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As to the falco, which I mentioned in town, 1 shall tako the liberty to send it down to you into Wales; presuming on your candour, that
will excuse me if it should appear as familiar to you as it is strange to me. Though mutilated, "qualem dices ... antehac fuisse, tales cum sint reliquiæ !”
what would you say it was before, when such are the remains ?"
It haunted a marshy-piece of ground in quest of wild ducks and snipes; but, wher it was shot, had just knocked down a rook, which it was tearing in pieces. I cannot make it answer to
any of our English hawks ; neither could I find any like it at the curious exhibition of stuffed birds in Spring Gardens. I found it nailed up at the end of a barn, which is the countryman's museum.
The parish'I live in is a very abrupt uneven country, full of hills and woods, and therefore full of birds.
TO THE SAME.
SELBORNE, September 9, 1767 It will not be without impatience that I shall wait for your thoughts with regard to the falco; as to its weight, breadth, &c., I wish I had set them down at the time; but, to the best of my remembrance, it weighed two pounds and eight ounces, and measured, from wing to wing, thirty-eight inches. Its cere and feet were yellow, and the circle of its eyelids a bright yellow. As it had been killed some days, and the eyes were sunk, I could make no good observation on the colour of the pupils and the irides.
The most unusual birds I ever observed in these parts were a pair of hoopoes, (upupa,)* which came several years ago in the summer, and frequented an ornamental piece of
* A pair of hoopoes have bred for many years in an old ash tree, on the grounds of a lady in Sussex near Chichester. Numbers of them are sold in the markets in Paris.-ED.
ground, which joins to my garden, for some weeks. They used to march about in a stately marner, feeding in the
times in the day; and seemed disposed to breed in my outlet; but were frightened and persecuted by idle boys, who would never let them at rest.*
Three grossbeaks (loxia coccothraustes) appeared some years ago in my fields, in the winter; one of which I shot. Since that, now and then, one is occasionally seen in the same dead season.t
A crossbill (loxia curvirostra) was killed last year in this neighbourhood.
Our streams, which are small, and rise only at the end of
* Specimens have been killed at different times in this country, and instances are even recorded of their having even bred; the species, however, can only be placed among our occasional visitants. The specimen from which the figure in Mr. Selby's elegant Illustrations of British Ornithology was drawn, was taken on the coast, near Bamborough Castle, Northumberland. Colonel Montague mentions a pair that began a nest in Hampshire, and Dr. Latham records a young hoopoe shot in the month of June. The species is abundantly met with in the south of Europe ; it also occurs in Holland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. In the winter it retires to Asia or Africa, where it is also a permanent resident.-W.J.
One specimen was shot in the county of Dublin, and another in the county of Tipperary, in 1828. Loudon's Magazine.-W.J.
+ This also can only be placed as an occasional visitant, appearing most frequently in the southern counties of England, during hard and stormy winters. Mr. White (as we learn from the Naturalist's Calendar and Miscellaneous Observations, published in a separate volume, since the author's decease, by Dr. Aikin, and to which we shall occasionally refer) met with this species at different times, and found it feeding on the stones of damson plums, that still remained on and about the trees in his garden. This species forms the type of the genus coccothraustes.—“On the 14th May, 1828, the nest of a hawfinch was taken in an orchard belonging to Mr. Waring, at Chelsfield, Kent. The old female was shot on the nest, which was of a slovenly loose form, and shallow, not being so deep as those of the greenfinch or linnet, and was placed against the large bough of an appletree, about ten feet from the ground. It was composed externally of dead twigs and a few roots, mixed with coarse white moss, or lichen, and lined with horse-hair and a little fine dried grass. The eggs were five in number, about the size of a skylark's, but shorter and rounder, and spotted with bluish ash and olive brown, some of the spots inclining to dusky or brackish brown. The markings were variously distributed on the different eggs." J. C. Loudon, Jour. of Nat. Hist.-W.J.
They are by no uncommon birds in this country. Many of them breed among the Hörn-beam pollards in Epping and Walthaid Forests.- ED.
the vilage, yield nothing but the bull's head, or miller's thumb (gobius fluviatilis capitatus), * the trout (trutta fluviatilis), the eel" (anguilla),f the lampern (lampætra parva et fluviatilis), ard the stickle-back (pisciculus aculeatus). I
We are twenty miles from the sea, and almost as many from a great river, and therefore see but little of sea birds. As to wild fowls, we have a few teams of ducks bred in the moors where the snipes breed ; and multitudes of widgeons and teals, in hard weather, frequent our lakes in the forest.
Having some acquaintance with a tame brown owl, I find that it casts up the fur of mice and the feathers of birds in pellets, after the manner of hawks: when full, like a dog, it hides what it cannot eat.
The young of the barn-owl are not easily raised, as they want a constant supply of fresh mice; whereas the young of the brown owl will eat indiscriminately all that is brought; snails, rats, kittens, puppies, magpies, and any kind of carrion or offal.
The house-martins have eggs still, and squab young. The last swift I observed was about the 21st of August: it was a straggler.
Redstarts, fly-catchers, white-throats, and reguli non cristati, still appear; but I have seen no black-caps lately.
I forgot to mention, that I once saw in Christ Church College quadrangle, in Oxford, on a very sunny warm morning, a house-martin flying about and settling on the parapet, so late as the 20th of November.
• The miller's thumb is found in nearly every river and brook in England. It harbours under stones, which the flatness of its head enables it to do.-Ed.
+ Mr. Yarrel, a most accurate and observant naturalist, in a number of the Zoological Journal, hints at the possibility of two species of eels being natives of this country. In this I certainly think Mr. Yarrel correct, their similarity rendering them easily confused. The species with which the London markets are supplied from Holland, may also be discovered, as our researches in the ichthyology of Great Britain, so long comparatively neglected, become more frequent. The grig of Pennant, which seems to be Mr. Yarrel's second species, appears in the Thames, at Oxford, at a different season from the common eel.-W.J.
There are three species of Eels in our fresh waters—the sharp and tho broad-nosed cels and the Snig, which the editor had the pleasure of introducing to the notice of his friend, Mr. Yarrell.--Ed.
# There are six distinct kir ds of sticklebacks.-ED.