Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/34

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and redwings in the crevices into which they crept for shelter when the frost was cruel and the thaw delayed.

One of these great movements down the coast, following a sudden onset of wintry weather, is a sight to be remembered. We sally out, to find everything deep in snow and more falling. The sea, having that peculiar dirty, angry look which it only wears when in contrast with its white setting, is dimly seen through the whirling flurries. A glance shows that the rush of migrants is at its height. Larks and starlings are passing almost without intermission, the two together constituting at least nine-tenths of the moving hosts, while the various thrushes would take the third place. As we plough our way through the untrodden drifts, wondering at the daintily chiselled architecture of wreath and cornice, there comes momentarily the rush of passing wings and the murky obscurity is pierced as with a hundred needles by the shrill call-note of the larks. A moment later they pass overhead, but, before they are out of sight, another party announces its advent. It may safely be said that never, from dawn to dark of this short winter's day, is there a moment when passing larks are not in sight. One hesitates to make a guess at the numbers of the migrating host, but it must run into hundreds of thousands. But in addition to those on the wing many have settled in the fields. The snow is crossed and recrossed in every direction by their tracks, easily to be known by the mark left by the long hind