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the Caucasus, wave after wave of those prolific adventurers poured over Europe, until the Celts had penetrated her most western boundaries, and occupied our island: so a vast horde of winged strangers has suddenly swept down upon astonished Europe, and a new nomadic race has penetrated to our shores from its distant Eastern home.
I have already said that several hundreds of this Sand-Grous reached the limits of Great Britain, and that by far the larger part of them appeared, as was to be expected with Asiatic migrants, in the Eastern counties: some however, detached from the main body, under the general persecution which, I regret to say, followed their appearance amongst us, were dispersed all over England, and penetrated almost every county; and one at all events reached Wiltshire, and was killed on Salisbury Plain at Imber on the 29th of June, for the knowledge of which, as well as the occurrence of many other rare birds in Wiltshire I am indebted to the Rev. George Powell, Rector of Sutton Veney, who most kindly and considerately sends me from time to time an account of any rarity which comes under his notice. Our Wiltshire specimen of the Sand-Grous was a female, and was alone, and in rapid flight from north to south, when it was shot by Mr. Joseph Dean of Imber, as I described in the Zoologist at the time.1
Like other species of Sand Grous, S. paradoxus is remarkable for its great length of wing, slender beak, shortness of foot, and conical tail, the two middle feathers being elongated in a thread-like manner: also for the feathering of the legs and feet to the extremity of the toes with short dense feathers: the hind toe is completel wanting. That it is not polygamous; that both sexes share in the the duties of incubation; and that three eggs are the full complement of a nest, I gather from Mr. Newton's paper. And I may add from my acquaintance with an allied species in Africa (S. exustus), that so much do its colours resemble the sands of the desert it frequents, that it is extremely difficult to see it on the ground; while its sharp-pointed long wings, give it a rapidity of flight almost
1 Zoologist, p. 8888.
unequalled. In many respects it reminds one of the Plover tribe.1 Partridge." (Perdix cinerea.) Unlike the preceding members of this family, the well known bird now under consideration thrives better in cultivated than in barren land, and nowhere multiplies more rapidly than in the most highly farmed districts. Its appearance and habits are so well known that it is unnecessary to enlarge upon them. I will then merely append a few notes with which I have been furnished by the late Rev. George Marsh. "Since the introduction of the new Game Laws, the numbers of this common but beautiful and useful bird have very much declined. Their enemies are numerous, the gun, the net, the trap of man; the stoat and weazle, the magpie, crow and jay, and the mower are among the most conspicuous. The Hedgehog is also no doubt one of its enemies, as the keepers at Winterslow used to tell me that an egg was the best bait for the trap intended to catch the hedgepig. In the summer of 1841, a farmer of the neighbouring parish of Langley heard two partridges in a hedge in a grass field making a great noise; so heapproached the spot, and found two old birds manfully defending their nest against a hedgehog: he killed the animal, and the eggs eighteen in number, were soon afterwards hatched, I have witnessed myself the destruction of a nest by a magpie. In this county the poacher fixes a flue net in the corner of a field where he has roosted birds, and then under cover of a horse he gradually walks the birds into the net. These birds do better, when some of them are shot every year; if all are spared, the old birds drive away the young ones." I may add that partridges feed shortly after sunrise, and a little before sunset, retiring to bask in the sun or dust themselves on dry banks at midday. They roost on the ground in the open field shortly after sunset, and the whole covey sits closely crowded together in a circle, tails towards the centre, heads outwards, (like a watchful round robin) for the sake of security, and in order to avoid a surprise.
"Red-legged Partridge." (Perdix rubra.) It is our good fortune in Wiltshire to know but little of this bird, which has been encouraged in some districts of England, and has ended in driving
1 See an admirable figure of this bird, as well as a good general description, by Mr. T. J. Moore, in the Ibis, vol. ii., pp. 105-110.
away its more valuable congener, with which in flavour of flesh it is not to be compared. It is a handsome species, and is common in France and the south of Europe generally. In habits it resembles P. cinerea. A few stragglers from time to time have made their way into Wiltshire: Mr. Marsh recorded their capture at Winterslow, and the specimen in his collection (now at Ramridge in the possession of his brother M. Marsh, Esq., M.P. for Salisbury), was killed at Draycot Park. Another was killed at Winterbourne Monkton by my neighbour the late Mr. John Brown, and I have frequently seen the bird in his possession; and other instances will doubtless occur to many sportsmen: for, thanks to the mistaken zeal with which their introduction to this country has been conducted, they are by no means rare now.
