Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/106

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seeks the hillocks where the wood-ants are stirring. By the cover-side two cock Pheasants are fighting, sparring at each other with their wings. Suddenly there is uproar in the woods, the scream of mistle thrushes and the squalling of jays. The disturbers of the peace have descried a Brown Owl, drowsing away the noontide against a tree-trunk, and will hurl contumely and vituperation at him until he takes refuge in flight. In the thicket where the blackthorn blossom shows snow-white, a pair of Long-tailed Tits are finishing off their nest, the well-known barrel-shaped structure studded with lichens exteriorly and a perfect feather-bed within. Not less exquisite in shape and finish is the mossy cradle which a pair of Goldcrests have attached to the underside of one of the pendant branches of a spruce fir. Where the white crags of the old limestone quarry show through the screen of leafing beeches, there is stir and clamour. Jackdaws dart into their nest-holes in noisy crowds, keeping up a continual chatter. Vociferous Starlings hurry to and fro. A pair of Kestrels, toying and squealing overhead, are preparing to nest in one of the crevices, having as solemnly grotesque neighbours a pair of White Owls, while another hollow, under the overhanging roots of a tree, is tenanted by Stock Doves. It is a scene of cheerful bustle such as only the nesting season can show. For to the influence of the season we must credit this overflowing energy