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in Mr. Bell's work. In the specific character of this species of bat, the tragus is stated to be "barely one-third the length of the auricle," and in the more minute description given in the larger type the tragus is stated to be "half the length of the ear." Which statement are we to take as the true one? Kinahan says, " nearly half the length of the ear." 1 would say one-third the length would be most accurate. The colour of the fur is variously given by writers: it certainly is not "bright chestnut" at the surface, as stated by Mr. Tomes, and it can scarcely be called " duskyish red," as given by Kinahan. Chestnut-brown appears to me the most accurate description.
Mr. Newman has given us a review of Bell's ' British Quadrupeds,' and he has, I think, let the editors off easily. I fully endorse his opinion that "This edition has been issued in an incomplete and unsatisfactory, although I can by no means say hasty, manner; yet there can be no doubt that sufficient time has been taken to produce a work of exhaustive excellence." I could point out four or five misstatements, especially in connexion with Irish Natural History, of which too little is said. The description of the hairy-armed bat exhibits one inaccuracy and a contradiction. Mus alexandrinus, as Mr. Newman well observes, has been snnbbed completely: he is not even buried in the preface. It is a pity to have this, the best work on the subject of which it professes to treat, spoiled by the want of a little care on the part of the editors.
Richard M. Barrington.
Fassaroe, Bray, Co. Wicklow,
PS.— Since the above was written, I have received a male specimen of the hairy-armed bat from Mr. Frederick Haughton, of Levitstown, Co. Kildare. It was shot about ten days ago near Tankardstown Bridge, the locality where Kinahan discovered Daubenton's bat. This is quite a new locality. It is not a little remarkable that the twelve specimens of the hairy-armed bat received from Tandragee were females.—R. M. B.; June 20.
Albino Water Rat.—We have just mounted a perfect albino water rat, which was obtained near Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, a few weeks ago.—John Pratt; 11, North-street Quadrant, Brighton, May 19, 1874.
A Flight of Bats.—On the 23rd of May, while walking with a friend, ahout 5 P.m., we noticed a flight of twenty-seven large hats steadily flying in a north-easterly direction. Is not this unusual? Neither my friend nor myself have ever before witnessed a similar occurrence.—Arthur J. ClarkKennedy; Little Glemham, Suffolk.
Habitat of "Rat-Bats"!—I happened a few evenings ago to come upon a habitat of bats. Their home is a deserted woodpecker's hole, from which such a twittering and squeaking proceeded that it induced me to stay and watch their departure. Just as dusk was setting in the noise ceased, and out flew, as quickly as I could count, no less than sixty-three large bats, commonly called the "rat-bat," I believe. A few evenings afterwards I counted sixty-nine from the same hole—all the large-sized bat, and evidently one species only.—George W. P. Moor; Great Dealings, Woodbridge.
Complaint in Nestling Birds.—A pair of greenfinches built their nest in the garden this year, and soon after the eggs had been hatched a small white bladder appeared on the neck of one of the young birds. This bladder increased, and in three days the bird was dead. The remaining young ones also died, being affected with similar bladders about the same place, low down on the right side of the neck, just where it joins the body. Can any of your readers kindly inform me what this disease was, and what engendered it? I believe there is a complaint among birds, akin to this, called "tympany."—Arthur J. Clark-Kennedy.
Variation in the Song of the Blackcap Warbler.—I have given pretty much attention to the songs and notes of our birds, and summer visitors particularly, and have never been more deceived than in the last two mornings by an entire difference in the song of a blackcap from any I have ever listened to. My sight not being very keen, I asked Mr. Vingoe, who has given a great deal of attention to our songsters, to accompany me this morning, which he did, and had a full opportunity of listening to tho monotonous passages uttered, and which entirely took him by surprise, until he got a full view of the blackcap in a low tree, with the black head quite clear. The song of the bird was uttered with two or three introductory sweet notes, and went at once, and sometimes without any introduction, to the leading theme of the song, resembling the words, "tiow wee," "tiow wee," "tiow wee," uttered distinctly, and sometimes repeated four times, but generally three; each passage was the same, with scarcely any variation, and very short; the quality of the notes full and sweet, like the usual songnote of this bird, but the melody and performance of the song totally different from and without any of the delicate expression of the blackcap's usual song. At a little distance off, where the quality of the notes was lost, the expression of the passage put one in mind of a titmouse "see-sawing." This may be
interesting to those of your readers who have given attention to the songs of our warblers; but I am quite sure that any one at all acquainted with the songs of birds would have been deceived as to the author of this music, unless he saw the bird.—Edward Hearle Rodd; Penzance, May 27,1874.
