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I have sometimes heard persons express their inability to distinguish these two species apart; but there ought to be no difficulty in the matter. The Sedge Warbler has a variegated back, with a conspicuous light streak over the eye; the Reed Warbler has a uniform palebrown back, and the superciliary streak very faint. The actions of the two birds are not unlike, but their nesting habits are very different. S. phragmitis builds on the ground or very near it, making a nest of moss and grass, lined with horsehair, and laying five or six eggs of a yellowish-brown colour, with a few scattered spots or lines of a darker colour at the larger end. S. strepera suspends its nest between reed stems or twigs, round which a great portion of the nest is woven, and the entire structure is much larger, deeper, and more cup-shaped. The materials are long grasses, flowering reed-heads, and wool, the lining being composed of fine grass and hair. The eggs, five or six in number, are greenish-white speckled with ash-green and pale-brown. The habit which the Reed Warbier has of occasionally nesting at a distance from water is now probably well known to ornithologists. It was noticed by Mr. R. Mitford in the " Zoologist" for 1864 (p. 9109), and subsequently by the writer, in "The Birds of Middlesex," 1866 (p. 47), and by the author of "The Birds of Berks and Bucks," 1868 (p. 81). Mr. B. Hamilton Booth, of Malton, Yorkshire, communicated the fact of his having discovered a nest of the Reed Warbler in a yew tree, built so as to include three or four twigs as if they were reeds, and placed at a height of at least twelve or fourteen feet from the ground. He accounted for the nest being built at such a height, and in a tree, on the supposition that the first nest had been destroyed by the rats which infest the place, and the birds had taken a precaution for future safety.
THE GRASSHOPPER WARBLER.
"I "H E third species of this genus which is -*- a regular summer migrant to this country is the Grasshopper Warbler, so called from its peculiar sibilant note. In its general appearance it is most like the Sedge Warbler, but is larger in every- way, and has the upper part of the plumage more variegated, no superciliary streak, and the throat minutely spotted. This last feature, however, is peculiar to the male. In habits, haunts, and in the character of its nest and eggs, the Grasshopper Warbler differs entirely from the two species above mentioned. It delights in a dense undergrowth or thick hedge-bottom, where it creeps about more like a mouse than a bird, and is extremely difficult to catch sight of, pausing at intervals to seize an insect or to give forth its remarkable note. Its well-made and compact nest, so different from the slovenly structure of the Sedge Warbler, is placed upon the ground, and carefully concealed. The eggs, five or six in number, are amongst the most beautiful of small birds' eggs. When blown they are white, minutely freckled over with brownish-red; but before the yolk has been expelled they are suffused with a delicate rosy tint, which afterwards unfortunately disappears. The Grasshopper Warbler is a regular summer visitant to Ireland, and is also found in the south of Scotland. Its retiring habits probably cause it to be overlooked, and were it not for its loud note it would doubtless often escape notice altogether. It does not appear to be anywhere a numerous species, and its geographical distribution has not been yet clearly defined. It is observed in Southern Europe at the periods of migration, and we may therefore presume that it accompanies its congeners and other small summer migrants to North Africa, Asia Minor, and Palestine.
~T) EFORE the fens were drained, it is said -*-^ that the rarer species, Savi's Warbler, was not uncommon in the eastern counties of England. The fen-men used to distinguish it from the Grasshopper Warbler by its note, calling the commoner species "the reeler," the other "the night reeler," from the resemblance of its note to the whirr of the reel used by the wool-spinners. In Norfolk, according to Mr. Stevenson, it appears to have been known to the marsh-men as "the red craking reed-wren." The fens of Baitsbight, Burwell, and Whittlesea