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Cinereous Shearwater (Puffinus cinereus).—One caught in the bay in 1860. Several have since been procured, but it can only be regarded as a rare visitant.
A. VON HiigEL.
Chelstone Cross, Torquay,
Ornithological Notes from Devonshire, Cornwall, 8fc.
(Continued from S. S. 3829).
1st. There were several great northern divers in the Sound, and I observed some men chasing one in a boat, at which they had five shots, but I am glad to say did not kill it; many young herring gulls, however, fell to their guns. Shags are plentiful along the coast now; and this morning I saw one with a-very large fish, which it had caught close to the rocks, and had great difficulty in swallowing. Large flocks of starlings were continually flying across the Sound from the east and going west.
3rd. Saw a fine old male black redstart on the cliffs near Bovisand, which had a very dark breast and conspicuous white patch on the wings.
5th. Approached within a few yards of a male cirl bunting perched on a bush, and which was singing as loudly as ever I heard one in spring. I mention this as there was a paragraph in the 'Zoologist' (S. S. 3772), by Mr. T. A. Briggs, on the autumnal song of the cirl bunting.
6th. There were several bartailed godwits in the Plymouth Market: this species is seldom observed in our neighbourhood after the autumn. This morning I observed a blackbird in the garden intently engaged in picking a bone which had been left by one of our dogs.
7lh. Was much interested in watching a large northern diver washing and dressing its plumage on the water, about a hundred yards from the shore, every now and then throwing itself almost completely on its back during the process.
SECOND SERIES—VOL. IX. p
December 9th. Visited St. Germans. When concealed behind some trees in a wood close by the river, I managed with my telescope to have a most interesting peep at the gulls and waders on its banks. There were about two hundred of the Larus ridibundus, a great many curlews and a few redshanks feeding or resting together, almost within gunshot of me, with about a dozen herons fishing close by. The weather being exceedingly bright and still, with not a breath of air to ruffle the surface of the water, the form of every bird near its edge was reflected as if in a mirror, adding greatly to the beauty of the scene. After this I called on a wildfowl shooter living in the town, who told me that for the last few nights, during the severe white frosts, the river was swarming with teal, and that the night before he had more than two hundred around his boat, but so scattered that he could not get more than two or three at a shot, and that they were almost every one of them males, which was generally the case at that time of the year: he also told me that there was a flock of full five hundred redshanks, which frequented the mud-banks, but that they were so wild he could ndt get within as many hundred yards of them.
"13th. An immature black redstart was killed on the coast near Bovisand; this I examined and found to be a young male of the year.
14th. Three longeared owls and one shorteared have been killed in the neighbourhood, within the last few days, and sent to the birdstuffer for preservation. The longeared owl is very uncommon with us in Devonshire. I saw a fine old male shoveller, in the flesh, at a birdstuffer's, a few days ago. I also saw a very large northern diver, which had been caught in a fisherman's net; although it was very fat, yet there was nothing in its stomach but a few small stones. Small flocks of longtailed tits have made their appearance on the coast lately, so I think there must have been an arrival. The great blackbacked gull is now becoming more numerous; few visit us before Christmas.
28th. Observed an immature black redstart on the rocks at the Devil's Point, Stonehouse.
On the 3rd there were above two hundred gulls and a large number of dunlins and ringed plovers on the mud-banks of the Laira, with a party of eight dabchicks on the river, and immense flocks of lapwings and some golden plovers on the low flat grounds of the Plymouth race-course close by. Amongst some birds brought to a birdstuffer for preservation lately, I examined two ringed plovers in perfectly adult plumage, one being almost, if not quite, as large again as the other—capital illustrations of the supposed large and small races of this species. A few days ago I saw a great blackbacked gull in that interesting state of plumage, apparently quite adult about the head, breast and back, but with the tail beautifully freckled or mottled with dark brown and white.
I have lately examined the stomachs of two more shorteared owls, each of which contained the perfect legs of a redwing and the remains of other birds.
On the 17th I observed a large number of curlews, lapwings and ringed plovers on the banks of the Tamar; also a few fieldfares in the neighbourhood, which latter were no doubt driven in from the hills of Dartmoor, at the time covered with snow. It had been blowing very hard up to the 20th, on which day many great blackbacked gulls made their appearance in our harbours.
On the 23rd I examined an old pied wagtail, which had as complete a black back as in spring, though perhaps a little duller in colour; the front of its head, cheeks and throat were, however, very white. I do not mean that the dark plumage of the back had been recently assumed, but it must have been produced at the last autumnal moult.
On the 27th I saw an old guillemot which was already assuming the breeding plumage, some dark feathers having appeared about the chin and throat.
29th. There was a moorhen in the market in beautiful plumage, with the naked skin on the forehead and base of the bill of the brightest blood-red or crimson; the garters on the legs, too, were of a very bright colour. Examined the stomach of a dipper, which contained nothing but the remains of insects and their larvae, among which were several very small beetles with dark brown and yellow elytra.
