« PreviousContinue »
irides hazel, weight 14 oz. length seven inches; migrates with the cuckoo, with whom it has great affinity in other respects. It appears in March or April.
These birds appear on the grass-plots and walks; they walk a little as well as hop, and thrust their bills into the turf in quest of ants, which are their food. They draw out their prey with their tongues, which are so long as to be curled round their heads.
7. Picus, WOODPECKER.
1. Picus Major, GREATER SPOTTED WOODPECKER OR FRENCH MAGPIE.- Variegated with black and white; crown of the head black, back part crimson; a black collar round the neck; back and rump black; checks and scapulars white; breast yellowish white. The woodpecker, after it hatches its young, carries the egg shells a considerable distance from its nest, in order that they may not betray it. It is erroneously asserted to keep entirely in the woods. Shot at Staveley, Melbourn, &c.
2. Picus Minor, LITTLE SPOTTED WOODPECKER.-Crown crimson; above black, barred with white; beneath dirty white; weight 1 oz. length six inches; extent eleven inches. In the female, the crown is white, and it is a miniature of the preceding; insomuch, that some have esteemed it a young bird of that species. Rare. One shot at Repton.
3. Picus Viridis, GREEN WOODPECKER.-Crown scarlet and grey; back green; rump pale yellow; beneath pale green; tail tipped with black; bill lead colour, legs and feet greenish ash colour: weight 6 to 7 oz.; length thirteen inches; extent twenty inches and a half.
The cock has a tone of voice resembling the human laugh, and is generally called the English parrot. Shot at Staveley, Melbourn, Radborne, Duffield, &c. These birds make a loud cry from February to April.
8. Alcedo, KINGFISHER.
Alcedo Ispida, KINGFISHER.-Bill, upper mandible black, under yellow at the base; wings dark green, spotted with blue; scapulars and coverts of the tail bright azure, beneath orange; tail deep blue; legs and feet orange: weight 13 oz.; length seven inches and a half; extent eleven inches.
This bird is the halcyon of the ancients; who believed that, while the female brooded over her eggs, the sea remained smooth and tranquil. It is somewhat inelegant in shape, but its plumage is more brilliant than most of the British birds. It is frequently seen on our rivers, and preys on small fish, which it catches with great dexterity. It swallows its prey whole. Darley, near Derby, appears to be a favourite spot for these birds, as they breed there most seasons. They nestle on the banks of rivers and brooks, in holes made by water rats. They are frequent on the Derwent and Ecclesbourne at Duffield.
9. Sitta, NUTHATCH.
Sitta Europea, NUTHATCH OR WOODCRACKER.-Upper mandible black, lower white at the base; above bluish grey; a black stroke across the eyes; cheeks and chin white; coverts of the wings bluish ash colour, beneath dull orange; legs pale yellow; twelve soft feathers in the tail: weight 1 oz.; length six inches; extent nine inches. Rare.
Shot at Romeley, near Bolsover, and Melbourn. One shot in the neighbourhood of Quorndon, December, 1820.
10. Certhia, CREEPER.
Certhia Familiaris, CREEPER.-Above brown, streaked with black and light brown; ten of the quills tipped with white; beneath white; tail of twelve long feathers: weight 5 drams; length five inches and a half; extent seven inches and a half.
The food of these birds is insects, which they find under the bark of trees. They run with facility up the smoothest tree, like a fly on a glass window. Shot at Derby.
They are frequent in the neighbourhood of Duffield. They invariably fly to the bottom of the tree, run to the far side, and immediately begin ascending in a rapid zigzag manner, with the stiff feathers of the tail closely pressed to the tree, coming half round the stock and appearing alternately on each side. When they have ascended as high as the branches, they fly to the base of another tree, which they ascend in the same manner. They never run down, but keep their heads directly upwards, and are continually pecking their food out of the crevices of the bark. O. J.
ORDER 3. PASSERES.
11. Sturnus, STARLING.
Sturnus Vulgaris, STARE OR STARLING.-Bill yellow; irides hazel; plumage black, tinged with green purple; tips of the feathers yellowish; legs and feet reddish black: length
eight inches and three quarters; extent fourteen inches; weight 3 oz. Congregate from September to November.
