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Scotland ; and Mr. Thompson remarks3 that in Ireland it has appeared occasionally in all quarters of the island.
As autumn approaches, these birds, or such of them as hare contrived to escape destruction, begin to move southwards for the .winter, and passing gradually down to the Mediterranean. are observed for some da}"s about the groves and olive gardens near the sea before they finally cross over. In this waj- the}- return to their winter haunts about the end of August or beginning of September. Throughout Southern and South-eastern Europe, as well as in Siberia and North-eastern Africa, the Hoopoe breeds commonly; but in the northern and western parts of the last-named continent it is chiefly a winter visitant. The Siberian birds, probably, and not the European ones, migrate to India and China for the cold season, and some remain to breed in both these countries. Those which have passed the summer in Europe, as already shown, spend their winter in Africa.
1 "Nat. Hist. Ireland" (Birds), voL i. p. 353.
Occasionally a Hoopoe has been observed in winter in the British Islands, but so rarely as to make the occurrence a matter of note. An instance or two of this kind in Norfolk has been noticed by Hunt in his " British Birds" (vol. ii. p. 147); and Mr. R. Gray, in his " Birds of the West of Scotland," p. 198, refers to two which were killed near Glasgow, in different years, so late as the month of October.
The late Sir William Jardine informed me that two were shot in Dumfriesshire in the winter of 1870-71.
The most perfect specimen of the Hoopoe I have ever seen is one in my collection, which was shot at the Dell, a piece of water near Whetstone, Middlesex, on the 25th April, 1852. It has no less than twenty-two crest feathers the longest two inches in length, arranged in two parallel rows, with the upper surfaces outwards, and of a pale cinnamon colour broadly tipped with black. The other portions of the plumage are equally perfect and bright in colour.
THE GOLDEN ORIOLE.
IKE the Hoopoe, the Golden Oriole makes its annual visit to the European continent from the countries south of the Mediterranean, in the month of April, and returns in September. In the interval it may be found not uncommonly in the wooded parts of Central and Southern Europe; but it is rare in the north, being seldom seen in Sweden, and unknown in Norway. In England, where it may be regarded as an irregular summer migrant, it unfortunately meets with little or no protection, for its bright colours at once attract attention, and many get shot before they have been a week on our shores. The male bird is bright yellow, with black wings and a black and yellow tail. The female is dull green, with pitch-brown wings, the upper tail coverts greenish yellow, and the under parts greyish white, longitudinally streaked with brown on the shafts of the feathers; the flanks yellow, and streaked in the same way.
My impressions on meeting with Golden Orioles for the first time in France, now many years ago, will not be easily forgotten. I wanted to see them alive, hear their notes, shoot two or three to examine them closely, and ascertain the nature of their food; and accordingly I accepted the invitation of a friend and took up my quarters at an old country house, about halfway between Paris and Orleans. On looking over my note-book for that particular year, I find the following entry, relating to the Golden Oriole :—
"Long before six in the morning I was awakened by a perfect chorus of birds—Blackcap, Nightingale, Thrush, Wood Pigeon, Chaffinch, Starling, and Magpie were all recognized; but what pleased me above all, was a beautiful mellow whistle, which I took to be that of the Golden Oriole, and in less than an hour afterwards I found that I was right in my surmise, for on walking through the woods which flank one side of the house, I had the pleasure of seeing for the first time alive several of these beautiful birds. They were very shy, and kept to the tops of the oak trees; but by proceeding cautiously I managed to get near enough to see and hear them well. Their note is really splendid, so mellow, loud, and clear—something of the Blackbird's tone about it, but yet very different; while in their mode of flight and perching they remind one of a Thrush. After a long search, I at length found a nest, placed at the extremity of a thin bough, and at the top of an oak tree, about sixty feet up. There were no branches for more than thirty feet, and it would have been almost impossible to reach it