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says that there is no difference in the plumage of the male and female oystercatcher. Can this difference be sexual, and if so, which is the male and wbich the female ? A. Clark-Kennedy.

Great Snipe near Dorchester.– My brother shot a specimen of the great spipe (Scolopax major) near here on the 29th of November last: it was flushed in a reedbed, at the same time as six or seven common snipe, but was lying apart from them, and at once attracted attention by its superior size and different mode of flight. The dimensions of this bird (a male) are as follows: Length from end of tail to base of bill

94 inches. from base of bill to tip

21 from carpal joint to end of wing

51 Extent of wings

17 Agreeing with those given by Yarrell and Montagu, but the weight seems to be less than usual, as it barely weighed six ounces, altbough in fair, but not fat, condition.James Shorto, jun.; High East Street, Dorchester, December 13, 1866.

Unusual Occurrence of the Smew.-I saw to-day, at one dealer's in Leadenball Market, fourteen smews, which he informed me he had received from Holland. Never buving seen so many specimens of this bird in one lot before, I think the circumstance worth recording, especially as I have only seen one specimen in the market previously this winter, a female, also from Holland, on the 6th of December last. The fourteen which I saw to-day were partly males and partly females, but the former were all in immature plumage.-J. H. Gurney; January 16, 1867.

Blackthroated Diver at Wickham, Hants. On the 9th of January, heavy gales and squally weather having prevailed during the week, a beautiful male specimen of the blackthroated diver (Colymbus arcticus, Linn.), in full winter dress, was shot upon the ornamental water at Rouksbury Park, Wickham, Hants, by Mr. Orred's keeper, and forms a valuable addition to my collection. In the stumach was a fresh roach 4f inches in length and 24 inches in girth, together with a few small pebbles.--Arthur W. Crichton; 11, Eaton Place, S.W.; January 16, 1867.

Sabine's Gull in Cornwall.-A specimen of Sabine's gull, in the first year's plumage, was shot in November, on the River Lyntrer, St. German's, Cornwall, by Mr. Spencer, naturalist, and is now in the possession of the Rev. A. Furneaux, St. Germans.—Alan Furneaux ; St. German's, Cornwall, January 23, 1867.

Ornithological Notes from Stirlingshire. - Bramblings appeared here, and in still greater numbers at Kilsythe, on or about the 7th of this month (January), and disappeared on the 9th or 10th. Various ducks are numerous on the Frith of Forth, and considerable numbers of mallard, teal and widgeon come up our river (the Carron) every day. Bean geese bave come far inland this winter; yesterday a flock, or "gaggle," alighted on a frozen pond near this, seven miles from the Frith; they generally, in this part of the county, do not come further inland than Latham Moss, which is only three miles from the sea.-John A. Harvie Brown ; Dunipace House, Falkirk.

Correction of an Error.--Zool. S. S. 559, 17th line from top, for“ bind throat," &c., read "head, throat,” &c.-N. Cooke; Liverpool, January 8, 1867.

A Birdsnesting Trip to the North of Ireland.

By Howard SAUNDERS, Esq., F.Z.S. “THERE must still be eagles in Ireland; they can scarcely have become extinct since Thompson's time,” exclaimed a friend, as we rose from marking off on the map the breeding-places specified in the * Birds of Ireland.' So after some iscussion we agreed to make a tour of inspection the following-April, and judge for ourselves. But, alas! the course of birdsnesting seldom runs altogether smooth; May had come before I could leave town, and I was then obliged to give up the exploration of what I imagine to be some of the best localities, and respecting which I hope to be able to give further particulars next year.

Having been joined at Omagh by my friend R., an enthusiastic young Irishman on his first collecting trip, I proceeded to make diligent inquiries from a correspondent in the town, who had twice forwarded me a pair of richly marked golden eagle's eggs “in the yelk." I was sorry to learn that the individual who used to obtain the eggs, and who was known as the “antiquity," i. e. antiquary, was lately dead, and that the knowledge of the eyrie had been confined to himself and a herd who used to assist him, whose very name was unknown. Doubtless the eagles were still breeding in their old haunts, but the amount of ground to be gone orer was so vast, and the chance of success so problematical, that after carefully weighing the pros and cons of the matter, we decided to push on at once for the Horn of Donegal, where, in Thompson's time, at least two pairs of the sea eagle used to breed, besides the golden eagle in the mountains inland.

Arrived at Dunfanaghy, the nearest village to Horn Head, we lost no time in securing the services of an experienced old " duller," the local name for a fowler who “dulls" or catches sea-birds by slipping a horse-hair noose fastened to a long rod over their heads, as they sit on the ledges. He assured us that we should certainly get the " gamehawk," as the peregrine falcon is termed, but as for eagles he shook his head. There was, he believed, a pair or two of the mountain eagle, up by Muckish and Errigal, and the sea eagle was not unfrequently to be seen in the winter, but they had not bred in their old quarters for four or five years; he could only show us where the nest used to be.

SECOND SERIES-VOL. ÍI.

M

Early next morning we were afoot, and crossing the stone bridge which unites Horn Island with the mainlaud, a walk of about four miles brought us to the summit of the cliffs to the west of the Head. The day was clear and the view from the cliffs magnificent; Tory Island, distant some nine or ten miles, appearing almost within swimming distance, whilst to the left the cone of Errigal, upwards of 2400 feet in height, and the huge burial-mound-shaped Muckish, stood out boldly against a blue sky rivalling that of Italy. Looking down the sweep of the stupendous cliffs, a white line could be discerned not far from the water's edge; it was the breeding-place of the kiltiwakes, or “pettyranes," as the “duller” called them, but from our eleration it was impossible to say without the aid of a glass whether the whiteness arose from birds or was merely a dung-covered ledge. On the water and on the ledges of the cliffs we could distinguish puffins (albunners), razorbills (furrins), guillemots (murrins), whilst the herring gulls everywhere studded the sea-pink covered projections of the rocks. Cormorants were drying their wings on the rocks at the base, and we could distinguish shags nestling in the crevices of the lower cliffs. As yet, however, the bulk of the birds had not come up from the sea, and only the shags, cormorants and herring gulls had commenced laying, with here and there a few puffins.

