THERE is a certain quiet bit of land, just where two midland counties meet, that is in winter a favourite resort of the fieldfares. There they find all they need—the hedges are usually bright with hips, and with the darker crimson berries of the hawthorn; the fields are all pasture-meadows, and the grass is tufty and full of insects; a little stream winds snake-like through the fields, hidden by an overarching growth of briar and bramble. No well-worn path crosses these meadows, and you may count on being undisturbed if you sit for a few minutes, to enjoy the winter sunshine and watch the shy birds, on the bole of one of the scattered elms that shelter the cows in summer. The fieldfares are in clover here: they get food, drink, sunshine when there is any, and above all the solitude they so deeply love. In other parts of the district you may see them, or you may not, for they move about and show their handsome forms and slaty backs, now here, now there; but in this favoured haunt some are always to be seen, and set up their loud call-note from elm or hedgetop as soon as your intruding form is seen moving in their direction.
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