Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/235

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course. With the goldfinch, too, family duties often run on well into August. Some ring-doves are flocking, but others are still cooing in the plantations, and are likely enough to bring off a late brood this month or next. The moorhens' nest, in a tuft of flags bordering the old moat, still contains eggs, as does also the floating heap of water-weeds which serves the dabchick as a nursery. These exceptions merely serve to show up the fact that with August we have reached the extreme fag-end of the breeding season, upon the close of which the moult follows as a natural sequence. The young of the earlier broods have indeed left far behind them the inexperience of nestling days, and begin to put on the toga virilis, the garb of their elders. In the case of the young chaffinches and bullfinches the reddening breasts of the cocks now indicate their sex. We may even surprise the young blackbirds in transition dress, with patches of black showing amongst the spotted brown of their nestling plumage. Amongst the young wild-ducks, too, it is now easy to pick out the drakes. In other cases juvenile dress is worn for a much longer period. A young shrike only showed himself in his true colours, as a fine male bird, after eight months residence in our aviary.

Upon the coast the young gulls furnish the uninitiated with a standing puzzle. There are spotted Black-backs and Herring Gulls, fresh from the nesting