The morning is cool when I step onto the deck—68 degrees according to the thermometer mounted on the wall by the window. Cloudy, too, with wisps of fog coming off the pool in front of the cottage. Pale tendrils that seem to be reaching from the water, gently testing the soft air above the surface, as if something below might be considering rising out.
Moon the dog ambles into the yard for her usual reconnaissance. I take a seat in the rocker and turn to sit my mug of coffee on the small table near the stone wall…and notice the tiny feathered lump. Another bird fatally fooled by the reflective illusion of the window.
Even in death the warbler is beautiful. It's dainty cloak a mix of black and gray and white, with a bold splash of bright yellow under the throat. It is this rich yellow patch that gives the bird its name, Yellow-Throated Warbler. A common summer species in these sycamore-lined riverine woodlands. Also one of the season's earliest fall migrants. Yellow-Throated Warblers are often making their southward journey by the last week in August.
Was this little fellow so engaged—an innocent traveler on his way to winter quarters? I saw a Yellow-Throated Warbler at the seed feeder day-before-yesterday. This same bird? Did my free eats cause it to hang around too long?
Birds call from every direction—Carolina Wren, Cardinal, Blue Jay, Titmouse, Chickadee. Wind stirs through the treetops, fluttering the big green sycamore leaves. The river slips steadily along, burbling softly as it finds its way over riffle stones.
Life and movement goes on, as it always does. Though not for all.
I notice the fog above the pool has dissipated. Whatever might have been stirring below the surface apparently changed its mind and curled back into the turbid darkness. Or so I imagined on this Sunday morning.