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repletion it sought a place where two trees grew near each other, and there ridded itself of its load by squaring its distended carcase between them, when it returned to its repast with renewed appetite.

Brown Bear.-In Scandinavia the bear takes the place of the lion as king of beasts, and is treated with superstitious reverence by the peasantry, who seldom allude to it by its proper name, lerming it

grandfather” or “the old gentleman in the fur coat.” It has, the Lapps say, the strength of ten men and the sense of twelve. In the quaint fairy tales of Norway he is treated with every outward mark of respect by the other animals, though often duped by the cuming of the fox, as in a curious story which explains why the bear has a stumpy tail.” It appears that our malicious friend Reynard persuaded poor Bruin to try and catch fish at a hole in the ice by putting in his tail, which was then a fine long one, and jerking it out when the fish bit. Naturally he was soon frozen hard and tight, and in his struggles to free himself his tail broke off short and never grew again (Dasent,

Norse Tales'). I have seen a version of this legend, wisapplied to the wolf, in a collection of Gaelic stories. It was devoutly believed by the Scandinavians that men assumed the forms of bears, as well as of wolves, either through their own sorcery or that of others. Concerving this superstition a grim and grisly story is quoted by Sir Walter Scott from Torfæus’ ‘History of Hrolfe Kraka,' lo the following effect:—Biorno, son of King Hringo of Upland, was a beautiful and valiant youth, but had the missortune to provoke the hatred of his stepmother, a "witch-lady," who revenged herself by striking him with a wolf-skin glove and changing him into a black bear. In this form he ravaged the flocks and herds, but was recognized by his ladye-lore, the beautiful Bera, who Aed with him to his den, where at certain hours he regained his human form. Here they dwelt, till at length he foretold to her his own death by the hand of his father, and warned her to beware of being persuaded to partake of his flesh. Next day he was hunted and slaiu by the king, and poor Bera captured and carried to the castle. In spite of all resistance the sorceress forced her to swallow a morsel of the bear's flesh; the consequence of which was that when she brought forth, in due time, three young, two were variously deformed, one having the limbs of an elk, the other the feet of a hound; but the third was a brave champion, who avenged his parents and slew the witch-queen. Such were the wild legends which the Scalets sung to Viking and Jarl, and to this day the Norse peasants believe that the Finns and Lapps can change themselves into

bears, and remark of one of great strength and ferocity,“ That can be no Christian bear.” One killed at Oföden, which had slain six men and sixty horses, was said to have borne the infallible sign of a transformed sorcerer, viz. a belt of bear-skin round its loins (Dasent). An old belief, which has become proverbial, relates that the young of the bear are born in an undereloped state and licked into shape by their parent. Another popular and wide-spread fancy is that the bear lives in winter by sucking his paws, in explanation of which Mr. Loyd remarks that the animal is rery partial to licking the balls of its feet, which at that time acquire a new cuticle.

Otter.-A strange belief regarding a spotted variety of the otter is said by Professor Bell to prevail in some parts of Scotland, namely, that it is never killed without a human being dying at the same moment: I have never myself met either with the variety or the superslition. It used to be a moot question whether the olter was beast or fish: to this Isaac Walton alludes, in a well-known passage of his Compleat Angler,' where he also makes his Huntsman speak as follows :—“And I can tell you that this dog-fisher, for so the Latins call him, can smell a fish in the water a hundred yards from him; Gesner says much farther; and that his stones are good against the falling sickness, and that there is a herb, Benione, which being hung in a linen cloth near a fish-pond or any haunt that he uses, doth make him to avoid the place, which proves he smells both by water and land.”

EDWARD R. ALSTON, Stockbriggs, Lesmahagow, N. B., August 2, 1867.

(To be continued.)

Collected Observations on the Birds of Stirlingshire.


Golden Eagle.-The golden eagle is now a rara avis in Stirlingshire, though not a great many years ago it used to circle round Ben Lomond, and place its eyrie among its cliffs. No longer ago than the close of the last century a pair of golden eagles bred in some precipitous cliffs near Campsil. Mr. R. Gray says that it still breeds in Stirlingshire (see Mr. A. G. More's paper on the “ Distribution of British Birds during the Nesting Season,” in the 'Ibis '). One was shot in this connly on Loch Lomond, by the gamekeeper of Sir James Colquhoun, of Rossdue: this happened some fifty years ago, as I am informed by Mr. J. Colquhoun, of Kames Castle, when the latter was a boy.

Sea Eagle.--The sea eagle in this county is now almost as rare as the last mentioned, but, from being more numerous elsewhere, specimeus are occasionally procured. One was shot by the man who killed the golden eagle, mentioned above. Mr. Colquhoun tells me that the sea eagle attacked his dog whilst retrieving a wild duck, and alınost drowned it before he could offer assistance by firing at the eagle. In Montagu's British Birds,' by Mr. Newinan, is the following passage :“Two of this species, contending in the air over the extensive lake, Loch Lomond, in the South Highlands, both at last became so firmly grappled to each other by their talons that they were precipitated into the water. The uppermost regained the power of its wings, but the other was taken alive by a highlander, who witnessed the scene, and who waited till the bird was wasted on shore by the wind." Then, a few lines further down, Mr. Newman says, “ Although an extremely bold bird, it will not venture to contend with a dog or a fux in its natural wild state.” * The above communication of Mr. J. Colquhoun seems to make this doubtful, I think. Perhaps bad the dog been on dry land such would not hare happened. Captain G. Spiers, of Culcreuch, informs me that he has lately seen the common eagle near his property, in the parish of Fintry.

