« AnteriorContinuar »
on April 10, but this must be regarded as an exceptionally early date, for the majority of my correspondents did not meet with it until quite the end of April and beginning of May. On the 15th of June Mr. P. Henderson found two young Nightjars on Tents Muir, Fife, amidst a colony of terms (!), and kept them alive for some time on moths, worms, and pieces of raW meat. The Wheatear and Whinchat received an equal share of attention in the fifteen observations upon each which were forwarded. The first-named appeared at Plymouth as early as March 6, but the observer in this instance, Mr. Gatcombe, states that he hardly ever knew it so early before. It was observed, however, on the same day at Feltwell, Norfolk, by Mr. Upcher; and Mr. Rope reports that in 1871 he saw it at Leiston, in Suffolk, on March 2. In 1872 in the same neighbourhood it did not arrive until March 18, and was much scarcer than in former years. The calendars enable one to trace it that year as far north as Falkirk,
where it was seen on April 1; but this is by no means its northern limit, as there is abundant evidence to show. The Whinchat is not generally seen in this country until the last week of April, and this is confirmed by the notes before me. Mr. J. J. Briggs, however, met with it near Melbourne, in Derbyshire, on April 3; but he appends the remark that he considers this an unusually early date. Mr. J. A. Harvie Browne states that the Whinchat during mild winters occasionally remains in Stirlingshire. The Lesser Whitethroat was noticed almost exclusively in the midland counties, the earliest date for its arrival being April 12, at Sparham, Norfolk, and the most northerly locality Barnsley. It goes much further north, however, than this, but is considered rare in Scotland, and is unknown in Ireland. The Grasshopper Warbler was met with throughout the month of April in about a dozen different localities, and, like the last-named
species, chiefly in the midland counties. It
goes at least as far north, however, as Oban, in Argyleshire. To the westward, it was noted at Taunton in the middle of May. It is a regular summer migrant to Ireland, although in 1872 it was not noticed there by any correspondent. Like several of the preceding, the Turtle Dove is oftener observed in the southern and midland counties of England, although stragglers are occasionally met with as far north as Northumberland, and even in Scotland. In the Hebrides specimens have been shot in Islay and Skye, but not in the outer islands. Dr. Saxby has recorded several instances of its occurrence in Shetland, and it has twice been procured in Orkney. In Ireland it is regarded as an annual summer visitant to the cultivated districts. The Wood Wren was noticed nowhere earlier than the 23rd of April, on which date it was heard by Mr. Inchbald at Hovingham, near York; and the paucity of observations on this
and the four following species show that they must be very local in their distribution, or less frequently seen than many of their more obtrusive congeners. The Wood Wren apparently comes very much later than either the Chiffchaff or the Willow Wren. Nine observations only on the Pied Flycatcher were forwarded. These, however, contain one or two notes of interest. The bird has become much commoner of late years, or more observed; and in 1872 it appears to have been met with much further north than usual. A specimen was shot at N. Berwick by Mr. W. Patterson, and exhibited at the Glasgow Natural History Society on the 24th of September, 1872; and another was procured at Biora, in Sutherland, on the 31st of May, by Mr. T. E. Buckley. In Yorkshire it seems to have been very numerous, a score being heard at once in one locality, near York, on the 29th of May. It was found nesting in Norfolk, at Sparham, eggs being laid and the hen bird sitting, on the 3rd of June. To the westward,
nesting, as in previous years, at Llandderfel, in Merionethshire. The Red-backed Shrike, or Butcher-bird, is almost confined to the southern midland counties of England, and although stragglers have been met with occasionally in Scotland, it is always regarded as a rare bird there; and in Ireland it is quite unknown. Mr. Cordeaux states that he has never observed it in Lincolnshire. It is always a late comer, seldom, if ever, arriving before the first week in May; and the earliest date recorded for its appearance in any of the calendars is May 2, on which day it was seen at Ratham, near Chichester. Mr. Donald Mathews has observed, in the neighbourhood of Redditch, that it commences nidification immediately on its arrival. The custom which now prevails of “plashing,” or laying the tall hedgerows in which the Butcher-bird delights to dwell, has caused it in many localities to forsake haunts where once it was quite numerous. This has been particularly remarked
in Middlesex and the counties adjoining.