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better light, and the aid of a field glass, I was not long in making out quite distinctly the white wing marks, which showed me that it was not the common Muscicapa grisola. I took my gun and secured what I believe to be the first specimen of Muscicapa atricapilla ever shot in Ireland. Neither Thompson in his 'Birds of Ireland,' nor Professor Newton in his new edition of 'Yarrell's British Birds,' mentions it as a visitor to Ireland, or gives any record of its capture in this island; and Mr. Harting, in his 'Handbook of British Birds,' p. 10, says it is unknown in Ireland. The specimen, an adult female, is now in the collection of the Royal Dublin Society."
To this communication the editor appended the following note :—" Although we always regret to hear of the wanton destruction of a rare bird, we must admit that circumstances sometimes occur to justify an individual capture, and we think the present instance is a case in point. By the actual possession of the bird seen, Mr. Warren has been enabled to establish beyond doubt the fact of the occurrence in Ireland of a species previously unknown there, and has thus a complete answer to any sceptic who might suggest that he may have been mistaken in his identification of it."
In England the Pied Flycatcher is a regular summer migrant, quite as much as any other of the small birds already noticed. Mr. A. G. More, in his "Notes on the Distribution of Birds in Great Britain during the Nesting Season," regards it as a very local species, and observes that the nest has occasionally been found in North Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Isle of Wight, Surrey, Oxford, Norfolk, Gloucester, Shropshire, Leicester, and Derby. To these counties I may add Middlesex (for I have known several instances of this bird nesting as near London as at Hampstead, Highgate, and Harrow) and Essex, where the species has been met with at Leytonstone. Yarrell adds Sussex, Suffolk, Yorkshire (where I also have seen it), Worcester, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Northumberland, and Durham, and
on the southern coast, Hampshire. He makes no mention of its occurrence in Wales, neither does Mr. A. G. More in his essay above mentioned. During the summer of 1871, however, several letters appeared in the natural history columns of "The Field," communicating the fact of its nesting in Breconshire, Denbighshire, and Merionethshire.1 The sites selected for the nests are usually holes in walls, ruins, and pollard trees, and the nest itself is composed of roots, grass, strips of inside bark and horsehair. The eggs, five or six in number, are of a very pale blue colour, much paler, smaller, and rounder than those of the hedge sparrow. A correspondent who has taken several nests of this bird states that he never found one containing feathers; but I think I have seen one lined with feathers which had been taken out of an old birch tree in Lapland by the late Mr. H. Wheelwright. In this lamented naturalist's entertaining book, "A Spring and Summer in
1 See "The Field" for May 27th, June 8th, and June 24th, 1871.
Lapland," he states that, although he never met with the Pied Flycatcher on the fells, it was to be found as far north as the birch region extends, and he generally found the nest in small dead birch stubbs by the riverside. Messrs. Godman met with it some way up the mountains to the north of Bodo in Norway, where the birch was also the favourite nesting tree. As it is common in most parts of Central and Southern Europe, and is found as far westward as Portugal, it is rather curious that Professor Savi should have so long overlooked its occurrence in Tuscany. Dr. Giglioli noticed it as abundant at Pisa in April, and, on recording it as new to the Tuscan avifauna, he added ("Ibis," 1865, p. 56): "When I showed the numerous specimens I had procured to Professor Savi, he was much surprised, and said that, during the forty years he had been studying the ornis of this part of Italy, he had never come across the Pied Flycatcher, which, however, abounds during the spring passage at Genoa, and all along the Riviera." It is a spring and autumn visitor in Malta; but, though, often seen in the valleys and by roadsides in the neighbourhood of trees, it is not so numerous in the island as M.grisola. Mr. O. Salvin found the Pied Flycatcher not uncommon about Souk Harras in the Eastern Atlas, and Mr. Tyrrwhitt Drake saw it during the spring migration in Tangier and Eastern Morocco. A specimen from the River Gambia is in the collection of Mr. R. B. Sharpe. Mr. J. H. Gurney, jun., during a recent tour in Algeria, encountered this amongst other familiar birds. He says (" Ibis," 1871, p. 76): "It was not until April that I saw this species, after which it became common. In the dayats and in the Gardaia, where they most abounded, the proportion of adult males in full summer plumage to young birds and females was as one to five. They looked exceedingly picturesque in the rich foliage of the oases, clinging perhaps to a rough palm stem, though their more usual perch was the upper bough of a bush, whence they would dart off after passing flies." To this 1 may add that the note frequently repeated is