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HE third species of this genus which is a regular summer migrant to this country is the Grasshopper Warbler, so called from its peculiar sibilant note. In its general appearance it is most like the Sedge Warbler, but is larger in every way, and has the upper part of the plumage more variegated, no superciliary streak, and the throat minutely spotted. This last feature, however, is peculiar to the male. In
habits, haunts, and in the character of its nest and eggs, the Grasshopper Warbler differs entirely from the two species above mentioned. It delights in a dense undergrowth or thick hedge-bottom, where it creeps about more like a mouse than a bird, and is extremely difficult to catch sight of pausing at intervals to seize an insect or to give forth its remarkable note. Its well-made and compact nest, so different from the slovenly structure of the Sedge Warbler, is placed upon the ground, and carefully concealed. The eggs, five or six in number, are amongst the most beautiful of small birds' eggs. When blown they are white, minutely freckled over with brownish-red; but before the yolk has been expelled they are suffused with a delicate rosy tint, which afterwards unfortunately disappears. The Grasshopper Warbler is a regular summer visitant to Ireland, and is also found in the south of Scotland. Its retiring habits probably cause it to be overlooked, and were it not for its loud note it would doubtless often escape notice altogether. It does not
appear to be anywhere a numerous species, and its geographical distribution has not been yet clearly defined. It is observed in Southern Europe at the periods of migration, and we may therefore presume that it accompanies its congeners and other small summer migrants to
North Africa, Asia Minor, and Palestine.
S AV I'S W A R B L E R.
EFORE the fens were drained, it is said that the rarer species, Savi's Warbler, was not uncommon in the eastern counties of England. The fen-men used to distinguish it from the Grasshopper Warbler by its note, calling the commoner species “the reeler,” the other “the night reeler,” from the resemblance of its note to the whirr of the reel used by the wool-spinners. In Norfolk, according to Mr. Stevenson, it appears to have been known to the marsh-men as “the red craking reed-wren.” The fens of Baitsbight, Burwell, and Whittlesea were formerly noted localities for this species, then regarded as a regular summer migrant; but extensive drainage and increased cultivation of waste land has apparently destroyed the only breeding haunt which had any attraction for it, and it can now be only considered a rare summer visitant. I have once, and only once, seen this species alive in England. This was in a large reed-bed close to the river, near Iken, in Suffolk, in the month of September, 1874. The bird first attracted my attention by the very rufous colour of the dorsal plumage, and as I succeeded in obtaining a near view of it, I feel confident that I was not mistaken in the species. The nest and eggs of this bird are reported to have been taken in Norfolk, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Essex, Kent, and once in Devonshire.' In general appearance at a distance it is not unlike the Reed Warbler, but on closer inspection will be found to have the upper portions of
the plumage and the tail more rufous, like the Nightingale; hence the term luscimoides which has been applied to it. The English name is borrowed from its discoverer, Signor Savi, who found it in Tuscany, and published an account of it in the “Nuovo Giornale di Litteratura,” 1824, and in his “Ornithologia Toscana,” vol. i. p. 270. The eggs are something like those of the Grasshopper Warbler, but larger and darker; the nest is very different, being composed entirely of sedge, so closely woven and interlaced as to remind one of the mat-baskets which are used by fishmongers. Of the geographical distribution of this bird we have yet a good deal to learn. It does not appear to range very far northwards, but is observed annually in summer in Southern Europe, passing by way of Sicily and the Maltese Islands to Egypt. Mr. Salvin found it abundant in the Marsh of Zana, and Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake met with it in Tangier and
* “Ibis,” 1865, p. 23.