The Archery Library
Old Archery Books, Articles and Prints
Home > Articles > Outing > Woodland archery > Part 4
Woodland Archery
Part 4 of 6

After listening a while it struck me that my note-book was in demand. I got it, and sitting high on the rock above my tent, clothed upon with innocence and a short flannel night-shirt, I made the following entry:
    "A hog called upon me at daybreak and I gave him a stone for bread. The birds have arrived. Last night the main army of migrants must have reached the hills. This morning it is Bedlam in the wood around here. I recalled Jean Ingelow's ‘delicate lifting up of wings.' There is a twinkle of bird-forms in every bush and tree. I am aloft on the immense rock fragment against which I have propped my house, and am not in reception garb. I must schedule my birds.

"Following this note is a list of songsters seen or heard from the commanding spot. With such aid to memory, I vividly recall the whole scene. It seems to me now that birds swung and shone on the trees like gay flowers. There was a stir and a rustle distinctly different from the motion and sound of the early breeze, and I saw presently that the birds, as a body, were moving all inthe same general direction. In less than thirty minutes they had passed on, leaving but a flitting few straggling here and there in the tree-tops and under-brush. A little later I could see not one. The wood was silent, save a lonesome sounding rap-a-tap, where a little woodpecker toiled away in a thicket.

This flowing of a bird-tide, if I may use the phrase, is not confined to the great general migratory movements; I have noted it in winter and in mid-summer. Mr. John Burroughs mentions it, ‘I think, in one of his charming essays. It is a current of food-seekers lapsing along, composed of species representing widely differing genera. Woodpeckers, flycatchers, finches, warblers, thrushes, cuckoos, grosbeaks, jays, sparrows, all straying in company and yet not in companionship pressing on as if driving their food before them.

"Hale's boy, a cadaverous stripling, arrived with a rag full of eggs while I was making ready to eat breakfast. Invited him cordially to join me in the meal. He accepted and proved a surprise. Ate three of my squirrels and made a demonstration toward the fourth, but I dashed in ahead of him. His capacity and rapacity belied his frail-looking body and stupid countenance. And he casually informed me that he "hed tuck breakfus' afore" starting from home! He begged a chew of my smoking tobacco, received pay for the eggs and departed, shambling off with the gait of a camel. I distinctly told him not to bring me any more eggs.

"Who would have expected a visit from a distinguished jurist, especially under my circumstances and environment? According to my habit, I had used every precaution in favor of the strictest secrecy regarding my whereabouts. Absolute isolation and undisturbed solitude were what I meant to have. But on Friday morning suddenly appeared a tall, dark, gaunt old man of rugged frame and bilious complexion, who hailed me as I sat writing in my tent-door. I will not give his name, but will style him Judge Hickley, of the Supreme Court of a commonwealth. He had a triumphant flare in his deep-set eyes, and in his hand he bore a bundle of fishing-rods.