Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/113

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with an eye to spare for the labours of the gardener who has just got in the early-sown annuals. Mid-day comes and his back is turned. There is a general adjournment of the finch tribe to the seed-beds. Woe to the mignonette, alas for the prospects of the candytuft! By the middle of the month young Woodlarks may be upon the wing. Rather later we see the young Blackbirds, spotted and thrush-like, hopping after the cock bird for food, and by the end of April numerous hopeful broods are launched upon the world, unwotting of such pitfalls as await them at the hands of boys, cats, weasels and hawks.

But to wander farther afield this stirring April day, through the green water-meadows and along the sunny, rippling brook. The willows are humming with bees, and the stream has a margin of widely-open celandines, an embroidered edging in green and gold. Moorhens croak and fight in the cover of the sedges. Watching patiently, one may see the shy Water Rail steal out to feed amongst the cresses of a weed-grown run. A cock Reed Bunting chirps from the osiers, showing his black cap and white collar, and a pair of Kingfishers flash past, the one chasing the other with shrill piping note. Following the stream to the rough boggy pastures in which it takes its rise, we are greeted by the cries of anxious Lapwings, and may note that, while the male bird at once throws himself into the air with frantic tumblings, the hen steals quietly off her