Imagens das páginas

4. "Between the 6th and 26th of January, 1859, a specimen was several times observed at Welford, near Stratford-on-Avon, aud having been killed, is now in the collection of Mr. R. F. Tomes, of that place, who, unlike most ornithologists, was not content with merely announcing the bare fact, but in doing so ('Ibis,'1859, p.379) contributed some excellent remarks on the structure and affinities of the species."—History of British Birds, fourth edition, i. p. 252.

5. At p. 2019 of the 'Zoologist' for 1870, Mr. H. Blake-Knox, one of the most talented, observant and zealous ornithologists that Ireland has ever produced, incidentally mentions that a specimen of White's thrush was shown him by Mr. Glennon, by whom it was stuffed. Mr. Blake-Knox subsequently (Zool. S. S. 2060) kindly handed me the following details:—" It was shot in the spring of 1867 by the Honourable King Harman, of Newcastle, Ballymahon, who mistook it for a small hawk or cuckoo. I examined the bird myself at the stuffer's, Mr. Glennon, of Wicklow-street, Dublin, in 1867; but as I did not see it in the flesh I must admit I did not give it as much attention as I ought."—H. Blake-Knox, in Zool. 1. c. I much and often regret that Irish naturalists do not regularly send me records of rare species of animals occurring in Ireland: since the lamented death of Mr. W. Thompson, of Belfast, there is a sad gap in this important branch of Irish Natural History.

6. Mr. Cecil Smith records, at p. 2018 of the fifth volume of the Second Series of the 'Zoologist,' that on the 7th of January, 1870, a bird of this species was shot at Hestercombe, Somersetshire, by Mr. Beadon, of Yatton, who mistook it for a woodcock. "The bird agreed closely with Yarrell's description, except that the legs and toes—scarcely faded at all when I [Mr. C. Smith] first saw them—were yellowish brown instead of pale brown; the claws considerably paler than the legs and toes, but still tinged with yellowish brown."

7. "One, Almondbury Bank, near Huddersfield; Beaumont, 'Huddersfield Naturalist,' i. p. 217." — Hat-ting's Handbook of British Birds, p. 100.

8. One was obtained on the 6th of January, 1871, at Langsford, near the Mepdip Hills: it was in open ground, but near a wood, and was shot when feeding on hawthorn berries. Mr. Cecil Smith, who records this occurrence at p. 2607 of the ' Zoologist' for 1871, satisfied himself that the specimen was correctly named, and that it was not a foreign specimen made up for sale.

9. At page 2848 of the 'Zoologist' for 1871, Mr. Gunn, of Norwich, has given a most minute description and measurements of a specimen killed by Mr. F. Borrett in a marsh in the parish of Hickling, but leaves us in uncertainty as to the time of the occurrence by writing " 10th instant," and not dating his letter. As the terms "instant," "ultimo" and "proximo" convey no idea whatever to the mind of the reader, I trust my correspondents will henceforth oblige me by discontinuing to use them: the date was the 10th of October, 1872.

10. In the 'Field' of February 2, 1872, there are two notes on the occurrence of a specimen of White's thrush in Castle Eden Dene on the 17th of January, 1872, communicated by Mr. Sclater and Mr. Johnstone; and these were reprinted in the ' Zoologist' (S. S. 3019). The following passage is very interesting:—" On the 17th of January last Mr. Burdon was shooting in the Dene, when a bird came across him, and, not knowing what it was, he fired and hit it, but it could not be found. He, however, picked up a wingfeather and some breast-feathers, which he brought home. On the 31st, a fortnight afterwards, Mr. Burdon was shooting over the same ground, and came upon the bird, and after being chased for some distance it was finally captured by one of the watchers, apparently but little the worse, excepting that the whole of the primary feathers of one wing were shot off, which stopped the bird's flight. It was brought home, put into a cage, and as it eats well I hope to be able to keep it alive."—John Sclater. At p. 3041 Mr. Sclater informs the readers of the 'Zoologist' that this bird died on the nineteenth day after its capture, having received greater injuries from shot than was at first expected. "The shoulder-bone," says Mr. Sclater, "had been broken from the blow of the shot (as the flesh was not shot through); it had strongly knit together, but was half an inch shorter than the other: the bird was a male, was very bold, and fed from my hand three days after it was caged. It ate well up till the day it died, and would no doubt have lived but for the injuries it had received. It once or twice gave a harsh scream when handled, but I heard no note; it used the perch, always roosting upon it. The markings were all well defined and alike on each side, so far as its damaged state would allow me to judge, the primaries being all shot off one wing; the third feather of the other wing was also gone, and there were only eight feathers left in the tail." Then follows a most minute description of the bird, contrasting it with a young specimen of the missel thrush, and showing very important differences.

11. The last record of White's thrush as a British bird is from the pen of Mr. E. H. Rodd, whose valuable contributions on Ornithology have enriched every volume of the 'Zoologist' from its commencement. This record is published in the February number for the present year. The specimen was killed by one of the keepers of Mr. T. C. Hawkins, of Trewithen, in the parish of Probus, on the 13th or 14th of January, aud was presented to Mr. Rodd through the courtesy of Mr. Trethewey, Mr. Hawkins' steward, who at once perceived that the bird was different from any other thrush he had ever seen: this gentleman, writing to Mr. Rodd, says:—"This bird had attracted the notice of the keeper for some weeks before he had an opportunity of shooting it. Each time he saw it, it was feeding in some marshy ground near some ponds, and when disturbed it flew to another portion of the water. The keeper thought it was a species of water-fowl. The cry was very much like that of the common thrush, but the habits quite different." Mr. Rodd, who gives this account in the February 'Zoologist' (S. S. 3880), says that this bird so exactly corresponds with Mr. Yarrell's descriptiou of the species that there is no necessity of describing it afresh. I may add that the total length of the bird is twelve and a half inches, and the extended wings measure twenty and a half inches; also that there were fourteen feathers in the tail, a character which most authors describe as distinctive of the species.

