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THE CAPERCAILZIE.-Letter VI., page 27, note ‡.

Since the date of the above referred-to note, the capercailzie, or woodgrouse, has been re-introduced into the Highlands of Scotland, by the exertions of the Earl of Fife, and more lately by Lord Breadalbane. A few years since, they had increased considerably in the woods around Taymouth, and had even strayed and bred in some adjoining properties.

Several of the American partridges might be introduced, as well as the little Virginian ortyx mentioned. They are a much more numerous group than was supposed at the date of the note, no less than thirty-five species being now described and figured in the beautiful monograph just completed by Mr. Gould. Several are from northern climates, and would in all probability succeed with us.

DEER-STEALING.-Letter VII., page 29, note.

The following notice, bearing on this subject, appeared in a late number of the "Times" newspaper :

"OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS.-The Solicitors of the Woods and Forests' have received instructions to give the necessary Parliamentary notices preparatory to the introduction of a bill to extinguish the right of the Crown to stock the New Forest in Hampshire with deer and other wild beasts of the forest, and to empower Her Majesty to inclose the several portions of the said forest."

MARSH PLANTS.-Letter VIII., page 32.

Mr. Bennet tells us that Bin's-pond is now "drained, and cattle graze upon its bed." The plants, therefore, alluded to, and mentioned more particularly in Letter LXXXIV. of present edition, or XLI. part 2, of other editions, will not now be found. Increase of population, cultivation, modern improvements, Railways, Commons' Inclosure Acts, Drainage Acts, &c. &c., have made sad changes in the localities-extirpation and introduction of both animal and vegetable life. White's letters are, therefore, very valuable records of what did exist; and the changes which have taken place can now only be marked by one resident on the spot; but however interesting Mr. Bennet's remarks are on these points, they can only be partial from the limited time he had to spare in the locality, while preparing his edition for the press. In our own vicinity we have seen these changes most marked, and surely progressing. The habitat of many rare muir or marsh plants exists only in recollection or in manuscript. Many birds frequenting unenclosed sub-alpine lands, have gone to seek haunts less intruded on-(are White's stone-curlews as abundant as formerly ?)-while from the increase of plantations, a few which did not visit us thirty years since, are now frequent. Cultivation is an enemy to various wild birds not included in the list of game. In Dumfriesshire, associations have been formed for the destruction of rooks, and committees appointed to take charge of districts There is another in Forfarshire, and fourteen thousand young crows

were destroyed within the week in the plantations of Inglismaldie. In East Lothian, an association by the local agricultural society was formed last year for the destruction of wood-pigeons; funds were subscribed, and premiums offered for the largest number killed. At Dunglass, the first premium was obtained, for the destruction of 1154 birds and 786 eggs; 916 and 804 birds were killed in other two localities; and, altogether, 8,000 head were computed as destroyed, counting two eggs as equal to one pigeon.

A curious communication relating to the above subject was inserted in the Lancet, by Dr. Henry William Fuller, of St. George's Hospital. In certain parts of Hampshire, partridges were found dead in the fields, sitting with their heads erect, and eyes open. Inquiry established that in the district, farmers were in the habit of steeping their wheat in a strong solution of arsenic; Dr. Fuller found it, by analysis, in the viscera of the birds, and traced it to the seed-corn in their crops.

Twelve tons of game left Kirkcudbright in one day; and to the value of four hundred pounds weekly from Kirkcudbright and Wigton.

THE WOOD-WREN.-Letter X., page 38.

The "little yellow-bird," so far as we can judge from the habits described, must be the Sylvia sibilatrix, wood-wren of modern British ornithologists. The Stoparola of Ray is the Muscicapa grisola, or spotted fly-catcher. The habits of feeding are exactly described. (See, further, its habits, Letter XL.) White is also quite right in supposing there are more than one "Motacilla trochilus." The true Motacilla trochilus of Linnæus, however, is a continental species, and has not yet been found to visit our islands.

THE BLACK-CAP.-Letter X., page 39.

The black-cap (Curruca atracapilla) is a regular migratory species here, or bird of passage.

Mr. Bennet has copied a note from Mr. Rennie, in his edition, in which he states :-"Dr. Heineken informs us that it (the black-cap) is stationary in Madeira, consequently Sir W. Jardine is wrong in thinking our birds retire thither." We have no doubt whatever that Dr. Heineken is right in "black-caps being stationary in Madeira," but it does not follow from that, that some do not migrate there also. The song thrush is stationary in Great Britain, but hundreds migrate to and from every year, so do the gold-crests, also snipes and many other species. "Where it is probable they partly retire," are the words of the original note, page 112 of present edition.

THE WATER-RAT.-Letter X., page 39.

