Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/175

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and blackbirds have shouted their good-night and are silent, the Grasshopper Warbler ceases his trill from the thicket, and even the restless Sedge-bird seems to feel the stilly influence of the hour. The Swifts dart screaming round their nest holes to serenade their mates. So late are they upon the wing that we have heard them within an hour of midnight. Few people have any idea of the amount of life which is astir during the few short hours of the midsummer night. As the white mist rises from the meadows, the Corncrake still calls with rasping monotony and apparently keeps up its vigil till dawn. The Cuckoo frequently calls all night long. Lapwings flutter moth-like overhead as one walks the downs, their shrill "peewit" having a peculiarly eerie sound in the darkness.

As the full moon rises over the spinney, the Nightingale trills and bubbles over with song. We have heard the Wheatear singing well on a moonlight night. The air vibrates with the reeling of the Nightjar, as it chases the white moths above the dewy meads or skims round the resting cattle to catch the flies which trouble them. Then there are of course the authorised night watchmen, the owls, for whose vocal performances we are prepared, but how many voices of the night remain unidentified and mysterious. Some may perhaps be attributed to the Moorhen. Certain it is that moorhens are constantly on the