Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 15 May 1916
Garden warbler and blackcap were singing side by side in the wood, where the thick foliage now makes it difficult to see the songsters; these two, in these northern counties, where the nightingale is so rare, are undoubtedly our sweetest singers. In the dense vegetation which fringed the mere sedge warblers trilled, chattered, and purred, and the more sombre reed warblers crooned contentedly. In one of those deep hollows the result of salt-country subsidence pools, deep and forbidding, are bordered with sticky mud, but the sandpipers chased above the water whistling their love songs, and the redshanks rose from the ooze with deep plaintive calls. On the steep sloping banks, where rank weeds quickly hide the scars caused by constant landslips, the lively whinchat flitted, always perching on the topmost branchlet of dead weed or the highest clump of grass. Beyond, in the lanes, the whitethroat scolded, evidently resenting our presence in the neighbourhood of the spot selected for a home, and in the trees above the silent but ever-busy spotted flycatcher watched for the passing insects. But it was above the mere itself that the abundance of summer bird life was most noticeable, for sand martins, swallows, house martins, and swifts beat to and fro in scores; one could not even guess at their number. The birds have come, and come to stay.
Source: Guardian Environment