I was adjusting a hose that dripped into a new water feature I had pieced together out of spare parts when this little guy flittered into the water about six feet from me. I sat down and watched, snapping pictures.
What I like about the photo above is what makes it less than perfect--the focus is fuzzy, especially on the wings. But when the bird was in the water, my eyes certainly couldn't focus on such fast-moving, flittery wings. One foot is focused and one is not: he was shifting his weight like an excited child playing in a fountain. So that is the wallpaper on my laptop right now: a warbler looking precisely like it did for a while to my aging eyes on a really nice autumn afternoon.
Although it is still hot in the afternoons, temperatures usually reaching 90 or above, the birds finally know it's autumn even if we have trouble remembering this far south what autumn means to most of the country.
Wintering sparrows have returned as well.
A Lincoln's sparrow enjoyed the new solar fountain.
Another sign of autumn here in the Rio Grande Valley are migrating Monarch butterflies, a few of which are passing through now on their way to Mexico. This picture, like the one of the Yellow Warbler in the bath, shows unfocused wings that are fluttering too fast for my point-and-shoot camera. I like the way the motion shows in the photographs.
But the surest sign of autumn is the music that filled the air early yesterday morning, and again today, a rolling, liquid sound that I could hear even inside, even when the windows were shut and the air-conditioner was on--Sandhill Cranes in the hundreds calling as they returned to the warmth of south Texas, calling me outside to enjoy our version of autumn.
This photo is also less than perfect--much less--but that's okay. The sun was just lighting a perfect fall morning, south Texas style, and hundreds of Sandhills filled the skies in waves of V's that just kept coming. We may not have autumn leaves or even cool temperatures, but we do have subtle changes that are just as cherished.
Postscript: Next Morning-- Again the waves of Sandhills called me outside. This time I made a video.