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THE WOODLAND SCENERY OF THE NORTHERN

HEIGHTS.
NE by one, all the most beautiful spots round London

are falling a prey to the builders, who spare nothing
and treat fields, woods and gardens alike.

The “Northern Heights” have long been justly celebrated for the beautiful woodlands and hedgerows that adorn them. The Highgate Woods and Parliament Hill, with the pleasant undulating fields adjoining, have happily been rescued, but only just in time. Extensive as they are, one can but fear that before many years have elapsed, they will be oases in a surrounding wilderness of bricks and mortar; and this fear is more forcibly brought home by what the writer noticed during a recent evening's walk taken from East Finchley to Hampstead Heath. The road by which the walk was taken must be well-known to most dwellers in the district; it is broad and has an iron fence on either side, and has evidently been constructed not so much for the convenience of pedestrians, as to acquaint the public with what is proposed to be done with one of the loveliest stretches of pasture and woodland-almost forest land-near the metropolis. The intimation is, as usual, conveyed by notice-boards placed at intervals along the road, and worded as follows:“ This Land to be Let on Building Leases for the Erection of Residences of Good Class”-joyful news to the speculator and rich capitalist, but distasteful enough to all lovers of nature. For some distance the road passes through fields, then it winds through an oak-wood with patches of undergrowth, the open spaces covered with brake-fern and wild flowers (notice-boards appearing at intervals just the same), till at length we emerge on the Spaniard's Road, close to the inn of the same name. So another stretch of country is to be swept away, and ere long the pick-axe, steam saw and spade will have completed the work of destruction. Of course there is only one remedythe purchase of this estate as another open space for the benefit of the millions of inhabitants of the * cluster of cities," as London was not long ago aptly described, I think by the Chairman of the London County Council—an expensive remedy indeed, but surely not too expensive, when one thinks of all the abundant wealth existing in the metropolis, wealth too often directed into unprofitable channels. Although the Selborne Society aims at the preservation of woodland and rural scenery for its own sake, and as a protest against insults daily done to Nature all over England, there is not a member of the Society, I feel convinced, who would not rejoice at the rescue of such a spot, not merely for its own beauty, but as another means of giving health and happiness to the numberless dwellers in what Sir Frederick Leighton so well called in the first number of NATURE NOTES, “this black and monstrous metropolis.”

ARCHIBALD L. CLARKE.

BOOKS FOR NATURE LOVERS.

SOME BIRD BOOKS. He would have no easy task who should undertake to decide whether birds or flowers have the stronger hold upon the affections of the nature lover. Perhaps, like competitors for Academic honours, on whose relative merits it is impossible to decide, they should be “ bracketed equal." It is certain, however, that these two between them occupy a far larger proportion of the literature devoted to natural objects than all the others put together, and the number of volumes is still increasing. Three of the most recent of these are now before us.

The first and most important is the handsome Manual of British Birds, by Mr. Howard Saunders (Gurney and Jackson). In a volume of some eight hundred pages we have a complete enumeration, with illustrations of nearly every species, of all the birds having any claim to be considered as British. Only two pages are allowed to each bird, no matter how interesting or varied its history may be; and Mr. Howard Saunders is to be congratulated on the skill with which he has condensed into this small space a complete and readable account of every species. A systematic sketch of the genera is given in an introduction of thirty pages; in this way the appearance of the book is made less terrifying to the ordinary reader than would otherwise be the case, while the student is not deprived of the more technical characters which he may wish to consult for purposes of comparison. The illus. trations are the excellent ones which add so much to the attractiveness of Yarrell's great work, supplemented by “woodcuts of many recent wanderers to Great Britain.”

The number of our birds is thus summarised :-"The birds considered as British in this work are 367 in number, exclusive of several forms-only noticedrespecting which there are conflicting opinions. The species which have been ascertained to breed within the United Kingdom during the present century may be taken as 200; about 70 non-hardy wanderers have occurred fewer than six times, and 59 others are more or less infrequent visitors; while 38 species annually make their appearance in migration or during the colder months, in some portion of a long, narrow group of islands in the surrounding waters."

