Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/145

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Lapwings often sit while the grass around them is white with frost in the early mornings. The Grouse cocks crow on all sides in the chilly dawns of early April, and by the end of the month their mates are brooding their richly-coloured eggs under shelter of the bilberry and heather. By the same date the Curlew has deposited her four pear-shaped eggs in a saucer-shaped hollow of the damp soil near the spring head, which is marked by yellow tufts of sedge and soaking sponge-like cushions of the red and white bog mosses. No moorland sound is so reminiscent of spring as the long, rippling call-note of the curlew, commenced as he takes wing and dying away in a regularly descending scale as he settles again after his flight. How boldly, too, he drives off the carrion-crow, mounting above him to get a good swoop, while the crow swerves in clumsy attempt to avoid the onset. To the crow's account must be laid these broken eggshells of creamy white and flecks of scattered down where the Teals' nest was snugly hidden in the deep heather. But some nests escape, for later, upon the margin of one of the lonely pools in the hills where the sandpiper whistles upon the pebbly shore, we come upon a family party, the mother teal shamming wounded in a desperate attempt to cover the retreat of eight tiny ducklings as they bravely breast the wavelets in her wake. The soft rushy bogs surrounding these pools are the nesting haunts of the Dunlin, which run