In addition to the specimens actually "obtained" several others may be mentioned as "seen." Of these there are three good instances.

1st. The Rev. J. C. Atkinson, a first-rate ornithologist, says:— "My attention was drawn to the bird yesterday (Sunday) morning. It was on the grass-plot, not ten yards distant from my studywindow, aud I was enabled almost immediately to examine it thoroughly by the aid of a very excellent double field-glass. I suppose it was thus under observation from two to three minutes. Again in the afternoou, from the same window, I had a like opportunity of inspection, and as the bird hopped across the grass, it came under my observation from another window, with nearly equal advantage to the observer. It remained in sight four or five minutes this second time. I had no doubt from the moment I caught sight of it that it was not a common bird, and directly I had it in the field of the glass I recognized the peculiar plumage of Turdus Whitei."—Zool. S. S. 2142, quoted from the ' Field.'

2nd. Lord Clifton records, at p. 2845 of the ' Zoologist' for 1871, that on the 5th of January of that year, he saw a bird which, on rising from some dead leaves in a wood, he mistook for a woodcock, to which its flight, or the shape of its wings, or both, gave it a marked resemblance. His lordship continues:—"On my advancing to the spot the bird again rose from some dead leaves further on, and settled on a low tree near me. I then saw that it was of the thrush family and resembled the missel thrush in size, though differing so remarkably from that bird in flight and habits. Disturbed from the tree, the bird flew off with the same rapid, low, woodcock-like flight to another tree, perching on a very low branch, and then dropping down among the dead leaves again. My own opinion is that this bird was White's thrush, but I do not wish to force this opinion on your readers. I would merely remind them that the woodcock-like flight and terrestrial habits are among the characteristics noted by Mr. R. F. Tomes in his description of White's thrush."

3rd. "Dr. Tristram, of Greatham, tells me he saw a White's thrush on the 10th of April last; it alighted on a tree close to his house; he was only a few yards from it, and plainly saw the crescentic markings. A pair of missel thrushes immediately began to bully and chase it about the lawn, when it flew away southwards. Dr. Tristram thinks this may have been the mate of the bird obtained on the Dene here."—John Sclater, Zool. S. S. 3148.

I have next to trace its European and extra-European range from Temminck, who leaves us to call it by the specific name of varius of Pallas or Withei of Eyton; the latter I presume to be intended as a correction of the word Whitei employed by Eyton, Gould and Yarrell. This learned ornithologist, in the first place, expresses his conviction of the specific identity of the examples from Japan, the Isles of Sunda and Australia. "No other character than that of a slight difference in the size of the beak is available for distinguishing the two races of this species, one of which inhabits Japan, but occasionally makes its appearance in Europe; the other is found scattered from the Isles of Sunda as far as New Holland; the latter have the beak a little longer, and sometimes also a little stouter, than those which have not unfrequeutly visited our European countries and which come from Japan; nevertheless it must be admitted that among numerous Indian specimens I have found individuals with beaks neither longer nor thicker than those of the Japanese specimens. I have therefore reunited them, contrary to the judgment of Mr. Gould, who considers them distinct, and who is even inclined to make a third species of the Australian specimens. * * * * This bird accidentally visits western Europe; we may cite five or six instances, one in England [increased above to nine or ten], two at Hamburg, one on the Rhine, another in Germany (the exact locality not being mentioned), and as long ago as 1783 a specimen was killed at Metz; besides these we hear vaguely of other captures. It is abundant in Japan, and perhaps also in some parts of Asia, whence it has probably visited Europe. I have been quite unable to discover any difference between the colour of the plumage in the Hamburg specimens and those from Japan. I only perceive a very slight difference in the form and size of the beak between these last and those from Java; again, comparing these with those from the Australian colonies, the latter are the larger, although I find no difference in the plumage." Temminck adds that its food consists of insects and worms, and that in Java it frequents hills six or seven thousand feet in height and equally high hills in Japan. (See 'Manuel d'Ornithologie,' vol. iv. pp. 602—604.)

Turning to a recently published part (iv.) of Yarrell's 'British Birds,' I find the following additional particulars of its geographical range. It has been killed about twenty times in Continental Europe; at Dion le Monte, in October, 1842; at Namur, and at Jemappes and Louvaine, in October, 1855; in the woods at Rezonville, in September, 1788; this specimen was described by Hollandre, under the name of Turdus aureus, in 1825; near Marseilles, in October, 1840; in the Tyrol, in 1861; at Aspang, in Austria, in 1847; in Heligoland, in September, 1834; near Hamburg; at Elbing, in Prussia, in 1849; and at Jemtland, one of the Swedish provinces, in 1837.

It has occurred at Krasnojark, on the Jenisei, also on the shores of Lake Baikal; and Herr Radde, the Siberian traveller, shot three specimens on the Tarei moor; these were two males and a female, and were apparently making their way northwards in the spring of the year.—Newton's ' Yarrell] i. 254.

From these various records it seems that October has been the


« AnteriorContinuar »