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Extracted from the Papers of the Late Rev. Gilbert White, M.A., of Selborne, Hampshire, Senior Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford.


The Rev. Mr. White so agreeably known to the public by his Natural History of Selborne, left behind him a series of yearly books, containing his diurnal observations on the occurrences in the various walks of rural nature, from the year 1768 to the time of his death in 1793. From these annals he had already extracted all the matter comprised in the work above mentioned, down to the middle of 1787 ; but several curious facts in the preceding numbers had not been thus employed; and all the subsequent ones remained untouched. It was thought a mark of respect due to his memory, and to the reputation he had acquired as a faithful and elegant observer, not to consign these relics to neglect. The manuscripts were accordingly put into my hands for the purpose of selecting from them what might seem worthy of laying before the public. The present small publication is the fruit of my research. With no small pains I collected the materials of it, dispersed through the records of so many years, and gave them such an arrangement as I thought would present them in the most agreeable and useful manner to the lovers of natural knowledge.


London, Jan. I, 1795.

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The mode in which the following rural calendar of the year has been composed, was to copy out from the journals all the circumstances thought worthy of noting, with the several dates of their recurrence, and to preserve the earliest and latest of these dates, so that the calendar exhibits the extreme range of variation in the first occurrence of all the phenomena mentioned. To many of them only one date is annexed, only one observation having been entered. This is particularly the case with respect to the flowering of plants, with which the book of 1768 alone was copiously filled, and it is to be noted that this was rather a backward year.

Of the abbreviations used,y?. signifies flowering; /. leafing; and ap. the first appearance.


Jan. 1-12 Redbreast whistles.

1-18 Larks congregate.

1-14 Nuthatch chatters.

1. Feb. 18 Winter aconite fl.

2 Shelless snail or slug ap.
2-11 Grey and white wagtail ap.
2-14 Missel thrush sings.

2. Feb. 14 Helleborus foetidus (bearsfoot) fl.
2. April 12 Polyanthus fl.

2. Feb. 1 Double daisy fl.

3. Feb. 16 Mezereon fl.

3 Viola tricolor (pansie) fl.

3-21 Lamium rubrum (red dead-nettle) fl. 3-15 Senecio vulg. (groundsel) fl.

3. Feb. 28 Hazel calkins open.

4. Feb. 18 Hepatica fl.

5-12 Hedge sparrow whistles.

5. Feb. 3 Flies in windows.

6. Feb. 6. Large titmouse makes its spring note. 6-22 Song thrush or throstle sings.

6 Insects swarm under sunny hedges.

6. April 7 Primula vulga. (primrose) fl.

6. Mar. 19 Bees come out of their hives.

6. Feb. 3 Gnats play about.

6-11 Hen chaffinches flock.

8. Feb. 1 Ulex europ. (gorse) fl.

8. April 1 Cheiranthus cheiri (wall-flower) fl.

8-12 Stocks fl.

9 Emberiza alba (bunting) in great flocks.

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