20 DECEMBER 1930, Page 16


Though we know this fondness of the tribe for the ground, instances continually surprise us. For example, a naturalist, walking last week across a Norfolk marsh, flushed seven short-eared owls from a small patch of heather which they had made their diurnal retreat, and where he found every sign of continuous residence. I have had a like experience on a marsh in South Wales. To find yourself in the middle of such rarely seen birds fluttering round about you in full daylight gives a sense—what shall I say ?—of uncomfortable unreality. It is like a quotation from a nightmare, which no one can give quite accurately ! The oddity of the impression, so far as I can recollect it, was increased by the sight of snipe threading their eccentric way through the strange cloud of witnesses.