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although he has been careful in the text to describe the colour correctly.
'The tail in palustris is less rounded than in strepera; the outer tail-feather in the former being not so short as in the latter.
The measurements of the two species, taken from skins, are as follows :—
S. strepera . 5"3in. . o-5^- . 27 . o-8
The nests and eggs differ as much as do the birds themselves.
The nest of palustris is much neater and more compact, and, as regards depth, not more than half the size of that of strepera. The eggs of both are subject to variation; but, as a rule, it may be said that in those of palustris the white ground colour has little if any of the greenish or brownish tinge with which those of strepera are invariably suffused.
I have seen two nests in the collection of Mr. Bond, one containing three, and the other two eggs, taken at Whittlesford, which I have no doubt belonged to palustris.
In Badeker's work on the eggs of European birds, it is stated that the Marsh Warbler "builds in bushes, in meadows, and on the banks of ditches, rivers, ponds, and lakes. The nest is made of dry grass and straws, with panicles, and interwoven with strips of inner bark and horsehair outside. The rim is only very slightly drawn in. It has a loose substructure, and is by this and its half globular-form, suspended on dry ground between the branches of the bushes or nettles, easily distinguished from the strongly formed nest of S. strepera, which is moreover built over water.1 It lays five or six eggs the beginning of June, which have a bluish-white ground, with pale-violet and clear brown spots in the texture of the shell, and delicate dark brown spots on the surface, mingled with which are a number of black dots. The ground colour also in many fresh eggs is green, but
1 Not always, as shown above.
clear, and very different from the muddy tint of the egg of the Reed Warbler. The female sits daily for some hours; but the male takes his turn. Incubation lasts thirteen days."
It would be extremely satisfactory to establish the fact of the regular migration to this country in spring of the Marsh Warbler; and it is to be hoped that ornithologists in all parts of the kingdom will not omit to investigate the subject, and record their observations.
THE GREAT REED WARBLER.
NOT only has this fine species visited England on several occasions, but in a few instances it has been found nesting here. It has, therefore, a good claim to be introduced into the present sketch. Specimens of the bird have been obtained,once in Northumberland, and three or four times in Kent,1 and the eggs have been taken in Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire.2 The reader has only to picture to himself a bird like the Reed Wren, but twice its size, and he will have an idea of the appearance of the Great Reed Warbler. Nor does the resemblance end here. It makes a nest just like the Reed Wren, but much larger, and lays eggs similarly coloured, but larger. It is a fine species, and its loud and varied notes, when once heard, can never be forgotten. Those who have had opportunities, such as I have enjoyed, on the opposite shores of Holland, of listening to this bird will regret with me that its visits to England are not more frequent . It is possible, as suggested by Mr. Hancock in the earliest notice of its occurrence here,3 that it may be a regular summer visitant to our island; but its song is so loud and so remarkable, that I cannot think it could escape the notice of
1 Cf. Yarrell, " Hist. Brit. Birds," vol. i. pp. 300, 301.
2 Cf. "Ibis," 1865, p. 24.
3 "Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist." 1847, p. 135.
any naturalist. The species is tolerably well dispersed throughout Europe, and according to Mr. Yarrell has been found as far eastward as Bengal, Japan, and Borneo. The Eastern bird, however, would appear to be the Salicaria turdoides orientalis of the "Fauna Japonica," and distinct from the European species. See Captain Blakiston on the Ornithology of Northern Japan, "Ibis," 1862, p. 317; Mr. Swinhoe on Formosan Ornithology, "Ibis," 1863, p. 305; and the Rev. H. B. Tristram, "Ibis," 1867, p. 78, on the Ornithology of Palestine, where both forms occur.
THE RUFOUS WARBLER.
ROM its peculiar coloration this bird is not likely to be confounded with any other species. Apart from the rufous tint of the upper portion of the plumage which has suggested its English name, the tail is totally