The Difficult Egg
Isolated eggs of a good many species are more difficult to identify than is easily realized. The most attractive nest in the garden is a willow warbler's. When you divide the grasses and look down on it you are scarcely aware that it is a nest at all ; and the hole in the side is so low down that you can hardly see it well enough to distinguish the nest from a casual heap of dead leaves and grasses. The bird and the nest were wholly distinctive. There was no choice at all ; the only possible alternative would be a chiff-chaff and she generally prefers to nest just above the ground. So far, so good ; but the egg ? This clutch was almost identical in colouring, though not of course in size, with a robin's, though another clutch elsewhere is more like a wren's ; and of the two types one is, I think, pretty well as common as the other, in spite of the wide difference between the two. It is to be feared that such differ- ences spur on collectors to take whole clutches ; but happily none differ so attractively as the single eggs of the guillemot, whose ground may be cream, green or blue ; and its marks every pattern between a brown scribble and a black patch.