Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/65

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bill from the surface of East Anglian mud-flats. And it is not so long since a naturalist watched fourteen Spoonbills running about restlessly on a sandy spit, shovelling up the mud with their spoons. They spent most of the day there, and were actually not molested. Gone, too, as a breeding species, is the Black-tailed Godwit; gone more recently the Black Terns, "blue darrs" of the fenmen, which used to hawk dragonflies above the lily-grown shallows, and breed in colonies about the meres, as the Black-headed Gull continues to do at the present day. Old fenmen remember when the Marsh Harrier or Bald Buzzard used to quarter the wet meadows regularly like a pointer, and describe having seen the ducks make for the river when pursued by it, and dive as it stooped at them. Gone are the Ruffs which used to meet in tourney, trampling bare their favourite "hills," as with heads down and shields erected they sparred at each other like angry bantam-cocks, each taking as his share as many of the plainer Reeves as his prowess might win. A few harassed birds may still linger, for eggs were taken in 1884, and perhaps later.

So much for our losses, and now for the brighter side of the picture. The exquisite little Bearded Tits, once brought to a low ebb, seem to be no longer in danger of extinction. Their chief peril lies in the fact that every marshman knows that collectors will pay well for their eggs. Savi's Warbler, which used to reel from some