These beautiful birds usually feed on snails, worms and insects, but will eat grain, seeds and fruit. They are very common about Derby, and are frequently seen in large flocks. When attacked by hawks, or other birds of prey, they form themselves into a close compact body, which is in continual motion; thus constantly presenting a new opposing front to their adversary, in this manner they have been seen for upwards of an hour, assuming the shape and exact appearance of a balloon. O. J.
12. Turdus, THRUSH.
1. Turdus Viscivorus, MISLETOE THRUSH OR THRICECOCK.-Above brown grey; beneath yellow white, with dark spots; irides hazel; tail of twelve feathers, exteriors tipped with white; inner covert of the wings white: weight 5 oz.; length eleven inches; extent sixteen inches and a half.
This is our largest singing bird, it builds often in orchards, and propagates the misletoe ; sings in January, and pairs the latter end of February; while breeding it is fierce and pugnacious, driving such birds as approach its nest with great fury to a distance. He suffers no magpie, jay or blackbird, to enter the garden where he haunts, and is for the time a good guard to the new-sown legumens. The misletoe thrush, though most shy and wild in the autumn and winter, in the season of nidification is comparatively tame. Migrates in October or November. These birds do not destroy the fruit in gardens, like the other species of turdi, but feed on the berries of misletoe, and in the spring on ivy berries, which then begin to ripen. In the summer, when their young become fledged, they leave neighbourhoods and retire to sheep-walks and wild commons.
2. Turdus Musicus, THROSTLE OR SONG THRUSH.-Above brown; beneath yellowish white, with blackish arrow-shaped spots; quill-feathers ferruginous on the inner base; length nine inches; extent thirteen inches and a half; weight 3 oz. Begins to sing early in January.
3. Turdus Ericetorum, HEATH THRUSH.-Above brown; beneath yellowish white, with blackish arrow-shaped spots; across the eyes a blackish stripe; size of the last, but heavier.
Found sometimes with the redwings, in winter, at Duffield.
4. Turdus Iliacus, REDWING.-Above brown grey; beneath whitish, with brown spots; sides and under covert of the wings red yellow; a yellow white line athwart the eyes: weight 24 oz.
This bird suffers much in frosty weather. Like the fieldfare, it visits us in the winter ; and in the spring returns to its native haunts in Sweden, Norway, Russia, &c.
5. Turdus Pilaris, FIELDFARE.-Bill yellowish, tipped with black; head and rump ash colour; back deep brown; tail and legs black; beneath white; breast reddish, with dark spots weight 4 oz.; length ten inches; extent seventeen inches.
This bird does not breed in England, but migrates here in October or November; it feeds on haws, and nestles in the fields at night, where it roosts. They congregate in vast flocks.
6. Turdus Merula, BLACKBIRD.-Plumage black; bill and edges of the eyelids yellow : weight 4 oz.; length ten inches. Begins to whistle about the middle of January and lays in March.
7. Turdus Torquatus, RING OUZEL.-Black; breast with a white patch extending towards the neck; about the size of the blackbird.
In autumn these birds feed on haws and yew berries, and in the spring on ivy berries. They breed in the Peak of Derbyshire, and are called there Tor ouzels. They withdraw in October or November, and return in spring about March or April.
8. Turdus Cinctus, WATER OUZEL, WATER CROW OR WATER PYOT.- Blackish brown; cheeks, throat and breast white; upper parts of the belly reddish brown; lower part and tail blackish. Length above seven inches; extent eleven inches; weight 2 oz.
This bird is found on the Derwent at Matlock, and sometimes at Duffield. It delights in the most solitary places, and particularly the falls or cascades of the water; and what is most remarkable, it is capable of walking under water, at the bottom of the river, the same as on dry land.
9. Turdus Roseus, ROSE-COLOURED OUZEL.-Head slightly crested behind; body pale rose-colour; head, neck, wings and tail glossy black: length eight inches.
One of these rare and beautiful birds was shot at Weston, in October, 1784, by the Rev. Mr. Dawson.