"Quail." (Perdix coturnix.) Not many years since this dimin utive but plump little partridge was generally though somewhat sparingly scattered over the down parishes in this neighbourhood in the summer: but now it has become comparatively rare throughout the county. One nest however was discovered at Yatesbury since my Incumbancy in 1852 and I have notices of the bird's occurrence of late years at Christian Malford in 1841 and 1845; in the neighbourhood of Sutton Benger in 1847; at Langley in 1851, and at Erch font in 1856. But in all probability it might be found in some part of Wiltshire every year, did not its unobtrusive and even skulking habits hinder its recognition. That Quails are in marvellous abundance in their favorite haunts, and that during their periodical migrations their flights are prodigious, is not only recorded in old time in the books of Genesis and Numbers; but Col. Montagu informs us that one hundred thousand have been taken in one day on the west coast of the kingdom of Naples. That moreover this handsome little bird is a cosmopolite, and inhabits the three continents of the Old World, I can vouch, having met with it in Europe, Asia, and Africa: indeed of the three specimens now in my collection, the first I procured in the flesh at the market of the Pantheon at Rome, and it was admirably stuffed by an Otaheite girl, the only taxidermist then in the Eternal City: and the others I shot on the banks of the Nile, within the tropics 1 Exodus, xvi., 13. Numbers, xi., 31, 32. Psalms, lxviii., 26, 29.
in Nubia. It is of so pugnacious a disposition, that it was kept by the Greeks and Romans, as it is at this day by the Chinese, for the express purpose of fighting after the manner of our game cocks. Its period of arrival in western Europe is May, and of departure October.
STRUTHIONIDE (The Bustards).
This is a family which I must not omit in my catalogue of Wiltshire birds, inasmuch as our open downs and extensive plains were once a stronghold of the race: but alas! Bustards are extinct in Great Britain, and the last British killed specimen, whose memoir I read before our Society,' and which was captured on the borders of our county, was no home bred bird, but a straggler which had been driven out of his course. As I have already devoted a whole chapter to this subject, I need but enumerate the
"Bustard" (Otis tarda), as having been seen in Wiltshire at the end of the last century by many who are now alive: and I may add that after a correspondence which I had with the late Mr. Yarrell, the talented author of the history of British Birds, and from a quantity of papers and extracts which he was so good as to send me on the subject, I am but confirmed in the opinions I have expressed regarding this bird: neither have I anything of importance to add beyond the information courteously furnished me by Mr. James Waylen, "that when Col. Thornton, who once rented Spye Park, sported in Wiltshire, he occasionally flew his Hawks, at Bustards, the apparent slowness of the Bustard when seen at a distance tempting him to the trial: but the hawks had no chance."
I have no record of the occurrence of the Little Bustard (Otis tetrax) in Wiltshire; though it has been killed on several occasions in the neighbouring counties. Therefore the name of the Great Bustard must close the list of Wiltshire birds belonging to this Order: and here we finish our description of the Land Birds, reserving for future papers the Water Birds, which will occupy comparatively little space.
ALFRED CHARLES SMITH.
Yalesbury Rectory, Calne,
1 Wiltshire Magazine, vol. iii., pp. 129-145.
History of the Parish of All Cannings.
(Continued from page 40).
THE CHAPELRY OF ETCHILHAMPTON.
YEVER perhaps was there a greater etymological puzzle than the derivation of the name of this chapelry. Spelt, at the present time, ordinarily-ETCHILHAMPTON,-it is, with provoking inconsistency, pronounced as though written ASHELTON. And so varied are the forms in which the word appears, that it is in vain to guess which may be nearest the original. In the Domesday Record, the oldest form of the word we meet with, it is written ECESATINGETONE, though the spelling of Norman scribes cannot be implicitly trusted. Then in records and charters of different dates, we meet with it as Ethelhampton, Ethelmeton,- Hochelhampton,- Echelintun,-Hetheseling,-Ethelington,-Ashlington, and Ashington. Some in modern times have, in their spelling, copied closely its common pronunciation, and written it Ashelton. He must be a bold venturer, who, with this mass of conflicting authorities, will attempt to solve such an etymological riddle.
This Chapelry, which, though it has its separate Church, seems from time immemorial to have been a dependency of All Cannings, and with it to have formed one benefice, is about two miles and a half in length, and about one mile in breadth. It is bounded on the south by Patney and Stert, -on the west by portions of SouthBroom (itself a chapelry of Bishops Cannings),—and its northeastern boundary is coterminous with that of All Cannings. The acreage is as follows:
A. R. P.
516 0 28
16 0 15
4 0 0
826 1 37