A Year With the Birds
Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.
Publisher: Date:8/4/2009 - General Books LLC
By: William Warde Fowler
Excerpt from book: CHAPTER IV. A MIDLAND VILLAGE : GARDEN AND MEADOW. gfii , - V ' is a curious fact that, when I return from Switzerland, I am at first unable to discover anything in our English midlands but a dead level of fertile plain. The eye has accustomed itself in the course of two or three weeks to expect an overshadowing horizon of rock and snow, and when that isremoved, it fails to perceive the lesser differences of height. This fact is an excellent illustration of the abnormal condition of things in the Alps, affecting the life both of the plants and animals which inhabit them: and it also shows us how very slight are the differences of elevation in most parts of our own island. In ordinary weather, the temperature does not greatly differ in an English valley and on an English ridge of hill, and the question whether their fauna and flora vary, is one rather of soil than of temperature. Still, there are manifest differences to be observed as we proceed from river-valleys to rising wooded ground, and from this again to a bare hill-side : and it may be interesting, after our walk in the Alps, to note the bird-life of an English rural district which is provided with all three, recalling dimly and perhaps fancifully the three regions of the Alpine world. The traveller by railway from Oxford to Worcester leaves the broad meadows of the I sis about three miles above Oxford, and after crossing a spur of higher land, strikes the little river Evenlode at Handborough Station, not farfrom its junction with the Isis at Cassington. This Evenlode is the next considerable stream westward of the Cherwell, and just as the line of the latter is followed by the Birmingham railway, so the line to Worcester keeps closely to the Evenlode for nearly twenty miles, only leaving it at last in its cradl...