13. Ampelis, CHATTERER.
Ampelis Garrulus, WAXEN CHATTERER.-Head slightly crested behind; body reddish grey; back and wings dusky; throat and tail black; secondary quill-feathers with a mem
braneous vermilion tip; tail black, tipped with yellow: length eight inches; about the size of a starling.
Several of these birds were shot in January, 1829, in the neighbourhood of Derby. They are rarely seen in any part of England, and only visit us at uncertain periods. They have likewise been shot at Glapwell, Smalley and Melbourn.
14. Loxia, CROSSBILL.
1. Loxia Curvirostra, CROSSBILL.-Bill, mandibles crossing each other; body variegated with orange, red, yellow and green; wings and forked tail dusky; head, neck, breast, sides and rump red; belly dirty yellowish grey. There is a great diversity of colour in these birds; in some the red predominates, in others the orange, &c. Female, dull olive green, where the male is red; wings and tail brown, under parts yellowish: length six inches and three quarters; extent eleven inches and a quarter; weight nearly 2 oz.
The general appearance of these birds is not pleasing, notwithstanding their gay colours; their short thick body, strong neck, large head, and very strong bill, give them a heavy clumsy appearance. Several of these birds were shot at Duffield and Chevin in October, 1821; they came in large flocks, and fed chiefly on the berries of the quicken (sorbus aucuparia) and several more were shot at the same places in the winter of 1828. Ò. J.
2. Loxia Coccothraustes, GROSBEAK OR HAWFINCH.-Bill remarkably strong and large, dull flesh colour; underneath the body purplish grey; legs flesh colour; head chestnut; chin and quills black; the end of the middle quills curved outwards; a black line from the bill to the eyes; back brown: weight 2 oz.; length seven inches; extent thirteen inches.
Grosbeaks feed principally on hard seeds, which their strong bills enable them easily to open. They also feed on hawthorn and yew berries. With their large horny beaks they crack and break the shells of stone-fruits, for the sake of the kernels. They are regular inhabitants of Switzerland and Germany. Birds of this sort are seldom seen in England, and only in the hardest winters.
One of these birds was shot at Duffield, November 29, 1822; and two, which were shot out of a flock at Osmaston, are now preserved at the Navigation Inn there.
3. Loria Chloris, GREENFINCH OR GREEN LINNET.-Plumage yellow green; exterior webs of the outermost feathers of the tail yellow; lower part of the belly greenish white: length five inches and a half; weight 1 oz.
The green linnet sings in March and April, and flocks in November; common.
4. Loxia Pyrrhula, BULFINCH.-Bill, crown, covert of the wings and tail black; back of the neck and back grey; coverts of the tail and vent white; cheeks, breast and belly red; a white line across the wings. Female, dirty brown; breast and belly dirty buff colour; crown black; rump white: length six inches.
Frequent in the neighbourhood of Duffield.
15. Emberiza, BUNTING.
1. Emberiza Miliaria, BUNTING.-Above olive brown, with black spots; beneath yellowish white, with oblong dusky spots; edges of the wings and legs yellow; sides of the tail whitish length seven inches and a half; extent eleven inches; weight 2 oz.
Buntings are seed birds, and have a tooth-like process in the upper mandible, which enables them to split their food with great facility.
2. Emberiza Citrinella, YELLOWHAMMER.-Crown, chin, throat and belly yellow; back of the neck, less wing coverts, part of the quills and part of the tail green; breast orange; rump brown red: length six inches; extent ten inches; weight 7 drams.
Sings in the month of February, and later in the year than any other bird.
3. Emberiza Schoeniculus, REED SPARROW.-Above black, edged with red; beneath whitish; a white circle round the head of the male: length nearly six inches; weight 5 drams. Female, head rufous, with dusky streaks, without the white circle round it; brown
These birds are frequently found on the Ecclesbourne and Derwent at Duffield, where they breed and remain all winter.
16. Fringilla, FINCH.
1. Fringilla Domestica, HOUSE SPARROW.-Body black and grey; a white mark behind the eyes; wings and tail brown, the former with a single white band: length about six inches; weight nearly 7 drams.
