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trunk. Happily, in this case there was no need to reach it, and the finder was enabled to ascertain when the young were hatched by sending a man up the tree high enough to look into the nest without disturbing it. A few days before his first ascent there had been a strong wind blowing for some time, and the slender branch was swayed to and fro to such an extent that, notwithstanding the depth of the saucer-like nest, one of the eggs was jerked out upon the grass below and broken, though not irreparably so. When I saw it, it was in two pieces, but unmistakably the egg of an oriole—in size equal to that of a blackbird, but shining white, with black or rather dark claret-coloured spots at the larger end. It has been carefully preserved by Mr. Tomlin.
As long as his man remained in the tree the hen bird continued to fly round, uttering at intervals a loud flute-like note, and occasionally making a curious noise, such as a cat makes when angry.
It is, perhaps, scarcely necessary to remark that, as regards situation, form, and the materials of which it was composed, the nest did not differ from those which one is accustomed to see upon the Continent. Invariably placed in, and suspended under, the fork of a horizontal bough, the sides of the nest are firmly bound to each branch of the fork with blades of dry grasses and fibrous roots. There is generally a good deal of sheep's wool in the nest itself, which, taken in connection with its peculiar shape, gives it a very singular and unique appearance.
On the 12th of July as we approached the nest in question, the hen bird was sitting, but left as we advanced, and perched in a neighbouring elm, whence at intervals she uttered the peculiar noise to which I have referred. Not wishing to keep her too long from her young, we left the spot iu about ten minutes, after carefully inspecting the nest with a binocular. .Returning again in half an hour, and a third time two or three hours later, we saw the hen on each occasion quit the nest and take up her position as before at a little distance. Once only did 1 catch a glimpse of her more brightly coloured mate as he darted between two trees. He was very shy, and silent too, being seldom heard except very early in the morning or at twilight. This, however, is the case with most song birds after the young are hatched, for they are then so busy providing food for the little mouths that they have scarcely time to sit and sing. Mr. Tomlin, who had other and better opportunities for observing him, gave me to understand that he was not in the fully adult plumage, so that it seems the males of this species breed before they have assumed their beautiful black and yellow colours.
On the 22nd of July the man again ascended the tree and peeped into the nest. The young had flown, but were subsequently discovered sitting about in the park with the old birds. As soon as the nest was no longer wanted, Mr. Tomlin had the branch which supported it cut off, and, writing to me on the subject the following day, he observed, that "upon examining the nest we found the corners tightly bound with long pieces of matting. One would almost imagine that a basket-maker had been at work."
Both the old and young birds continued to haunt the park until the 1st of August, after which date they were no longer seen. The young were, however, well feathered by that time, and able to take care of themselves. Let us hope that they contrived to escape the eyes of prowling gunners beyond the park, and that they will return again next spring to gladden the eyes and ears of their kind protector.
It is much to be wished that other proprietors would follow the good example thus set by Mr. Bankes Tomlin. Could they be induced to do so, they would become acquainted with many beautiful birds which visit us from the Continent every spring, and which would in most cases rear their young here if allowed to remain unmolested. Apart from the gratification to be derived from seeing these brightly coloured birds within view of the windows, and hearing their mellow flute-like notes, they would be found to be most useful allies to the gardener in ridding the trees of caterpillars, which they devour greedily, and keeping many other noxious insects in check.
As some of my readers may naturally ask the question, where do the golden orioles come from, and where do they go, or such of them as escape destruction, on leaving this country? I may anticipate them by observing that these birds make their annual visit to the European continent from the countries south of the Mediterranean in the month of April, and return in September. It is at the end of April or beginning of May that specimens are usually obtained on our southern coast; and from those that pass over France and Germany in a north-west direction an example is occasionally procured in the maritime counties of our eastern coast.
Those who may desire a little more information as regards the geographical distribution of this handsome species, cannot do better than turn to the account which is given of it in Professor Newton's edition of 'Yarrell's British Birds' (vol. i. pp. 233, 240)—to which account, it will be seen, I have already referred.
Correction of an Error. — I think you have done some injustice to Mr. Yarrell in the last number of the 'Zoologist,' which I am sure you will be glad to correct. Quoting (S. S. 4174) a passage from the revised edition of his book, you say:—" This, however, seems little more than a copy of Macgillivray." Now the passage in question first appeared in May, 1838 ('British Birds,' 1st edition, part vi. vol. i. p. 256), while Macgillivray's account, from which you say it seems to have been copied, was not published until 1839. The slight alteration made by myself in the passage for the revised edition has no bearing on the question of originality, and therefore I need not further refer to it.—Alfred Newton; Bloxworth, Blandford, October 2, 1874.
[I extremely regret the mistake, but it seems a very natural one, as the first edition of Yarrell is dated 1843. T trust the publication of Professor Newton's note, for which I am much obliged, will remedy any misapprehension which my observation might have caused.—Edward Xewman.]
Hairy-armed Bat in County Dublin.—I am enabled to add the County Dublin to the three counties recorded in the 'Zoologist' for July, as a habitat of the hairy-armed bat, having shot a specimen near Glasnevin on the 30th of July last.—J. Douglas Ogilby; II, Mark Street, Portrush.
