Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/237

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Yet, the cirl-bunting is common enough no further from London than the chalk downs of Surrey, where it nests by preference in the juniper-bushes. We have met with it in Devonshire, close to the locality where the naturalist Montagu first recognised it as a British bird, and in the ferny coombes of the Welsh coast.

It is exceptional to hear the thrush sing in August, but the wren still sounds his tiny clarion, singing, like the tree-creeper, in any month of the year, even at times in hard frost. The chaffinch is often in half-song; chiffchaff and willow-wren sing in what old Gilbert White calls "a soft and inward manner," and the robin pipes a few strains from the orchard bough. But these summer songs are lacking in spirit and energy; they are merely an expression of contentment with easy times of warmth and abundance, and are not inspired by the delicious madness which fills the throats of the choristers of spring. When in company with their fellows, birds are naturally more lively and inclined for vocal effort. Flocks of Linnets go trooping over the weed-grown fallows, singing and twittering in concert, and a crowd of Starlings, settling thickly in the elm-tops, warbles and whistles in unison, making a noise which at a distance sounds like that of running water. But many voices of the earlier summer we now miss entirely. By the time that the harvest moon rises full over the hill, and long-tongued hawk-moths poise before the white trumpet-flowers of the