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Alock whose appearance, both to the north and south of this county, has been already recorded in the ' Field' and other journals.
Skuas.-About the same time with the little storm petrels, we have had a somewhat unusual influx of skua-gulls, and those chiefly of the rarer kinds. The appearance of these birds, however, may be accounted for indirectly by the extraordinary abundance of herrings off the coast, the parasitic gulls following in the wake of others, at this season, wherever food is more particularly abundant. On the 4th of October a very fine adult male of Buffon's skua and a young bird of the year were shot at Salthouse,* and a second old bird with a young one were seen at the same time. The adult specimen resembles the birds figured by Mr. Gould, in his 'Birds of Great Britain,' haring the bright yellow linge on the sides of the neck; but unfortunately one of the long tail-feathers was shot away and the remaining one is shortened by an inch or two. Singularly enough, another adult bird of this species, killed on Yarmouth beach, about the same date, is similarly injured. In the stomach of the old bird from Salihouse were a few fragments of feathers, apparently taken from its own breast, but no food of any kind, and with the exception of one small beetle, entire, the stomach of the young one was equally empty. On the 4th, as I learn from Mr. Wilson, of Lynn, a female Richardson's skua, apparently, by his description, in immature plumage, was shot on the river-bank near Lynn; and on the 12th, as recorded in ‘Land and Water,' an adult male of Buffon's skua was shot by Mr. Dugmore's gamekeeper, at Beachamwell, on land which was formerly warren, and more than a mile from any water. On the 12th also an immature pomarine skua was killed at Yarmouth, the under parts becoming gradually white, and the tail-feathers projecting nearly three inches; and on the 17th a still younger bird of this species, in its first plumage, was shot near Acles Bridge, on the Bure. Besides these I have heard of another Buffon's skua shot at Blakeney about the 20th of September.
Lillle Auk.-A few storm-driven birds of this species occurred, in different localities, about the same time as the petrels. On the 11th of October I was shown one which had been picked up dead, a few days before, some miles from the coast, and Mr. H. M. Upcher informs me that he received one, on the 5th, which had been picked up in a small running stream at Lower Sherringham, where another was seen but not taken.
* These were stuffed for a gentleman residing at Beeston Regis, but not killed lbere, as slated by Mr. Guvn (Zool. S. S. 992).
Gray Phalarope.- I have heard of three specimens procured in this county during the present month, of which the first was shot on a pond at North Wootton, on the 5th of October, and with a male killed in the marshes near Lynn, on the 11th, is being preserved by Mr. Wilson for the Lynn Museum. The first was in poor condition, and the other very fat. On the 10th a very plump specimen was sent to Norwich for preservation, which had been killed on the previous day at Beeston, near Cromer. This bird, both on the throat and upper parts of the plumage, still shows traces of its summer plumage.
Cormorant.-An immature bird, also purchased for the Lynn Museum, was shot below the Lyon Estuary, on the 12th of October,
HENRY STEVENSON. Norwich, October 24, 1867.
India-rubber Boat.-If any of your readers could kindly give me some information regarding the following I should be exceedingly obliged:- I wish to know where and from whom I could purchase, new or second hand, or borrow, an India-rubber boat, to hold one person, or what would be a good substitute for such ? Could a good substitute be made of sheepskin, and if so by whom and at what cost? The use I would put it lo would be not so much in a piscatorial point of view as for the purpose of birdsnesting on remote Highland lochs, and I should require that it could be carried either in a large game-bag or strapped on to a fishing-basket. The expense of an ordinary India-rubber boat is too great £15, 1 think.-John A. Harvie Brown ; Dunipace House, Falkirk, Stirlingshire,
Ornithology of Berks and Bucks.-48 I am at present engaged in a little work upon the birds of these two counties, I should be very much obliged to any gentlemen who are cognizant of the occurrence of rare species in either county, if they would kindly send notices thereof to me. Any facts connected with the Ornithology of these counties, however trivial, will be gratefully received.-(Address to) Alexander ClarkKennedy; Eton, Bucks.
Autumnal Migration at Scilly.The shooting party at Scilly up to the present time report the arrival of only a few scattered woodcocks—no decided light; the same remark applies to the Land's End district. In the last week my nephew reports that he saw a large number of black redstarts, mostly in the gray state of plumage, only one or two in the black plumage. Bramble finches bad also made their appearance, and also stock doves and a Sclavonian grebe (P. cornulus).- Edward Hearle Rodd; Penzance, Nov. 4, 1867.
