Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/173

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river, where the young Pied Wagtails in their slaty-grey plumage run about on their rafts of floating water-buttercup, a pair of Kingfishers is rearing a brood. Their sanitary arrangements are imperfect, for filth trickling from the entrance and a strong smell of ammonia are the invariable indications of a growing family.

All the quiet water-meadows this day of blue June weather are given up to the hay and the cattle and the birds, while the warm air is laden with the scents of midsummer, of elder blossom, honeysuckle, meadow-sweet and fern. A Moorhen, swimming amongst the waving trails of white-flowered ranunculus, nods his head with every stroke, while his mate croaks from cover of the flags and water-docks close by. Presently, as we watch, she comes into view with a fleet of downy young in her wake. The Sand Martins are swarming like bees round their holes where the brook has worn for itself a steep, sandy escarpment. A mass of soaking water-weeds floats near the reedy margin of the pond. Remove the uppermost layer, laid loosely on when the owner left, and we find the eggs of the Dabchick or Little Grebe, originally white, but now deeply discoloured. Reed Warblers chatter and scold, and one may find, neatly suspended between the reed-stems, their deep purse-shaped nests. Far more difficult of discovery is the nest of the Grasshopper Warbler, deeply hidden amongst dense herbage, and