Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/243

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off their brood, long since, of course, strong upon the wing. To our surprise we find the red-billed Chough, usually a bird of the sea-cliffs, haunting the precipices of Snowdon, where apparently it nests in the shafts of the disused copper-mines. The Welsh Rooks, too, though they do not range so high, are fond of a change to the mountain sheep-walks as soon as nesting duties are over.

Such uplands have their characteristic insects, as seen in the Lake District, where we meet with the Mountain Ringlet, a scarce, dull-coloured, sub-alpine butterfly. Or further, crying truce to the birds, one may range the line of crags in search of rare plants, to find shady recesses where water drips from cushions of saxifrage and hanging fringes of moss, to reach with doubtful foothold the rose lychnis, restricted to a few rocky ledges of a single fell, or to mark underfoot the Alpine lady's mantle with its fingered leaflets silken-fringed. The ledges are thick with mountain plants as we push up this narrow gulley, so steep that the loose stones underfoot slip and roll. There is a dank wall of rock on either side, and at length as the rill slides down one of the steps of its water-worn staircase, the smooth face of stone, slippery with spray and greenery, bars further progress.

One bird we never fail to meet with in the most remote and rocky of mountain solitudes, namely, the