24 FEBRUARY 1950, Page 14


THE gales that February stole from March, that set our barometers jigging up and down, that disarranged our creepers and roared, with the noise of railway trains, in our elms, brought many seaside birds inland. The air was as full of white wings as of black. One cannot call the buzzard a seaside bird, but it is much commoner near the coast, especially the West coast, and buzzards have appeared in inland places where they have been a rarity. London doubtless, where food is plentiful, has lured a number of gulls, almost entirely of the black-headed variety, into an inland life ; and they prefer to nest on the land. However, on one inland dump the larger gulls are now rather more common than the black- headed ; and the herring gull—perhaps also the common gull—is a regular and ardent follower of the plough, however noisy the tractor that pulls it. Birds, of course, do not mind machines. Railway cuttings are a favourite nesting place ; and a motor-car is one of the naturalist's richest observation posts, as well as the poacher's best agent.