Curious Nesting-place of the Greater Tit. — This morning when the gardeners here were removing a large vase, preparatory to placing a flowerpot in it, they found a nest of the greater tit containing five or six young birds about half-fledged. At the bottom of the vase is a narrow neck leading to an open square base in which the nest was placed. The only possible entrance to this place was down the narrow neck. I only regret that I was too late to prevent the men disturbing the nest, as I should have been curious to see whether the young birds would have eventually found their own way out, or whether the old ones would have continued to feed them, even when fully fledged.—T. E. Tatton; Wythurshame Hall, Cheshire, June 13, 1874.
Curiously situated Piests of Tits.—A correspondent in the June number of the ' Zoologist' records an instance of a pair of blue tits (Parus caruleus) building in a hole in a gravel-pit. In June, 1865, I found a nest of the greater tit (P. major) in a similar spot, with seven eggs. Two years prior a pair of blue tits built in a le.tter box attached to a door in this parish, when four eggs were laid before they deserted. This was noticed in the 'Zoologist,' I believe, at the time, but I cannot refer to the number. In May, 1866, my brother found a nuthatch's nest in a sand martin's hole, the entrance being obstructed by mud in the usual way, from which he took six eggs.—George W. P. Moor.
Tree Sparrow building in Cambridgeshire.—In the ' Zoologist' for May, Mr. Doubleday mentions Aldwinkle, in Northamptonshire, as a locality in which the tree sparrow builds. It may not be generally known that these birds build in large numbers along the sides of the Cam, where I have seen many eggs taken from the holes in the old pollard willow trees: the eggs are considerably smaller than those of the common sparrow. In Meyer's 'British Birds,' I see, both Aldwinkle and Cambridge are given as localities.—Id.
Nesting of the Tree Sparrow.—Mr. Doubleday, remarking on my note (Zool. S. S. 3947), that " nests of the tree sparrow were, I believe, observed in some tall trees by the roadside," says, " These nests were probably those of the house sparrow, which frequently builds its nest in the branches of trees; but this is never the case with the tree sparrow, which invariably builds in holes in old trees, as pointed out by the late Colonel Montagu." That the house sparrow frequently builds in trees I am well aware, having found their liests so placed more than half a century ago, and in my Tunbridge notes (Zool. 5683 and 5752) I described, at some length, their manner of building, &c. One reason for believing, or thinking, that the nests seen in Brittany were not those of the house sparrow, was their being so far from town or village. I know what Montagu says, and doubtless Mr. Doubleday is equally well informed as to what Yarrell has written upon the subject. The house sparow generally builds in holes, and I have found their nests placed between stems of ivy and the trunk of the tree. Personally, I have had no opportunity of studying the habits of the tree sparrow, and what I have been able to gather from various authors has not enlightened me much. Even Montagu evidently knew little or nothing of the habits of the species in 1802; he merely says, "it always makes its nest in trees, and lays five eggs;" and it was not till some ten years later that he found " two nests of the tree sparrow with four eggs in each, in a decayed and pervious pollard." He then, somewhat hastily I think, jumps to the conclusion that it "never makes its nest amongst the branches of trees or in buildings."— Henry Hatfield; High Cliff, Vminor, Isle of Wight, May 21, 1874.
