The Spanish Conquistadors entered the America's at the turn of the 15th century and well into the 16th. They seemed to have one main purpose, and that was to find oro....or gold. Being greatly outnumbered, the conquistadors managed to force the collapse of entire empires and in doing so, completely eradicated the culture and much of their history. Such a shame....all for gold and god. The Jesuits in particular (the 'god' end of things) are considered by many archaeologists as the single most damaging element to historical perseverance in the Americas. As I said, such a shame.
Yet.... while the conquistadors built churches of gold and sent entire galleons loaded with oro back to Spain, luckily.....luckily....they missed one piece of gold. The Prothonotary Warbler. Yes, that is pure gold.
If you have ever seen a Prothonotary Warbler, your eyes will be mesmerized by the color, the golden color.... Not just any old 'yellow'. I am not putting down the Yellow Warblers or Prairie, or Hooded Warblers and making their showcase of 'emperors clothing' any less. No sir.... That is a fine bit of yellow they wear. Likewise for the Common Yellowthroat and Yellow Rumped Warbler or Canada. All fine....all fine. But one just has to allow the Prothonotary Warbler to stand in a separate category when it comes to their emperor's clothing. The shimmer of that golden tint as they forage from branch to branch amongst the green of budding leaves...ah, simply extraordinary.
The conquistadors walked right past these creatures.....never knowing they were passing up gold. They didn't load them in crates and send them back to Spain, but rather....were too focused on the physical aspect of gold itself that they allowed their eyes to walk right past what was evidently smiling down upon them as they trudged by.
A simple Prothonotary Warbler.... Have you seen yours yet this year? Take a trip down to the Beanery (Rea's Farm) in Cape May and find 'oro'. Or, just past Shamong Township on Highway 206, visit Bear Swamp--Red Lion Preserve. Drive down Hawkins Road until you get to a small bridge over Little Creek. From there, to the east about 10 yards is a trail. Take it. Walk about 50 yards inland and take the first left trail you can find. From there you will find about 3-4 Prothonotary Warbler nesting boxes embedded 'in' Little Creek. Just sit patiently now and wait. Gold will come to you.