Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/69

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feet in length. The hut is intended for the temporary disposal of the fowl after a successful working. The decoy-man tells of fourteen hundred ducks having once been taken in a week.

Apart from the special features of the Fen Country as a limited area, much of the old waterside life of bird and insect and plant is still to be found, but we must search for it more widely—by rippling brooks of the southern shires, about the quiet upper reaches of the Thames, or on the banks of slow midland streams, whose sluggish surface is only disturbed by the plunging of a water-vole or the rising of a fish. We shall find it where the mill-water forms a still lakelet, water-lily grown, or beside the moats which encircle the old timbered houses of the western shires. Even commercial activity and increase of population have had the unforeseen result of providing new haunts for aquatic birds. There is scarcely a sea-bird—gull, tern or wader—which does not visit at one time or another the great canal reservoirs near the watershed of Trent and Severn. The Crested Grebes have in fact made themselves as much at home there as in the Broad district itself. Moreover, the vast water-schemes of Liverpool, Birmingham and other great cities have furnished a series of noble lakes which hold out fresh and increasing attractions to water-fowl. Sewage farms, too, are much frequented by gulls and by wading birds, such as redshanks, ringed plover,