Osprey.-In his delightful book, 'The Moor and the Loch,' Mr. J. Colquhoun mentions the fact of a pair of ospreys breeding on an island -Inch Galbraith-on Loch Lomond, and his son distinctly remembers that when he was young the osprey bred on the islands of the loch. A bird has been described to me under the name of the “small loch eagle” as having been killed by a man in the village of Larbert about twenty years ago : it was carrying in its beak a roach (or braese) of half a pound weight, when first seen, and, having alighted on a railwaypost to eat it, was successfully stalked and shot by the man, James Finlayson, who is still alive: it measured, I was told, about five feet in extent of wings. Captain Spiers tells me that his keeper killed a specimen of the “small fish eagle” about three years ago.

Peregrine Falcon.The peregrine is not now so common in this county as it was formerly, though there are several breeding places still remaining around Loch Lomond and elsewhere. This fine bird used

* The observation is Culonel Montagu's, not mine.-E. Newman.

to breed on the high cliffs of Ballochleam, in the parish of Garquemock; Dumyat Hill, parish of Logie; and near the town of Campsil. 1 kuow of one spot in the west of the county where it still breeds. In the New Statistical Account of Scotland,' it is erroneously called “the goshawk," and this erroneous name is still prevalent amongst the lower classes. On the Abbey Craig, near Stirling, the peregrine used also 10 breed and supply the royal household of Queen Mary with falcons, and I believe even at the present time it breeds there occasionally.

Merlin.-The merlin is pretty generally distributed over the county, but prefers the higher grounds for nesting. The local name is the “small blue hawk.” One breedivg-place is near the summit of Dumyat Hill, one of the Ochills, and another on the Finury Hills, near Culcreuch, besides several others with which I am myself acquainted. I received a beautiful little male merlin once which committed suicide by flying against a plate-glass window in the mansion house of Mr. Gilbert Stirling, in this neighbourhood.

Kestrel.The kestrel is our commonest hawk, and is called the “red hawk” in contradistinction to the sparrow bawk or“ blue hawk.” A favourite locality or breeding place of the kestrel is in the ruins of Torwood Castle, in a most inaccessible spot. I have frequently found their eggs, at an elevation of not more than thirty feet from the ground, in an old magpie's nest. The kestrel breeds abundantly near Loch Lomond, both on the islands and on the shore.

Goshawk.—Captain Spiers writes, “On a crag on my land is an eyrie of the goshawk, and not far from this locality a peregrine falcon was shot a few years ago ?”

Kite. This splendid bird used to breed plentifully in Stirlingshire, more especially among the pine woods of the hills around Loch Lomond. It has long since disappeared during the breeding-season, and is only rarely seen at any time. See “Zoologist' for March, -1867 (S. S. 632).

Common Buzzard.—The common buzzard, though not rery long ago a plentiful species, is not now so common. It used to inhabit a great many different parts of the county, but gamekeepers &c. have driven it away to wilder hauuts. I believe, however, that it still breeds in the county amongst the central hills of Campsil, and probably around Loch Lomond.

Marsh Harrier.-Of this bird I have no authenticated information to give, but put it down simply because it was al one time far from being a rare bird in other counties.

Hen Harrier.—A few are occasionally seen on the upper grounds, but it is not at all a commov bird now in this counly, that I am aware of. A favourite hunting and breeding-ground of this barrier was in former days on the moors and mosses of the Campsil Hills.

Longeared Owl.-The longeared owl is, I think, our commonest owl: it is an unjustly persecuted bird, howerer, and I am afraid will not be so plentiful in a few years unless something can be done to enlighten the senseless gamekeepers who persecute it.

Shorteared Owl. This bird has been observed on some of the islands of Loch Lomond, but is not known to breed in these haunts or on the neighbouring hills (Mr. R. Gray, in his pamphlet on the 'Quiadrupeds and Birds of Loch Lomond and its Vicinity.")

Barn Owl.-The white owl is still common, and I think is less persecuted now than it used to be; I know of more than one gamekeeper who does not shoot them as vermin. I have seen this bird, which is preeminently a nocturnal species, hunting and quartering a slubble-field for mice in broad daylight.

Tawny Owl.—This owl is not so frequently observed, as it almost invariably keeps to the depths and thickets of woods and forests: it is therefore a more local species than the white and longeared owls. It breeds regularly in the cleft of a rock in Torwood Forest, which is overhung by a holly-bush.

Great Gray Shrike.-The butcher bird has occurred several times, to my own knowledge : three have come under my own observation; all of these are mentioned in the 'Zoologist.' The last, when I saw it, was vigorously pulling to pieces a blue til, placing its foot, or feet, upon it, and tearing at it with its sharp beak. Another was obtained by Dr. P. Brotherston, of Alloa, about the same time, which was procured in the west of Fife: I formerly intimated to Mr. R. Gray that this bird was killed on Dunmore estate, but have since found that I had committed some mistake concerning it. One was caught in a snare which had followed a blue tit into the trap and been itself enlangled; it was caught by Sir J. Colquhoun, of Rossdhue, and another was shot by his friend, Sir George Leith, about a year ago, at the same place.

Spotted Flycatcher.— Very common: I found a nest containing five eggs of this bird in the parish of Dunipace, of a very light colour, and which have a faint zone of minute freckles of pale red round the larger end.

Dipper.—The "water craw" is common on all our streams, and

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