Imagens das páginas

ralists in different parts of the country, that the Water Pipit {Anthus spinoletta, Linnaeus, or Anthus aquaticus, Bechstein) is also an annual summer migrant to our shores. At irregular intervals, and in addition to these, we are occasionally visited by Richards' Pipit, the Tawny Pipit, the Red-throated Pipit, and the Pennsylvanian Pipit. Of the two resident species, as well as the Tree Pipit, it can scarcely be necessary to say much, for their appearance and habits, if not well known to all, are described in almost every book on British birds. After pointing out their distinguishing characters, therefore, my remarks will refer chiefly to the geographical distribution of the species.

The Pipits hold an intermediate place between the Wagtails and Larks,having the slender bill of the former, and, with one exception, the long hind claw of the latter. Like these birds, they live almost entirely on the ground, where they seek their food, build their nests, and rear their young. Low-lying meadows and marshy places, the margin of tidal harbours, and the seashore are the favourite haunts of the Pipits. In such situations, except in very hard weather, they find abundance of food, consisting chiefly of insect larva?, small beetles, flies, seeds, and minute univalve mollusca. I have almost invariably found, in addition, that the stomachs contain little particles of grit or brick, swallowed no doubt to assist in triturating the food.

The Meadow Pipit {Anthus pratensis) is the smallest as well as the commonest species to be met with, and is generally dispersed throughout the British Islands, including Orkney and Shetland. It is by no means confined to the plains or open country, but is frequently to be met with on mountain sides, sometimes at a considerable elevation. Tourists and sportsmen must doubtless have remarked this when climbing the Scotch and Irish mountains. The late Mr. Wheelwright, in Lapland, found it "very high up on the fells;" Professor Salvadori remarked it on the Apennines; and Messrs. Elwes and Buckley include it in their list of the birds of Turkey as frequenting the mountains.

In summer it is common in Scandinavia, and Mr. Wheelwright found it nesting in Lapland. It goes as far north as the Faroe Isles and Iceland.1 According to Professor Reinhardt,2 Dr. Paulsen, in Sleswick, received a single specimen from Greenland in 1845; but he adds that he (Professor R.) never saw it there himself. The Meadow Pipit appears to be generally distributed throughout Europe, and at the approach of winter emigrates in a southeasterly direction by way of Sicily and the Ionian Islands to Palestine. Lord Lilford states that it is very common in Corfu and Epirus in winter.3 Canon Tristram found it in large flocks throughout the winter in North Africa, "apparently on passage;" and in Southern Palestine and in the Plains of Sharon he remarked that it was very abundant. According to Sir R. Schomburgk, it occurs as far eastward as Siam; but Mr. Blyth considered the Siamese pratensis

1 See Professor Newton's remarks on "The Ornithology of Iceland," appended to Baring Gould's "Iceland; its Scenes and Sagas," p. 409.

2 "Ibis," 1861, p. 6. 3 "Ibis," 1860, p. 229.

to be the Red-throated Pipit {A. cervinus) in winter plumage. It is known to occur in India, however, as Mr. Hume has procured this species near Ferozpore, North-west India; and Mr. Blyth saw specimens from other parts of the Northwest provinces. The range of this bird southwards, that is through A frica, seems to be very limited. According to Mr. Saunders, it is common in Spain in winter, but it is not included in Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake's list of the birds of Morocco; and though Mr. Salvin shot a specimen at Kef Laks in the Eastern Atlas, it appears to occur in North-west Africa exceptionally. The Pipit of the Canaries, originally regarded as A. pratensis, has been described by Dr. Bolle1 as distinct, under the name of Berthelot's Pipit {Anthus Berthelotii). But Mr. Vernon Harcourt maintains—and so did the late Mr. Yarrell —that Madeiran specimens can in no degree be distinguished from specimens of A. pratensis from other parts.

1 "Ibis," 1862, pp. 343, 348; and "Journ. f. Orn." 1862, PP- 357, 360.




[Anthus obscurus.)

r I ^HIS Pipit, as already observed, is to be found on most parts of our coast throughout the year, except on that portion which extends from the Thames to the Humber, where it is only observed in spring and autumn during the period of migration. For although a resident species, inasmuch as individuals may be found on some parts of the coast throughout the year, it is also, to a certain extent, migratory, receiving a considerable accession to its numbers in spring, and a corresponding diminu

« AnteriorContinuar »