Lesser Shrews and Bank Voles.—I know not if lesser shrews and bank voles are rare enough to interest you. I obtained four bank voles, one field vole, and one lesser shrew this summer, all in Sparham. Of three bank voles caught in a pitfall, two were immature specimens, taken on the 29th of July and 8th of August respectively; the third specimen, a savage old male, caught on the 13 th of August, refused to give up his right to a laburnum seed, fought for it, and followed, squeaking, the hand that took it: this specimen was larger and still more ferruginous than the two immature specimens. An old female bank vole containing five young, brought by a cat on the 20th of August, was larger and redder than the old male; ear six lines long and six broad, the whitish fringe at the back of the ear not quite so conspicuous as in the other three specimens; base of tail covered with long hair like that of the body. Common shrews, longtailed field mice and field vole, frogs, &c., were also- caught in the pitfall. A lesser shrew was caught on the heath on the 14th of June. On the road between Cromer and Felbrigge I saw what I believe to be an oared shrew and a lesser shrew, but was unable to catch either.—Frank Norgate; Norwich, October 10, 1874.
Birds in Guernsey.—A female hoopoe, shot near Ronseval Vale parish, was brought to me on the 26th of September, and on the 28th a snow bunting, a female, shot in the new road at Cobo, of which last-named I have only seen this one, for they are remarkably scarce with us this season. Our "close time" expired on the 1st of October, and on the 5th a curlew sandpiper and a common sandpiper, shot near Richmond Barracks, were brought to me—the first specimen of the last-named species I have had since I have been here. On the 7th a pair of gray phalaropes, male and female, were shot off the Sallerie Battery: during the siege of Paris there were a great number about with us, but since then I have not seen any but these two, now in my possession. We have had a few terns about, but they were so wild that there was no getting at them, and they have since all left us. Flocks of geese have passed from north to south-west, but I have not heard of any being shot. I took out of the throat of a young herring gull, shot early on the morning of Thursday last, a great part of a missel thrush; the head and beak, whole, severed from the neck close to the skull; the neck, the heart and entrails, and the flesh off the breast, but no 6kin or bones, except the skull and neck. The gull had apparently torn off the skin, rejecting the breast-bone, back, wings and legs. I found a few tail and wing-feathers of the thrush with the parts eaten. A very small pipe-fish was in its mouth when shot.—James Couch; 7, College Street, Guernsey, October 19, 187 4.
Honey Buzzard in Cheshire.—I was taking a walk near Bowdon on the evening of the 27th of May, 1872, when I heard a shot close to where I was, and on looking round I saw a keeper picking up a bird, which turned out to be a magnificent specimen of the honey buzzard. It was a male, and possessed the beautiful gray tinge on the head which Mr. Gould says, in his ' Birds of Britain,' always distinguishes the adult examples of this bird. He had evidently been feeding on a nest of young song thrushes, and having a "regular worry," for the feathers of the forehead contained a number of fragments of the egg of this bird, and on dissection I found he had swallowed two young ones. The sternum appeared to me very small for so large a bird. The locality was particularly suitable for the nesting of this bird, being thickly wooded with a number of fine beech trees, but though I kept a sharp look out all the summer I did not see anything of a female.—Francis Nicholson; Chesham Place, Bowdon, Cheshire.
SECOND BEBIES—VOL. VS.. 3 K
Orangelegged Hobby in Cheshire.—In May, 1873, a very fine orangelegged hobby was shot at Styal, near Wilmslow, by the keeper of Mr. Robert Hyde Greg. It was a female, and in very fine plumage. Though from the time of the year it would seem likely to be in the neighbourhood for nesting purposes, nothing was seen of a male bird.—Francis Nicholson.
Autumnal Song of the Chiffchaff.—In the ' Zoologist' for October (S. S. 4199) Mr. Whitaker mentions having heard a chiffchaff singing on the 11th of September, and expresses his surprise at the circumstance. In the neighbourhood of Plymouth, where the bird is remarkably common, I have on two occasions heard its song so late as the first week in October, on the 3rd and 5th, and another entry in a note-book gives September 30th as the last time on which it was heard for the year. I believe it to be one of the latest of our summer migrants to leave us, and know it to be no unusual thing for it to give utterance to a weak song when moving towards the coast. I have noticed the same habit in its congener, the willow wren. May not these tuneful individuals be young male birds of the year?—T. R. Archer Briggs; 4, Portland Villas, Plymouth, October 6, 1874.
Chaffinch Nesting in Confinement.—I keep most of our English seedeating birds in a large open-air aviary, and have been very successful in inducing nearly all of them to breed, with the exception of the chaffinch, until this year, when a pair built a nest, laid eggs and brought forth young. None of my friends who have similar aviaries have had the chaffinch paired, though they have occasionally crossed with other species. When in London I asked tfne of the keepers at the Zoological Gardens whether he remembered a similar instance, and I found that was not the case, though he did not know why such should not occur. I should like to learn if other people's experience is the same as mine.—Francis Nicholson.
[I shall be exceedingly glad to receive communications on the subject of birds either nesting or living in confinement; the nesting of our birds and the state of their young on leaving the egg are subjects now happily obtaining more attention than formerly, and should the proposed enactment against birdsnesting ever become law, our only opportunity of really studying the economy of our birds must be when they are caged.—Edward Newman.]
Cuckoo singing at Night.—This is a very common occurrence; in fact, the cuckoos here are a perfect nuisance, they make such a noise all night long, but especially about midnight. In Hampshire also they were very troublesome this year, beginning their cuckooing long before dawn, and between them and the nightingales it was difficult to get any sleep at all. I have often heard a blackbird singing at eleven o'clock -at night.—C. B. Carey; Candie, Guernsey, October 22, 1874.
White Swallow in Nottinghamshire.—On the 4th of this month I shot a swallow in abnormal plumage. The bird was flying about with a number