Mr. W. Warde Fowler's Year with the Birds (Macmillan) has reached a third edition. It first appeared in 1886, and this is sufficient proof of the favour in which it is held. There is no need to comment at length upon a work which has deservedly obtained general approval, but we are glad to bring it to the notice of such Selbornians as may not already know it. The book is thoroughly Selbornian in tone, simple, loving and observant. “For several years past I have contrived, even on the busiest or the rainiest Oxford mornings, to steal out for twenty minutes or half-an-hour, soon after breakfast, to let my senses exercise themselves on things outside me. Thus simply Mr. Fowler begins his narration. The habit began when he was an ardent fisherman and daily within reach of trout :” now “the rod has given way to a field-glass, and the passion for killing has been displaced by a desire to see and know ; a revolution which I consider has been beneficial, not only to the trout, but to myself;” and, we heartily add, to the readers of these records. There are two chapters on Oxford birds, two on those of the Alps, two on those of A Midland Village," and one-different in style, but equally interesting-on “ The Birds of Virgil." Some notes and a good index conclude this capital book, the attractiveness of which is enhanced by Mr. Bryan Hook's illustrations.

Mr. Charles Dixon adds another to his already numerous bird-books, under the title Stray Feathers from Many Birds (W. H. Allen and Co.). The title is not an inapt one, for the twenty-four chapters which make up this handsome volume range over a great variety of topics, and have no very intimate connection one with another, except that the main subject of all is the same. The book contains much interesting reading, but we miss from it that personal observation which lends such a charm to Mr. Warde Fowler's volume.

sea.

SHORT NOTICES OF BOOKS. WHEN a family which includes some young Selbornians betakes itself to a marine watering place, a thoughtful paterfamilias will be sure to provide them with some little manual by the aid of which they may systematise and arrange the vàried knowledge of nature which they acquire in their rambles by the shore. Even at the present day, when the press teems with popular works on Natural History, it would be difficult to select a better guide than a handbook familiar to the last generation, the Sea-side Book of Professor Harvey, the fourth edition of which we have received from Messrs. Gurney and Jackson, the successors of the well-known publishing house of Van Voorst. In this work the famous Irish algologist not only deals with the sea-weeds—his own special subject of study—but discusses the physical laws which cause the motions of the world of waters, and describes at length the various animals which inhabit the rocks and sands of the sea-shore, and gives many interesting details as to the microscopic wonders of the

Sea-side plants and birds are also treated of, and a large amount of information is given as to the best method of securing treasure (faunal and floral treasure, not the buried spoil of ancient pirates) by dredging. Professor Harvey follows r. Yarrell in assigning all manner of virtues to a fish diet : if you want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, eat fish; if you wish to immensely increase your intellectual faculties, eat fish ; if you desire to properly carry out your religious obligations, eat fish-at certain times. The Irish priests, according to some writers, formerly allowed themselves considerable laxity in this matter, and ate good Solan geese at fast times on the plea that, as they came froin barnacles, they must be shell fish, and as the barnacles grew on trees, they were not far removed from vegetables. While Professor Harvey quotes a passage to this effect from an old Dutch book of travels, he is careful to avoid any definite statement which might offend the sensitiveness of his fellow-countrymen. Perhaps the story originated from some witty Father Burke of the seventeenth century, who thought he had a good opportunity of testing the gullibility of a Dutch tourist.

Pond Life: Algæ and allied Forms, by T. Spencer Smithson, is one of a series published by Swan Sonnenschein and Co. This little book is so much better than most of its class that its coming is a pleasant surprise. The author shows a personal acquaintance with the things he writes about, not possessed by the writers of niuch more ambitious books on the subject. The valuable part of his work is the information he gives to the young collector as to likely places for specific forms of fresh-water Algæ. He is, moreover, well versed in the more scientific aspect of his subject, though perhaps rather daring in the analogies he draws between these low forms and higher plants. Perhaps in a future edition the author may see his way to recommending the one-sixth inch objective for a high power in place of the quarter-inch ; to giving directions for more frequent examinations on the ordinary slide or hanging drop rather than in the line box, and for mounting specimens. We heartily wish the book earnest students and many of them.

