for the pond for a quick bath. Instead, he flew from the oak tree to the dogwood–and remained there. I then surmised that maybe he was aiming for his share of the white fruits that my two Rough-leaf Dogwoods have produced this year. If you look as the photo, to the right of Mr. Yellow Fellow and far right of the photo, you’ll see a mauve/reddish-brown branchlet. Until recently, this set of small branches, like other similar ones on both trees, held juicy white fruits, most of which have been eaten by a variety of birds, primarily the resident Mockingbirds and Blue Jays. No doubt, other migratory birds have dined on these fruits, too, including the aforementioned Orchard Oriole and Yellow Warbler, who spent time in both dogwood trees, playing peek-a-boo with my camera behind foliage.

Pre-bird munching, this is a close-up of the fruits, developed, but not yet devoured.

As there aren’t many berries left, and most of those sit waiting at the base of the tree, I realized that the yellow fellow was nibbling on insects as he moved along the upper branches. That tracks, as Yellow Warblers enjoy insects as a main source of their diet.

Unfortunately, Mr. Yellow Fellow didn’t hang around too long; I guess he’s eager to get to Central America, where his winter will be mild and his meal choices prolific.

These next few weeks are the apex of bird autumn migration in the Americas and I look forward to more feathered friends flying through. Good luck, Mr. Yellow Fellow–come back and see me next spring!

19 thoughts on “A Dab of Yellow

    • I’m SO ready for fall! It’s cooler here, at least in the mornings and evenings. We had a little front come through and I’ve noticed that some of the hummers are gone. 😦 It’s always a little sad to see them go, but it’s what supposed to happen.

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  1. Ah, yes, the insects! Plenty of protein there. We are unusually warm yet, here in the Midwest, so the bird and butterfly activity is still quite busy. I don’t see as many migratory species in the autumn as in the spring either, but the robins and woodpeckers are always plentiful (along with the year-round species).

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    • Yum, yum, crunch, crunch! I’d heard that the midwest was in a heat wave. We’re always still hot this time of years, at least during the days. Mostly, we could use some rain.

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  2. Tina I’m sorry I haven’t written in so long but I don’t feel well, I haven’t picked up the computer.
    Mr Yellow Fellow is gorgeous, he has beautiful colors. He has a varied diet: insects, berries … He wants to keep fit to dazzle the ladies !! Hopefully I’ll see you again in Spring during his migration. Tina I hope you and Bee Daddy are healthy and safe. Take good care of both of you. I hope your back is getting better. Hugs. With my best wishes, Very affectionate greetings from Margarita 😘

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      • Tina thank you very much for your kind words and for your encouragement. The temperatures have dropped, although then the “Veranillo del Membrillo” will come, where temperatures rise but the nights are good for sleeping. Today it is drizzling and we have 24ºC: it is phenomenal. Thanks Tina. I wish you the best! Have a nice week. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

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  3. I noticed and have reveled in the slight morning cooling you mentioned.
    Your post’s title couldn’t help carrying me off-topic to a commercial ditty from the 1950s:

    Brylcreem, a little dab’ll do ya.
    Brylcreem, you’ll look so debonair.
    Brylcreem, the gals will all pursue ya.
    They’ll love to get their fingers in your hair.

    There’s an alternate version:

    Brylcreem, a little dab’ll do ya.
    Use more only if you dare.
    But watch out, the gals will all pursue ya.
    They’ll love to get their fingers in your hair.

    [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQBtw6nqFxY]
    [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxBNW5XJI1o]

    Whether the yellow male that’s your subject has been using Brylcreem to attract mates remains an avian mystery.

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    • I don’t think that pretty boy needs anything but his charm and good looks to attract!

      I’m a little too young, but I know/knew people who sang that ditty, so I am familiar. It’s a bit of an earworm…

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  4. It’s possible you’ll get that rain you need from TS Nicholas. It started here last night, very lightly, and now we’re getting rain bands moving through. No wind yet, and nothing flooding, but plenty of water when the bands arrive. The hurricane center has the western edge of the cone just touching Austin, so maybe.

    As for the migration beginning, I sw the frist sure sign of it last week. The grackles that set up shop at our local HEB for a couple of weeks have arrived — by the hundreds, if not thousands. It’s the funniest thing in the world to see. Those that don’t perch on the buildings and wires are more than happy to set up shop on cars’ luggage racks — and dare the owners to open the door!

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    • Yes, I’m sure hoping for some rain. It’s already dripped a bit, but only a bit. I guess I should check on family in CC…

      Those grackles, they’re such characters! Lots of people don’t like them, but I do and they’re always well mannered in my gardens, though I haven’t seen them in a while. Right now I have a bunch of House Sparrows–not sure what’s going on there, because I usually don’t see more than one or two. Stinkers!

      Stay safe and dry and I hope is just a reasonable rain event and not much more!

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  5. How fun that they come through on their way south! My mother reported that she saw an Monarch on her Asclepia – finally! She says most of them go to her neighbor who has a much larger swath. Even so, she was very excited – which I absolutely understand. As for fall, I am SO READY! Rumor has it that we’ll get rain this Friday. I’ll believe it when I see it, but hope is definitely alive and well. 🙂

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