Begins to chirp about the middle of January.
2. Fringilla Montana, TREE SPARROW.-Back of the neck, under the eyes and belly white; rest of the body brown and black; legs pale red. Less than the house sparrow. Female, without the black on the head. Breeds in the neighbourhood of Duffield. O. J.
3. Fringilla Calebs, CHAFFINCH OR PIED FINCH.-Bill, crown, back and sides of the neck bluish grey; forehead, wings and tail black; three white lines across the wings; above the eyes, cheeks and throat red; belly reddish white; female without the grey on the head and neck; throat and neck dullish white: less than the sparrow; sings in January and February.
Seen in equal numbers, male and female, the beginning of January.
4. Fringilla Montifringilla, BRAMBLING OR BRAMBLE FINCH.-Back and crown black, edged with brown; chin, throat, breast, and less wing coverts orange; inner coverts yellow; quills edged with yellow; belly whitish: length six inches.
The male is a bird of great beauty. They breed in Scandinavia, and a few migrate here in winter; appear in March, and is last seen in October. They have been shot at Staveley and Melbourn. A hawk was shot at Weston Underwood, with a bird on which it had just pounced; and which, on examination, proved to be a brambling.
5. Fringilla Carduelis, GOLDFINCH, THISTLE-FINCH, PROUD TAILOR OR SEVENCOLOURED LINNET.-Circle round the bill red; breast, back and rump brown; middle of the wings yellow; tip of the bill, line to the eyes, crown, wings and tail black; the rest white: length five inches and a half; extent nine inches and a half.
This is the most elegant of our small birds, in form, plumage and nidification. Sings in February and March. It also resumes its song in the autumn. Young broods appear about the middle of August.
6. Fringilla Linota, COMMON LINNET OR GORSE LINNET.-Chestnut brown; beneath yellowish brown; wings with a longitudinal white band; tail feathers dusky, with white edges: length six inches; extent about ten inches.
These birds congregate early in January.
7. Fringilla Cannabina, GREATER RED-HEADED LINNET.-Back, scapulars and coverts red brown; on the forehead a dark red spot; breast pale red; rest black and white: length six inches; extent nearly ten inches; weight 5 drams.
8. Fringilla Linaria, LESSER REDPOLE, RED-HEADED LINNET OR FRENCH LINNET.-Above rufous brown, with dusky spots; chin black; front and breast red; wings with a double white band: length five inches; extent seven inches and a half; weight 2
These birds are not uncommon about Derby. In winter they appear in large flocks, and frequent the alder trees on the banks of the Derwent and Ecclesbourne. Their appearance and manners are very pleasing.
9. Fringilla Spina, SISKIN OR ABERDUVINE.-Greenish yellow, with dusky spots; quill feathers yellow in the middle, the first four without spots; tail feathers yellow at the base, tipped with black: length four inches and three quarters.
These beautiful little birds frequent the same places as the last; they appear in great flights in the winter, but at uncertain periods, as several winters elapse without one of them being seen. They feed on the alder seed, make a small chirping noise something like the goldfinch, and do not appear timid.
17. Muscicapa, FLYCATCHER.
Muscicapa Grisola, SPOTTED FLYCATCHER.-Bill, legs and feet black; above brownish grey; beneath white; quills edged with yellow; throat and sides tinged with red; mouth yellow length five inches and a half; builds in the corners of walls or on the end of beams, and lays five eggs. Migrates. Appears about the middle of April, breeds with us, and retires in August.
Birds of this genus are perhaps more universally dispersed over every part of the globe than any other. They frequent gardens, and feed chiefly on flies and insects; which, but for the multitudes consumed by them, would render some countries unfit for human residence. They are, of all our summer birds, the most mute and the most familiar; they do not make the least pretension to song, but use a wailing note when they think their young in danger.
18. Alauda, LARK.
1. Alauda Arvensis, SKY LARK OR GROUND LARK.-Lower mandible, spot above the eyes, soles of the feet and under side of the body yellowish; head and breast spotted with black; exterior web of the quills edged with white: weight 1oz.; length seven inches; extent thirteen inches.