There's always a hunting hawk's nest by here,” said our guide, and the next moment the angry bark of the tercel, as he dashed out to sea from his post of observation, warned us that we were encroaching upon his domain. The falcon sat very close, and it took a good deal of stoning to make her bolt, which at last she did, but so quietly that we were no wiser than before as to the exact position of her nest. Nothing could be done without a rope, and, as this was merely a reconnoitering expedition, we had not brought one. However, as luck would have it, we had scarcely proceeded half a mile along the cliffs when we came upon one of the best cragsmen of the Horn, who was smoking his morning pipe with a companion, and who at once started to fetch a rope from a cottage not far distant; so an hour found us back again, preparing to lay siege to the eyrie of the peregrine. The rope had a “fishy" appearance in more senses than one, being full of joins and splices; however, if it would bear Jem, the owner, it would certainly bear any one else of our party, so down he went first to try it. The falcon now became greatly excited, screaming wildly and swooping within a few yards of our heads, so it was clear that the nest was close by; still the rope was not long enough to epable us to get past a projecting crag, below which (correctly as erents proved) Jem declared the nest was. He promised to bring us the eggs next morning, “ before we had our eyes open,” as he intended to try it with a longer rope of his own, and with this we were compelled to rest contented for the present. Whilst climbing the cliff Jem said he had found a "jackdaw's” nest, and putting his arm into a crevice handed me a young chough, only some three or four days hatched, and which we put back as it was of no use. The chough is tolerably plentiful along the cliffs; the natives call it the "jackdaw," and the true jackdaw (C. monedula), also common, they call the

graydaw," much preferring the latter as a pet. I begged them to wage war against the grey-pated fellows, who would otherwise in time drive away the “red-legs," as they have already done at Beachy Head; but I am sorry to say my hearers by no means sympathized with my dread of such a contingency: the chough would not talk or whistle as the gray-pate would, and in fact he was altogether a “duffer.”

Proceeding along the cliffs to the Head, our guides pointed out the spot where the sea eagle had last built. The nest, remains of which were still visible, was situated on a ledge, about thirty feet from the summit of a stupendous cliff, but completely looked into from the point on which we were standing, though a chasm many hundred feet in depth, but not more than thirty yards wide, separated us from it. A more foolish place it would be difficult to conceive, for the nest could easily be reached by a rope from above, and I am not sure that a very daring cragsman could not have crept along a lower ledge, holding on to the upper one, until he got to the nest, though of course a single slip would have been certain death. I was not surprised to hear that the birds had been robbed year after year, until they finally lest the place: one or other of the old birds had often been shot, but the surviver always managed to find a fresh mate, until at last the persecution got too hot. The men told me that there used to be a sea eagle's eyrie in Tory Island, but that they had not seen the “Tory eagle,” as they called him, all that spring, so they supposed he must have been destroyed. I may here remark, that from what I now and on subsequent occasions learned, I imagine the sea eagle to be rarer in the North of Ireland than the golden eagle.

The vulturine propensities of the former cause him to fall an easy prey to the temptation offered by the strychnined carcase of a sheep placed for hooded crows, foxes and other“ vermin;" he also gorges himself with food, and is thus more easily approached than his nobler congener ;

still I fear that poison has had more to do with his extermination than all the trapping and shooting.

The day was hot, and after a pipe and a chat about the eagles we stretched ourselves out on the fragrant turf, and were soon fast asleep. After a time I heard indistinctly through my slumbers the hacketting of an angry tercel, which grew more and more clear, until I sat up, rubbed my eyes, and behold, it was no dream!—for there, abore my head hovered the author of all the noise, whilst the female's longer note mingled with his as she darted to and fro. We at once joined our guides, who were ascending a spur of the cliff to the west, bearing, to our great delight, three peregrine's eggs which they had just taken. A few hours hence it would have been too late, for the young had already begun to chip the shell of two of the eggs, which throbbed as if they would burst, while the chirpings of the inmates could be distinctly heard. We proceeded to the shelter afforded by an old stone wall, for the wind was strong, and

“Sorrow and shame it were to tell

The butcher work that there bcfell."

Suffice it to say we saved the eggs, though the holes were rather large.

On the very evening of our arrival Mr. M., the agent of the Ards estate, lad most kindly sent off a message to his shepherd up in the mountains, who, on account of his lambs, was keeping a sharp look out for the Muckish golden eagle. From him we now learned that there certainly was one pair about, and that they had been seen during the past week; he did not, however, know of their present breeding. place, but only that of the previous year, which had been robbed, and, to which they had not returned. It was quite clear that nothing but a most wonderful “Auke" would enable us to find the eyrie in that tremendous range formed by Muckish, Alten, Errigal and a host of smaller mountains, so we turned our attention to smaller game, and set out next morning for the cliffs of Breachy, on the other side of the bay.

We were soon reminded that Donegal was“ proclaimed,” by a police sergeant asking, with many apologies, for our license to carry a gun, and, having produced our permit, we followed the windings of the shore to where a number of the natives were landing “yah ” or seaweed from the “coraghs" and boats that had been out gathering this “ barvest of the sea.” For those who have never seen a

coragh," I

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