Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/251

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Bird Life in September.

While there is no month of the English summer which may not belie the name, surely September may claim to inspire a feeling not far removed from confidence, so seldom does it fail to bring day and night skies of perfect serenity, accompanied by a stillness of atmosphere rarely known at any other time of year. How often within the memory of all has September thus redeemed the summer. For the lingering smile of summer is still over the land, red berries in the hedges, stubbles fast becoming bare, clusters of nuts on the hazels. Some morning towards the end of the month, what time the bracken-covered slopes have turned to russet, the horse-chestnuts are pranked in ruddy gold and the virginia-creeper flames against the gable end of the old manor-house, one wakes to find the first touch of autumn freshness in the air. A white frost early on has laid its finger on tomatoes, marrows and kidney-beans. All that remains by the time the sun is well up, is that keen breath which brings fresh zest to life, alike to birds and men. There is a general revival of the feathered folk, for the moult is behind