Sings flying or soaring in the air.
2. Alauda Pratensis, TIT LARK.-Bill, spots on the head, breast and back black; above greenish brown; breast yellow; throat, belly and vent white; two outermost tail feathers white on the outer webs; over the eyes a palish streak: length five inches and a half; extent nine inches; weight nearly 5 drams.
3. Alauda Arborea, WOOD LARK.-A yellowish white ring round the head; crown, throat,
and back reddish brown, spotted with black; breast tinged with red; belly white; tail black, edged with white: length six inches; extent thirteen inches; weight 8 drams.
Sings in the night, or early in the morning, soaring in the air.
4. Alauda Trivialis, PIPIT LARK.-Above dull olive brown, with dusky spots; beneath pale ferruginous, with dusky spots; outermost tail feathers white for more than half their length; secondaries at the tip: length six inches and a half; weight 5 drams.
Nothing can be more amusing than the whisper of this little bird, which seems to be close by, though at one hundred yards distance; and when close to your ear, is scarcely any louder than when a great way off. Its note is like that of the locusta, whispering in the bushes. It is a most artful creature, skulking in the thickest part of a bush; and will sing at a yard distant, provided it be concealed. It begins its note în April.
19. Motacilla, WAGTAIL.
1. Motacilla Alba, White WagTAIL-Bill, mouth, head, neck, back, tail and legs black; breast, belly and sides of the tail white; tail and back claw very long: weight 6 drams; length seven inches and a half. Chirps in January.
Found at all times of the year, but mostly in spring.
2. Motacilla Boarula, GREY WAGTAIL.-Above dark grey; beneath buff yellow; vent and rump pale yellow; outermost tail feathers entirely white; secondaries on the inner webs: length nearly eight inches; extent ten inches; weight about 5 drams.
This bird is not so common as either of the other species. It remains with us all winter. 3. Motacilla Flava, YELLOW WAGTAIL.-Above olive green; beneath yellow; a yellow line above the eyes; tail edged with white: length seven inches; weight about 5 drams. This is a most elegant bird, and is not unfrequent.
20. Sylvia, WARBLER.
1. Sylvia Luscina, NIGHTINGALE.-Head and back reddish brown; tail deep tawny red; beneath pale ash colour; vent whitish; irides hazel; eyes large; legs deep ash colour: weight 6 drams; length seven inches; extent ten inches.
One was heard in the summer of 1828, in Normanton lane, near Derby. The following description of the varied song of this unrivalled bird, is taken from the ingenious author of the Histoire des Oiseaux: "The leader of the vernal chorus begins with a low and timid voice, and he prepares for the hymn to nature by essaying his powers and attuning his organs; by degrees the sound opens and swells; it bursts with loud and vivid flashes, it flows with smooth volubility, it faints and murmurs, it shakes with rapid and violent articulations; the soft breathings of love and joy are poured from its inmost soul, and every heart beats unison and melts with delicious languor. But this continued richness might satiate the ear; the strains are at times relieved by pauses, which bestow dignity and elevation. The mild silence of evening heightens the general effect, and not a rival interrupts the solemn scene." Nightingales begin to build in May."
2. Sylvia Modularis, HEDGE SPARROW.-Head deep brown and ash colour; back and tail blackish; throat and breast bluish ash colour; belly dirty white; legs reddish: weight six drams; length five inches and a half; extent nine inches.
Sings early in January; as soon as frosty mornings come they make a very plaintive piping noise. In breeding time they have a remarkable flirt with their wings.
3. Sylvia Phænicurus, REDSTART.-Bill, cheeks, throat and legs black; forehead white;
The jug, jug, jug, so frequent in the song of the nightingale, has afforded an opportunity for the imitative poetry in the following verses:
Lo, from yon silv'ry western star doth spread
(His mother's star, which with suspended light,
His wings, as he is wont, with pearls bedight,
Thy wan, wan, cheeks, so mournful and so white!
That bow so wished for by the broken heart;
In death, death, death! no more, no more, to part."
* N. *