Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/303

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Bird Life in November.

November perhaps of all the months holds the lowest place in popular esteem. In cities and large towns it often presents itself under an aspect so depressing as to defy all attempt at palliation, and even in the country it must be admitted that a large proportion of the dark and dismal days which lead up to Christmas fall within the compass of its last three weeks. There are days when all the daylight seems to die out of the damp-laden atmosphere before the afternoon is half spent,—when in the sodden, dripping woods all is silent, as if the birds were afraid of their own voices. But let us not forget how, earlier in the month, St. Martin never fails to bring us a day or two, sometimes a whole fortnight, when it is summer again for the few sunlit hours on either side of mid-day, when the flies still bask against a sunny wall and hive-bees visit the ivy-blossom for their last scanty potations of the year.

After the frost of early morning the ash-leaves fall silently, unchanged in colour and unstirred by the least breath of wind. As the sun gets through, robins pipe cheerfully from the hedges, and skylarks trill,