Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/28

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BIRD LIFE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR

foraging parties of skylarks are attacking his young spring cabbages, and that wood-pigeons in the early morning have damaged the broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

One may make a long round while the snow lasts, finding at every turn something of interest, in noting the shifts to which birds are driven to make a living and their aptitude for making the best of trying circumstances. Lapwings are everywhere upon the move and a plaintive whistle tells that there are Golden Plover with them. The Snipe, driven from the bogs, have sought the warm drains and sides of running ditches. Woodcock, too, are snowed-out of their usual haunts, and one stumbles across them in all sorts of unexpected places—one near the lodge-gate, another close to the stable-yard. But nowhere is there such a gathering of the clans as in the stack-yards, which rise like kindly islands from the sea of white, offering both food and shelter. Finches and buntings in their varied tribes are here in force. Nowhere else can one so well compare their varied traits and mannerisms, and never does a bright sun bring out their details of plumage better than with the snow as background. Some merely hop and peck; others fly up to the sides of the ricks to pull out straws in the hope of obtaining the ears of corn. In addition to chaffinches and greenfinches, there are to-day Bramblings in every stackyard. Reed-buntings fraternise with the yellow-