Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/211

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twilight shuts down more abruptly. Nature marks the epoch in her calendar by the flowering of the hair bell, of the heather, and of the dwarf-furze which lends a golden glow to the rough slopes from now onwards till October. The first returning visitors from the north—Dunlin and Sanderling, Whimbrel and Turnstone—reach our shores, to wade in the shallows or pick up sand-hoppers from the masses of drifted weed.

At the very end of the month certain birds, as the Chiffchaff and Willow Wren, commence to sing again in a quiet, subdued manner. The Chaffinch, too, begins his broken song of late summer, but an imperfect echo of the rattling challenge which he threw to his mates in May. And the Robin on the rose-trellis warbles a low and slender strain which has in it a foretaste of autumn and of leafless boughs. It is the writing upon the wall which tells of coming change and of the passing of all that summer brings.


Sea-birds are not as a rule early breeders, and July finds the fullest activity still prevailing in the great sea-fowl nurseries which are scattered round our coasts. There are low islets above which the graceful terns hover thick as snowflakes, reef and skerry tenanted by cormorant and gull, stacks and pinnacles about whose