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September nights have scarcely felt
The first cool breath of autumn time,
Ere high the black duck pinions fan
Our shore-line, in their flight sublime.


At first these swift fowl skim the cloud,
And high in lessening circles sweep;
Then slow to lonely bays descend,
Glad to repose their wings in sleep.


And so for passing weeks they haunt
The inland marsh and muddy creek,
Where in the shallows or the grass,
Their pastime or their food they seek.


Most shy, at midday they disport
In ocean surf or ample bay;
But when the evening shades pervade
And fades the twilight of the day,


Then with a soaring flight they rise
And seek some lonely marsh remote,
Some salt-pool in the meadow scoop'd;
And here their quacking numbers float,
And here the watchful fowler lies
In ambush for the dusky prize.