Bluethroated Warbler off the Norfolk Coast.— I write to inform you of the occur. rence of the bluethroated warbler (Phænicura suecica) off the coast of Norfolk. While coming from Christiana to London by the S. S. “North Star," we had observed many birds performing their autumnal migration. The wheatear, titlark and ring dotlerel had been seen in mid-ocean flying easily against a light S.W. breeze, The numbers of these migrauts increased as, on the 1st of September, we approached the Norfolk coast, many of them, as the weather was thick, settling on the ship. Among these was a bird which we took at first to be a redstart, as it sat up in the crosstrees, but which, on taking a short fight to the rail of the companion-ladder, was seen to be a bluethroated warbler, a bird of the year, with the blue feathers of the horseshoe intermingled with brown, in the same state of plumage as many procured two years before in the marsh at Fogstuen, on the Dovre Fjeld. We watched it some time, until it flew off in the direction of Aldeburgh, distant tben about twelve miles, where we will hope it found a congenial abode, if indeed it ever reached land in the face of the fresh breeze which just then sprung up.-J. R. Griffith ; Oxford.
Swallows and Martins dying from Cold.—Having just read Mr. Moor's note in the November number of the Zoologist' (S.S. 990), I beg to inform him that I picked up a martin in our garden at Aldeburgh, Suffolk, upon the 24th of September last: one of the servants first saw a bird—a swallow as he thought—Ay down and settle upon a young shrub; he then called me to look at it, but by the time I arrived at the spot the bird had fallen from his perch and was lying dead underneath it. I examined this bird, and found it to have died from starvation or cold, probably both. On the 16th or 17th instant I found another martin, which had also perished from cold, close to Darsham House, near Saxmundbam, in Suffolk. I observed that many swallows and martins flew with great difficulty about this time (Sept. 20th): I heard of several others being picked up near Darsham, all of which undoubtedly perished from want of food and the effects of cold weather. - Alexander Clark-Kennedy; Elon, Bucks, November 1, 1867.
Dates of the Departure of Immigrants for 1867.—The following are the days upon which the bird wamed was last seen in the county of Buckinghamshire :Swallow
October 20. Lesser Whitethroat September 20. Common Martin 19. Spotted Flycatcher
30. Sand Martin September 27. Wryneck.
October 3. Swift
6. Reed Warbler September 16. Cuckoo October 18. Yellow Wagtail .
29. Redbacked Shrike September 27. Sedge Warbler (about)
20. Nightingale 20. Garden Warbler (about)
20. Willow Wren
October 7. Chiffcbaff. 17. Redwing (first seen)
26. Blackcap 18. Fieldfare
I did not take all these observations myself, but I can rely on most of them.-A. Clark Kennedy.
Swallows at Salford. If you think it of sufficient interest I wish you would mention, in your records of the “ ways of the feathered tribe,” that our swallows did not leave here in mass till the 25th of October, and that six were disporting about on the 4th of November, and one poor straggler on the 6th, a fine sunny day followed by a sharp frost: I fear the last never got away.- John Plant ; Peel Park, Salford.
Reparation of a maimed Beak in the Chough.—The following curious circumstance has been communicated to me by an observer in whose accuracy I have the most entire confidence: In the course of last year a tame chough“ bruke at least half an inch off the upper mandible” of its beak, which after a time" commenced growing again and
is now as perfect as ever.” My informant unfortunately did not notice the exact dates of the fracture and its reparation, but I bave quoted his words in reference to the occurrence, which may be fully relied 01.-J. H. Gurney.
Magpie with Yellow Beak.-With reference to the occurrence, in Scotland, of a magpie with a yellow beak, recorded in a former number of the .Zoologist,' it may be interesting to your readers to be made acquainted with the following:-One day last July while walking with a friend in the neighbourhood of Buckfastleigh, we saw in a bedge-row before us a magpie busily employed searching for food. On approaching the bird it did not exhibit those symptons of alarm which are generally common to the species, but on the contrary continued grubbing about in a very unconcerned manner. This appearing unusual (as it is a notorious fact that the magpie is one of our most wary birds) I paid inore attention to it than I should otherwise have done. We still continued to advance, and it was not until we were about twenty yards from the bird that it imagined it time to be off. It then walked deliberately into the middle of the road before taking wing. While bere it was in the full glare of the sun, and I then observed, lo my astonishment, that it possessed a bill of a bright lemon colour at the base, but of a darker hue towards the top. I uttered an exclamation of surprise, and called my companion's attention to it, and he agreed with me that he had never seen or heard of a magpie with a beak 80 coloured. Now comes the question, how are we to account for this colouring? Not to its egg-loving propensities as suggested by Mr. Beckwith, as this bird's beak was of a much lighter tint than it would have been bad it been stained with the yelk of an egg; besides, I was close enough to observe that the beak was perfectly smooth and had a very apparent gloss, which it would not have had bad the bird been feeding on egg, as in that case it would have been of a dull gamboge colour and destitute of gloss. I do not imagine for a moment that this bird was any other than our common species, as in every other particular it was identical with P. caudata. The only conclusion I can arrive at to account for this abnormal appearance is that the bird was affected with some disease of the organs which secrete the horny matter of the beak, and in this, as in other cases, may be attributable to the extreme old age of the bird.-G. F. Mathew.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker near Windsor.-On the 22nd of October an adult inale of this species was shot in Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire. The red upon the crown of the head was very bright: I saw it in the possession of Mr. Ferryman, of Datchet, who was preserving it for the person who shot il.-A. Clark-Kennedy.