Two or three years since I mentioned having seen a nest containing three young blackbirds perfectly white, belonging to a person in Plymouth, and a few days since one of these identical birds was brought to a birdstufTer to be mounted, having died only the day previously. Its head and neck were quite naked, and its death, I hear, was caused by its not being able to get over its moult; the rest of its plumage was perfectly white.
8, Lower Durnford Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth, February 8, 1874.
Correction of Error.—In my notes for September (Zool. S. S. 3785, fifth line), in speaking of the hen harrier, for "a bird very numerous with us of late years," read "a bird very scarce with us," &c.—J. G.
Ornithological Notes from Lancashire (continued from Zool. S. S. 3801).— Bartailed Godwit.—Sept. 20, 1873. A male bird of the year shot to-day
had not yet assumed its winter plumage, having the buff-coloured breast
peculiar to young birds. Its stomach contained sand, small angular pieces
of gravel and fragments of small mollusks. Sanderling.—Sept. 27. One shot on the Formby shore to-day, in full
Gray Plover.—Sept. 27. Four birds of the year shot to-day on the flats still contained slightly buff-coloured breasts. There are now enormous flocks at the mouth of the Mersey: they do not associate with other waders, though occasionally a straggler is seen with a party of dunlins. Nov. 1.— Some observed to-day in full winter plumage.
Dunlin.—Oct. 1. Enormous flocks on the mud-flats. Nov. 1.—This afternoon I shot a female, which had not quite completed its autumnal moult, a few chestnut feathers being still left on its back and wings, which have a very pretty effect against its sober winter dress, and a few black feathers still remain on its breast.
Iceland Gull.—Nov. 8. This afternoon, whilst out with a friend, picked up a winged immature bird on the Formby shore; the wound was recent, but as the bone was only broken at the carpal joint we carried it home alive, and it is now quite strong and well. It feeds quite greedily on fish, refuse, and indeed scraps of any kind, frequently shaking its food in a pan of water before swallowing it.
Heron.—Nov. 17. The stomach of a female I examined to-day contained three frogs in various stages of decomposition, one nearly perfect.
Leach's Petrel.—An adult specimen was shot at the end of November or beginning of December near Southport.
Tawny Owl.—Dec. 8. The stomach of a bird examined to-day contained the remains of a blackbird.
Linnet.—Nov. 8. I saw at the bird-market, Liverpool, to-day, a linnet whose whole head, beak and neck were white. It had about an even number of white and brown feathers on its back and stomach; wings and tail of the usual colour.
Errata.—In my last notes (Zool. S. S. 3798 and 3800 respectively), for Eastern Broad read Easton Broad, and for Barnsbury Common read Bransbury Common.—H. Durn/ord; Stanley Road, Waterloo, Liverpool, January 3, 1874.
Ornithological Notes from Denbighshire.—
Ruff.—In August I received a bird of this species from Rhyl. There was another with it at the time. The gentleman who shot it informed me that he had also observed several turnstones about.
Crossbill.—For the last three months a large flock of these birds has been frequenting a wood near here, where they are invariably to be found feeding on the cones of the larch.
Snow Bunting.—On the 24th of December I shot one of these birds, a male, in fine plumage; oddly enough, it is the first specimen that has come under my notice in this country.
Longeared Owl.—One shot by a gentleman here during December.
Greater Spotted Woodpecker.—I saw a bird of this species on the 20th of December. It is not uncommon about here in the winter, but does not, I think, breed with us.
Siskin.—These interesting little birds have visited us this year in somewhat unusual numbers.
Mountain Finch.—Large flocks distributed over all the high stubblelands.
Golden Plover.—Large flocks on the moor.—W. J. Kerr; Maesmor, Corwen, Denbighshire, North Wales.
Plumage of the Black Redstart.—Having read Mr. Clogg's interesting note on the black redstart (S. S. 8832), may I be allowed to add a few remarks on the plumage of that species. I do not think that ornithologists are generally aware that the winter plumage of the fully-adult male black redstart really varies but little from that of summer; the only difference is that in winter the feathers of the body, being longer and more or less tipped with gray or brownish gray, give to the general plumage a duller cast, but these tips becoming abraded or worn off towards the summer (as in the case of many other small birds) leave the under plumage, of course, more pure and distinct . Nevertheless I have seen a few splendid old males, at different times throughout the winter, with almost pure black breasts and a large white patch on the wings. Indeed the white on the wings is then even more conspicuous than in the breeding season, for by that time the edges of the feathers have become comparatively short or much abraded. The black redstart is a regular winter visitor to the coasts of Devou and Cornwall, arriving generally at the beginning of November and leaving by the end of March or beginning of April, and the reason that so few black-breasted