We continue to receive each month the FIELD CLUB (Elliot Stock), ably edited by the Rev. Theodore Wood, who has just been elected a member of the Council of the Selborne Society. Some perfervid Selbornians seem to think the typical “ Field Clubman is a mere greedy spoliator of Nature. Even if this rather uncharitable estimate were true, such a creature could not fail to learn better things from the magazine provided for his benesit.

SELBORNIANA. “Porriwiggles.”—Miss A. M. Buckton writes from Weycombe, Hasle

“The following extract from a letter of Lord Tennyson's may be of interest to the readers of NATURE NOTES :-Farringford, Feb. 5th, 1890.

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Apropos of your slug anecdote, let me tell you one of the tadpole. Porriwiggles, they call them provincially—a very good name—“porr" for the lumipish head and “iwiggles” for the tail. Once, when a boy, I put my thumb into a little pool that was full of them, and held it there for some time; they swarmed about it and sucked at it, till I took it out, as rough as the finger of an overworked seamstress.'”

“The Sea-blue Bird of March.”—The Sea-blue bird of March is, in my judgment, not the Kingfisher. It does not fit from bush to bush, and is not found among larch plantations. Cf. the verse in “In Memoriam,” xc., i., Anyone who carefully notes the colour of the March hedgerows will observe how their peculiar colour accentuates the green and yellow and blue of the little blue-tit's suit of sea-blue. Readers of Lord Tennyson, and those who know him personally, must have noted how entirely it would fit in with the Laureate's nice observation to speak of the blue-tit as sea-blue. It is veritably the sea-blue bird of March, never again so noticeable as in that month as far as colour goes.

H. D. RAWNSLEY. [The Editorial statement in the April number of Nature Nores was written with a distinct remembrance of having heard from Lord Tennyson himself that the Kingfisher was the bird meant. To make assurance doubly sure, our President was again asked the question, with the result that we can state authoritatively that by the “Sea-blue bird of March was meant the Kingfisher, which Lord Tennyson used to notice first in that month of the year by the Lincolnshire rivers.—Evs.]

Righteous Indignation.—The Rev. H. D. Rawnsley writes later on :“Will you raise your protest against the needless rooting-up of ferns and flowers in our Lake District, and elsewhere, as the tourist season is close upon us. The Swiss • Selborne Society' prints notices to the effect that the Alpine flowers are fast disappearing, and the public are warned that those flowers can be far better propagated from seed than from root, and they are invited to go to the Alpine Gardens at Zurich and obtain what they want. Two other notes of alarm please sound. One against the needless cutting of names on trees. The Knight Wood Oak—the King of the New Forest—is likely to be destroyed by the pernicious practice of taking away small bits of the bark. I counted last week' 230 new cuttings at the rind of this remarkable tree's stem. The other note we need sounding again, is against wanton destruction of rare birds. Last week, whilst lunching with Lord Tennyson at Freshwater, I heard the news brought in that a kite, a buzzard, and a hoopoe had been shot in the island.

I need not say that very strong indignation was expressed. As good luck would have i:, two members of your Society (vice-presidents) were present, and are able to bear witness both to the evil news, and also to the way in which your president was distressed by these barbarous and shortsighted acts of butchery among our feathered visitants. When shall we learn to entertain angels unawares ? "

Birds' Sense of Time.-It has often been said that birds cannot count further than five, since the well-worn story of the rooks and the five men with their guns. Has their sense of time ever been tested? We caught last year a young and helpless blackbird on our lawn, and to protect it from cats hung it up in a cage in my balcony. It could not feed itself, and beat itself against the wires till its face was bloody, to our great perplexity and pain. However, in a very short time the parent blackbirds found it out, and began feeding it through the bars. By a careful adaptation of mirrors we were able to watch them easily, though the birds were very wild. The punctuality of the parents was most remarkable, for every ten minutes, as the clock-hands pointed, one or other blackbird came back with

or crumb or grub -- how obtained, and at what cost of labour and toil, with such strict regularity is a marvel to me; but this happened for several consecutive days, till the young one was better fledged and ceased to sit all day with his mouth open, so that we judged him fit to go abroad. We scattered some bread crumbs about the cage, to give the parents a little rest, and they were intelligent enough to take the hint and poke them through the wires when they thought themselves unobserved, though the young blackbird had not a notion of picking them up when placed in his cage. At last we let him fly, and for several

