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cap like the females. In our race of Blackcap the diversity of the sexes is very noticeable, even in nestlings.”
Captain Beavan, in the article before referred to, says: “Specimens of the Orphean Warbler, procured on the 22nd of October, had no trace whatever of a black head, and were considered by Colonel Tytler to be the young of the year; but in my opinion the state of the plumage was not sufficiently juvenile; and I think that the old birds adopt a different colouring according to the time of year, probably putting on the black head as the breeding season approaches.” To this observation the editor of the “ Ibis" appended the following note: “That this view of the case is correct there is probably little doubt (cf. Von der Mühle, “Monogr. Europ. Sylv.,' p. 48).”
From these observations it was surmised that the same might be the case with the Blackcap.
To those who are unacquainted with the
1 bird, the Garden Warbler may be best described as equal in size to the female Blackcap, resembling it in colour without the chestnut crown, having the belly pure white instead of greyish white, and the legs lighter in colour. It appears much later than the Blackcap, seldom arriving before the end of April. Both sexes are alike in outward appearance; but it has been ascertained, by careful observers who have dis
sected the birds, that the males invariably arrive in this country before the females. Pennant, Montagu, and other old authors, called this bird the Greater Pettychaps, while they bestowed the name of Lesser Pettychaps—presumably from its resemblance in miniature--upon the Chiffchaff.
Throughout England the Garden Warbler appears to be pretty generally distributed. Mr. A. G. More, however, in his essay on the Distribution of Birds in Great Britain during the nesting season (“ Ibis,” 1865, p. 25), speaks of it as scarce in Cornwall and Pembrokeshire, and absent from Wales. Mr. Rodd, on the other hand, characterizes the Garden Warbler as a summer visitant to East Cornwall, and says it “ breeds annually in the woods at Trebartha, in North Hill, from whence specimens of its nest and eggs have been received."1 He adds also that it has once been met with near Penzance ; and that in the autumn of 1849 several speci
1 See“ List of British Birds, as a Guide to the Ornithology of Cornwall,” 2nd edition, 1869, p. 15.
mens were obtained from Scilly. Dr. Bullmore, in his “Cornish Fauna” (p. 17), confirms Mr. Rodd's statement that it is a summer visitant to East Cornwall.
It will be remarkable if this bird is not found to be common in some parts of Wales, since it not only occurs in Ireland, but is not nearly so scarce there as the observations of Mr. Thompson would lead us to suppose. In his “Natural History of Ireland” (Birds, vol. i. p. 185), this naturalist refers to the Garden Warbler as extremely rare in Ireland, and notices its occurrence only in the counties of Cork and Tipperary. If I mistake not, Mr. Blake-Knox has met with it in the county of Dublin ; I have myself observed it in Wicklow; and Sir Victor Brooke has lately assured me that in the county of Fermanagh, about Lough Erne, it is common in summer, and nests regularly in the neighbourhood of Castle Caldwell, to the northwest of that county. In the same neighbourhood, he added, the Blackcap is unknown. When we remember the number of naturalists with whom Mr. Thompson was in correspondence in all parts of Ireland, it is singular that so few of them should have been able to report the presence of this bird in their respective districts. I have already referred to the changes which have taken place in the local distribution of many species of birds within the last twenty or thirty years, and there is no reason for doubting that the statements published by Mr. Thompson in 1849, and the observations of naturalists of the present day, are both perfectly correct, and that the Garden Warbler, like many other birds, is now common in localities where formerly it was unknown. The number of resident naturalists in Wales is very small as compared with England; nevertheless, it is to be hoped that those who have the opportunity will examine into the truth of the alleged absence from Wales of this bird, and publish the result of their investigations.