Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/305

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of a flock of rooks is no less a marvel of concerted wingmanship.

November is in truth a medley of all the seasons. The illusion of the few all-but-summer days with which the month enters is sometimes heightened by the sight of a belated swallow. These November swallows are as a rule young birds of late broods. Not strong enough upon the wing to leave with their fellows, they linger with us until cut off by the first sharp touch of frost. Later in the month, when the bulbs send up green, pointed wedges to break ground, when silvery-white willow catkins push back the bud-scales, and when primroses and violets flower in sheltered nooks, the time of the year might almost be early spring. But these tentative and premature awakenings are not seldom discouraged before the month is out by a sharp reminder that the winter is still before us.

However, if open weather continues, there is, in November's closing days, a fresh and louder-voiced element of hopefulness in the thrush's song, which tells of faith that the turn of the year is not far distant. The mistle-thrush, too, sings more frequently, and now and again a tit may be heard practising its spring note. At the beginning of the month the chaffinch ceases his autumn song—but a poor affair at the best — but the robin and wren, and, in districts where it is found, the woodlark, do not fail us. But there