Mosaics of Yellow

By Dave Hanks

I was feeling euphoric. The sun was shining. The grass and other vegetation were as green as I have seen. The aspens, on the hillsides, were budding – a beautiful lime-green. As I sat at a favorite watering spot in north Heglar Canyon, two graceful Mule Deer bucks were grazing in the green sward that was covered with a mosaic of yellow flowers. Dandelions and Sagebrush Buttercups dotted the meadow and Arrowleaf Balsamroot was starting to bloom on the hillsides. This spot I have described has proven to be a productive photography site.

Western Tanagers, with their black and yellow bodies and bright red heads were in greater abundance than I’d seen before. A whole host of them continually came to the watering spot, and their presence definitely added to the ambiance mentioned above. A woodpecker could be heard tapping away nearby, which raised my anticipation level. I hoped he would pay me a visit.

Other visitors lending color to the scene were Audubon Warblers – a sub-species (along with their cohort Myrtles’) of the Yellow-rumped Warbler. This bird is immediately noticeable because of bright yellows against a blue-gray body – yellow throat, yellow crown, yellow sides, and of course a yellow rump. Myrtle’s Warbler looks the same except for its white throat. The abundance of yellows all around me was most satisfying.. Everywhere I looked were mosaics of yellow!

This 5 ˝ inch warbler is the most common warbler in our area. It prefers open woods and brushy habitats where it can see to flit up into the air to catch flying insects. A tendency to perch on prominent twigs, makes it more easily seen than other warblers. Also, it sits longer than its cousins, which isn’t very long at all.

We are lucky to live where mountains are close at hand and to be able to enjoy their splendors. On this day, all the yellows against the greens and the peaceful solitude were great We were all alone at this spot with only a rare forest service truck racing by on the road in the distance.

(An Audubon Warbler all decked out in his finery)