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days the birds haunted the near trees and sang to us as if gratefully. Perhaps Sel. bornians will take note of the habits of birds in feeding their young, and make a memorandum of the spells of time which various species require for healthy mastication and digestion. My blackbirds were well able to count ten, but not eleven, in minutes.

M. E. HAWEIS. The Nightingale in the Thames Valley.-Mr. Albert C. Keen writes from 91, King Street West, Hammersmith :—“Many readers of NATURE Notes will be agreeably surprised to learn that during the past and some recent early summers a nightingale has been in the habit of singing in two or three of the oldfashioned gardens that lie close to the Middlesex end of Hammersmith Bridge, on the right as you approach the bridge, and within a few hundred yards of busy King Street, Iammersmith. One of the gardens thus honoured is that of Rigby House, once the residence of Sir Charles Wheatstone, the eminent electrician.

On the other hand, Mr. F. C. Hodgson, of Twickenham, writes to the Times of May 29th, asking persons who take an interest in such subjects, whether they have observed that the number of nightingales singing is less than usual this year. “In this neighbourhood we generally have a fair nuniber, but this year I have only heard one, and that one very seldom. In most of the favourite haunts of the bird I have heard none this year. During a fortnight I lately spent in the south of the Isle of Wight I heard but one, though I was out of doors at all times in the day and the weather was highly favourable for them. To-day I spent three or four hours out of doors at Horton-Milton's Horton, which ever since his days has been famous for nightingales—but though I heard many other birds singing, I heard not one nightingale. I should be interested to know if the same scarcity has been observed in other parts of the country, particularly in the eastern counties, where they are usually so abundant."

Birds and Bonnets.-We have to acknowledge several extracts kindly sent us by that veteran naturalist and humanitarian, the Re F. O. Morris, of Nunburnholme Rectory, Yorkshire. Out of the number we have pleasure in printing the following letter on the use of birds as trimming for ladies' bonnets, which seems to point to the dawning of a new and happier era in the history of the fashion-book :

“ I take the opportunity of the present change to spring fashions to draw the attention of your readers to the almost entire absence of the use of birds as a trimming in hats. This custom is during the coming spring apparently to be, for a time at least, abandoned, the preference being given to imitation flowers, which, regarded merely from an æsthetic point of view, must surely prove as ornaments vastly preferable to that which cannot but convey, at any rate to those whose opinion is of any worth, a repulsive idea of murder— murder of this best of harmless beings,' as Browning has it. The more I have inquired into the matter the more I am convinced that in many instances the wearers of the remains of the poor tortured birds have not really thought about the subject at all ; at any rate have given to it no thought whatever, with regard to the excessive cruelty necessarily involved. One example alone may convey to the minds of some who have not given the subject even a passing thought, a slight idea of what the wearing of wings may involve. The following is an extract from Yarrell's History of British Birds :—Some years ago, when the plumes of birds were much worn in ladies' hats, the barred wings of the young kittiwake were in great demand for the purpose, and vast numbers were slaughtered at their breeding haunts. Fishing smacks with extra boats and crews used to commence their work of de. struction at Lundy Island by daybreak on August ist, continuing this proceeding for upwards of a fortnight.' In many cases wings were torn off wounded birds before they were dead, the mangleit victims being tossed back into the water. Allowing for the starved nestlings, it is well within the mark to say that at least nine thousand of these inoffensive birds were destroyed during the fortnight.'

“It is most sincerely to be hoped that as now for a brief time this spring's fashion may cause the temporary laying aside of birds as trimmings, all those interested in the suppression of an unwarrantable destruction of bird life will, in every way in their power, endeavour to enlighten the minds of the ignorant and to gain the sympathies of the feeling ; so that when the rapid changes of fashion again tend

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