Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/252

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them while food of all kinds is plentiful and will be so for many weeks to come.

Now the tits recommence their notes, the thrush begins to sing again and. skylarks soar as blithely as in spring. Thus, in late September, autumn and summer strive for mastery. The sun has not power to dry the dew which lies all day long upon the aftermath in sheltered bottoms, while it is still strong enough to tempt out the basking lizard, to set the grasshopper trilling upon a sunny slope and to bring out the late butterflies, admirals and peacocks, which hang balancing upon the scabious heads or hover round the clump of Michaelmas daisies.

Yet the genial September days when the ivy flowers, providing a honeyed feast for flies and bees innumerable, fail to tempt our summer birds to a longer stay. By far the greater number of them make the Channel passage before the oncoming of the rough weather, which often follows closely on the equinox, though it may be delayed far into the autumn. Quietly they withdraw, and in the greater stir and animation of those birds which winter with us, finding their voices after the moult and coming once more into the open, their going is little marked. One day a chattering or scolding note tells us that the Sedge Warbler is still in its accustomed haunt beside the pond; the next day we may search the tangle of meadow-sweet and purple loosestrife for it in vain. A Cuckoo, a young bird of