Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/73

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Bird Life in March.

With March the naturalist's year opens. February may fail to bring a single genial sun-warmed hour, but there always comes a day in March when on the south side of the spinney, with the north-easter unfelt, though heard amongst the oak boughs aloft, it is spring in more than name. In the minds of those who are much in the open, the bluff month still holds its proud position and leads off the calendar. For the dead days of winter are over and the time of stir and movement has begun. There will still at times be leaden skies, days when the land lies dry and bare, scorched by the breath of the east wind, and when only the "palm," which flecks with yellow the side of the still leafless cover, tells of coming spring. But there are also days when the kindly gleam of sun strikes across the new-turned furrows, when the shadows of the white cloud-piles race over the downs and a thousand soaring skylarks burst into song. For the wind, "which hurls the rooks across the skies" and piles the drifted leaves in every sheltered corner, dries at last the lanes and field-paths which have lain foul and heavy since the melting of the snow. It is possible to