Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/286

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thrushes which so often bear them company, showing foxy-red sides and a white streak above the eye, are Redwings which, like the fieldfare, have exchanged the long sunny nights of the northern summer for our murky winter, still, in spite of its drawbacks, more kindly than their own. Under the beeches Chaffinches peck at the kernels of the fallen "mast." A harsher note, "kek, kek," tells that there are other finches with them, and with the binoculars one soon picks out the orange shoulder-patches, buff breast and white rump of a cock Brambling. Further examination shows that the northerners form no small proportion of the flock, and this is always the case when there is a heavy fall of beech-mast, though we see few bramblings in the alternate years when the beeches do not fruit.

In the third week of the month the Hooded Crows begin to arrive on the East Coast, coming in in small parties with easy and leisurely flight. Called "grey crows" from their ash-coloured mantles, they are familiar enough all through the winter upon rocky shores where they feed upon shell-fish at low tide. Less numerous inland, they there prefer the neighbourhood of kennels or the mud-flats of tidal rivers and are always ready to pounce upon a wounded bird which has escaped the gunner.

It is not every winter that we shall see a bird whose plumage of white, black and pearl-grey suggests at first view a small magpie, but whose lively movements