Starlings laying in the Hole of a Sand Martin.—Whilst searching for eggs of the sand martin yesterday, in a pit at Herne, near Herne Bay, I found one hole which had evidently been enlarged and lengthened, and putting in my arm quite up to the shoulder, I found three eggs of the common starling; they were lying on the bare sand, without the slightest attempt at a nest. The eggs are slightly more elongated than any that I have previously taken. "When I first entered the sand-pit I saw a large bird fly out of one of the holes; but it never occurred to me, until I found the eggs, that it could be a starling: I supposed it to be a blackbird, and almost expected to find one of the holes half choked up with a huge nest.— A. G. Butler; Sittingbourne, Kent, May 20, 1874.
Greater Spotted Woodpecker and Starlings.—The subjoined note has been sent to me by a very reliable observer, residing at Keswick, near Norwich, who writes, under date of the 23rd of May, to the following effect:—" Early one morning in the beginning of this month I heard a great deal of noise and chattering of birds on the top of an ash tree close by my house, which I found to proceed from a pair of starlings and a male greater spotted woodpecker fighting for the possession of a hole in the tree, apparently for the purpose of nesting. First one would go in and then the other, constantly driving each other away. This lasted for at least half an hour, at the expiration of which the woodpecker left the starlings in quiet possession of the hole, where they still remain. I have not seen the woodpecker since, but I hear him daily among the neighbouring trees."—J. H. Gurney.
Greater Spotted Woodpecker near Farnhani.—I saw a pair of these birds near Faruham on the 23rd of May. I believe these birds to bo rare in this part.—W. H. Legg; Farnham, Surrey, May 28, 1874.
Pratincole at the Lizard, Cornwall.—I had an opportunity yesterday of handling an adult full-plumaged bird of this species, which was captured
SECOND SERIES—VOL. IX. 2 N
near the Lizard on Monday last. There was nothing peculiar in the colour of the plumage from the general description of the adult bird by Mr. Yarrell. I may remark, however, that instead of being ten inches in length, this bird was fully ten and a half inches, the wings exceeding the tail by at least half au inch; the exterior tail-feathers taper away into almost a filament. In handling the bird in the flesh, it was quite bewildering to try to reconcile its characters to the place it ought to take in our British Avifauna; for in the character of its beak you could understand its claim to the family of swallows; we must take leave of the forked tail as a character of the swallow tribe, and allow this feature to claim its kindred to the terns, with which it has been associated; but when you look at the feet and tarsi and the naked part of the tibiae, you are at once drawn to the stints and sandpipers, with which it has been associated, and then, knowing that the bird is found on open downs and dry pastures, and that it has extraordinary cursorial powers, with a tone of plumage and mode of flight not unlike the common dotterel, you are tempted to be reconciled to the place now allotted it by our naturalists, by the side of the plovers. There is a record of the pratincole having been obtained in Cornwall once or twice many years ago; but this is the first example of a bird in the flesh coming under my notice.—Edward Hearle Rodd; Penzance, June 10, 1874.
PS.—The bird was observed, by a boy who was coot shooting, flying backwards and forwards over a large pool on the Lizard downs, exactly like the swallow tribe, and apparently hawking for insects. It alighted for a time on the margin of the pool, where it was shot. Sex male.—E. H. R.; June 16, 1874.
Note on the Toracity of a Tame Dack,—The following statement was communicated to me early in the present month (June) on what I believe to be perfectly reliable authority. A gamekeeper at Swanton Abbot, in Norfolk, lost thirteen newly-hatched pheasants, which he was bringing up under hens. They disappeared one after another without his being able to account for their loss, till at length a tame duck, which was sitting on her eggs not far off, was observed to leave her nest and make her way to the pheasant-coops, when she seized a young pheasant in her bill and swallowed it whole. The inference that she had also swallowed the thirteen pheasants which had previously disappeared seems to be a reasonable one.—J. H. Gurney; Northrepps, Norwich, June 1!2, 1874.
Iceland Cull,—I have in my collection a specimen of this rare gull in a curious state of plumage, having the legs of the adult, breast and back of the second year, while the head and bill are apparently those of the young bird. It was shot by a fisherman, some two months ago, between Hastings and Rye. He said that he had observed it, in company with another of the same kind, for two or three days before he shot it, and that he knew they were strangers by their white wiugs. Mr. Knox mentions, in the third