The Gray Phalarope in Norfolk.-On the 9th of October an adult female specimen, in the autumnal change of plumage, was shot at Beeston, near Cromer, and passed into my hands for preservation: its stomach contained the fragments of some minute shells and the remains of some small shrimps, including two quite entire. Two other specimens were also obtained about the same time, one at Lyon, and the other at Elmham.-T. E. Gunn ; 21, Regent Street, Norwich.
Peacock with White Wings.-I saw a peacock to-day that had six or seven of the primary quill-feathers and about the same number of the secondaries of each wing of a pure while. Is this variation at all an unusual occurrence in this species ?-Id.
Early appearance of Jack Snipe.-While shouting on the marshes near Raivham, Kent, on the morning of the 23rd of September last, I was surprised at finding a couple of jack snipe. This is, I think, unusually early, as I have not before noticed them till the second week in October. They were apparently both adult birds, with their plumage rather shabby. The weather at the time was comparatively mild, with a fresh breeze and rain from the south-west.-W. H. Power ; Victoria Park Hospital, October 21, 1867.
Great Snipe and other Rare Birds near Brighton.- A fine specimen of the solitary or great snipe (Scolopax major), which was shot near Lewes, was brought me on Wednesday, October 16th: I took the bird on the following day to Mr. Swaysland, of Brighton. On dissection it proved to be a female, we believe an adult, extremely fat, and weighing Dearly seven ounces and three-quarters. The following rare birds have reached Mr. Swaysland for preservation :- Richard's pipit on the 9th of October ; two examples of Richardson's skua on the 7th and 14th of October: all obtained near Brighton: a spotted crake, at Pevensey, on the 15th of October.-T. J. Monk; Mountfield House, Lewes, October 22, 1867.
Spotted Crake on Longridge.-I saw to-day, in the possession of Mr. W. Naylor, of Whalley, a spotted crake (Crex porzana). This specimen, a female, was shot on Longridge, Lancashire, on the 17th of October. The spotted crake is a rare visitant to this part of the country.-H. W. Feilden ; Pleasington, Blackburn, Lancashire, October, 31, 1867.
Spoonbill on Northam Burrows and Black Redstart at Barnstaple.-I beg to record the occurrence of a specimen of the white spoonbill in North Devon. It was shot one day last week on the Northam Burrows, near Bideford. I saw it in the shop of Mr. Rowe, gunsmith, of Barnstaple. As the bird had no occipital plumes I judged it to be a young bird of the year. A black redstart has been frequenting our premises here for some days. It appears occasionally on the top of the house, and sometimes in the garden, and is every now and then noticed Nitting before the windows on the look out for flies, after the manner of a flycatcher or wagtail.-Murray A. Mathew ; Barnstaple, November 8, 1867.
Surf Scoter and Firecrested Regulus (Birds of the Year) at Scilly.—The packet has brought over the above specimens for preservation to Mr. Vingoe. The surf scoter shows its character in the form of the bill, which is very decided when compared with the others. There is another character, apparently specific, which is well shown in Yarrell's figure, and that is the extension of the frontal feathers half an inch down the centre of the ridge of the upper mandible: the other two species have not this character. I see that the description of the young surf scoter is very meagrely given by our authors: this specimen has a very well-defined white spot belween the eye and the bill, and a similar one just behind the eye; the upper part of the head is of a very deep brown, almost black by lamp-light. The other bird is, without doubt, an inumature fire. crest from the well-detined white mark over the eye, which the goldcrest never bas.Edward Hearle Rodd; Penzance, October 28, 1867.
Arctic Tern near Gravesend. -On the 3rd of October, whilst onr yacht was brought up in the Lower Hope, I bad the good fortune to obtain a fine specimen of this tern, a young male in immature plumage. It was flying at the time in compildy with four or five others of the common variety. I had seen them playing alunt the yacht for more than half an hour before they came within shot.-A. H. Smee; 7, Finsbury Circus.
Skua on the Thames.-On the same day (October 3) I saw two specimens of the common skua; the first just opposite Greenhithe, the other by the Chapman Light; the latter when observed was chasing a common gull, which it soon
SECOND SERIES-VOL. II,