Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/280

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But there comes a night of storm, sometimes a notable gale, which leaves its traces for years in the shape of jagged stumps and uprooted trees. At daybreak the mistle-thrush flings a few wild strains from the topmost elm bough. Overhead, before the wind which scatters "the flying gold of the ruined woodlands," drift the first Redwings and Fieldfares, and the sportsman who is afoot betimes will find the first Woodcock at the usual spot in the dingle where the hollies shelter the moist ground round the spring-head. Autumn has come in with "a noise of rooks," tumbled and flustered by gust and eddy. Such are two aspects of the month when summer and autumn overlap, for the redwings are sometimes here before the last swallows have departed. In chalk and limestone districts the land-drains, dry all the summer, now run again. "The autumn's leafy spoils lie strewn the forest glades along," giving to the air that ripe October flavour, as of leaf-mould in the making, which is characteristic of English woodlands and which we miss in drier climates. Now in copse and spinney the fungi are at their best; groups of white agarics, like delicate flowers on their slender stalks, cluster round the hazel-stools. The summer birds which have lingered latest now leave us, to be replaced by hardier invaders from over the northern sea. And our resident birds settle down into the mode of life which they will pursue through the winter, and