Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/344

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BIRD LIFE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR

than once been visited by an eagle. The great bird is almost always a young example of the white-tailed species, though, if it fall a victim to the keeper's gun or traps, the chances are ten to one that it will be recorded in the local papers as "a fine golden-eagle."

At long intervals an Osprey may be seen to flap and circle above the tidal lagoon, plunging to seize a mullet which it bears away in its claws. The coarse tussock-grass of the marshes is full of the runs of field-mice; these have proved an attraction to the Short-eared Owls, one or more of which may be seen upon the wing, not only in the twilight, but at all hours of the day. Kingfishers frequent the half-frozen marsh-drains. Every morning, as soon as the sun has got the better of the light purple mist which hangs over the sea, a great flock of Dunlin is on the move, looking in the distance like a shifting cloud of smoke, then wheeling so that we catch the gleam of sunshine on five hundred snowy breasts. Otherwise there are not many wading birds about, but the Oyster-catchers still follow the tide as it retires, paddling about on the ooze, and, when the ebb has transformed the lagoon into a narrow channel lost amidst wide-stretching mud-banks, Curlew and Redshanks flock, as earlier in the season, to their favourite feeding-grounds.

Now to hie northward, away from tidal-flats and oozy creeks, to a bold, rocky coast, and to the sharp Yorkshire air. Keen is the salt tang of the north-easter