Mr. Jenyns, in his edition, has given the best explanation of this passage regarding the Mus amphibius, and considered that it refers to the common water rat Arvicola amphibia, and that Linnæus was in error when he wrote "Pedibus palmatis." There is only one species of water

rat hitherto known in Great Britain; the black-coloured individuals, A. ater macgillivray, found in the north, and which we once captured in Sutherlandshire, being considered as only a variety. It is scarcely possible to decide now what other field mouse may have been referred to in this chapter, and it will be for Mr. Bell, the present proprietor and preserver of Mr. White's retreat, to discover which of the British species are most abundant in his vicinity. For an excellent paper on the distinctions of some of our small mammalia, see Rev. L. Jenyns in "Annals of Natural History," vol. vii. page 261.

THE FALCON.-Letter X., page 40.

Mr. Bennet states that the "Falco" proved to be the F. peregrinus, or peregrine falcon. The authority is W. Y. The yellow iris does not, however, agree with this, if in its long kept state White's report could be depended upon.

GROSSHAWK, CROSSBILL, &c.-Letter XI., page 41, notes * †.

There is little to add to this note, except that specimens of the bird continue to arrive at intervals, and from ornithology being more attended to, they appear to be more frequently discovered; the same localities repeatedly afford specimens, and another was killed in 1849, on the Northumberland coast, not far from Bamborough, in Budle Bay. Mr. Thompson has given a table of its recorded appearance in Ireland, in the first volume of his locally interesting "Birds of Ireland." It has occurred thirty-six times between 1819 and 1847.

The "Grossbeaks" referred to (same page) continue also to occur occasionally, and have been discovered by the late Mr. Doubleday to breed regularly in Epping Forest, from whence he kindly communicated to us both the nest and eggs. He considers their extreme shyness has hitherto kept us in ignorance of their habits, and states that their principal food was the seed of the hornbeam (Corpinus betulus). (See further "Mag. of Zool. and Bot." vol. i. page 448.)

The Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) is far from uncommon, but is very uncertain in its visitations; it is a bird which apparently breeds very early in the season. In our own vicinity, and in Roxburghshire, for several years previous to 1839, they were regularly seen, but not one has appeared since. In one season they remained from November to the July following, but no traces of nidification could be discovered. An excellent account of the structure and anatomy of the bill, and its accessaries, is given by Mr. Yarrell in the "Zoological Journal," Vol. IV. (See note in present Edition, page 124.)

FISH.-Letter XI., page 42 and notes.

The "Miller's Thumb," in the northern parts of our island, is not generally distributed. We do not know its exact range, but in the northern counties of England it is by no means general.

The broad-nosed eel (A. latirostris) is the grig or glut eel of Pennant.

Yarrell, Br. Fishes, where three British species are enumerated. Mr. Bell could easily ascertain the species of sticklebacks which are found around Selborne. There is a good paper by Dr. Parnell on the sticklebacks, with etchings of the costal plates, in Trans. Roy. Soc. Edinburgh.

BATS.-Letter XI., page 43.

Mr. Bell, in his "British Animals," describes seventeen species of bats as inhabitants of this country. It is only of late that the distinctions between nearly allied species have been pointed out, and several may be easily, and are constantly confounded. Mr. Bell has again to tell us which prevail at Selborne.

Pallas, in his travels, mentions a curious superstition regarding bats found in the grottos or natural caves in the neighbourhood of Pertova. In these caves they are in immense abundance, and are found flying and enjoying their gloomy solitudes at all hours. It is the opinion of the surrounding natives, who are very superstitious, that one of these bats dried, and carried suspended about the person as an amulet, will ensure good fortune and prosperity; and that boiling water, in which one of them has been dipped, when given as a drink, will prove an effectual remedy for intermittent fevers or rachitis in children.

MIGRATORY BIRDS.-Letter XIII., page 51, text and note*.

The great proportion of our migratory birds appear at the seasons of migration to separate into flocks, composed almost entirely of one sex. Thus we know that the males of many of the summer birds of passage arrive before the females; and it has been thought, by some of our ornithologists, that we receive an addition to the numbers of the chaffinch in the end of autumn. About this period they begin to assemble in flocks, and it has been also thought that these flocks were, in many instances, composed of females alone. This is, perhaps, the case to a considerable extent; but from many young males not having attained their full plumage it has been over-rated. In the South of Scotland, at least, the flocks are not of that exclusive sexual character; we have noticed that two-thirds at least were females, while not a half of the remaining third were males in full or nearly perfect plumage. In Ireland, Mr. Thompson states that the females assemble in very large flocks. These, from never being but with flocks of male birds, he is disposed to believe have migrated to this island from more northern latitudes.

THE BUNTING.-Letter XIII., page 51, note +.

The range of the common bunting extends generally, but locally, northward to Sutherlandshire and the Hebrides.

WAGTAILS.-Letter XIII., page 52.

Our original note to the wagtails has been omitted; it is—" Motacilla

D D

flava, yellow wagtail, is a summer bird of passage, arriving about the end of May, and leaving us about the end of August or middle of September."-W. J. The yellow wagtails alluded to by White would be the M. boarula, which has a black throat in summer; many pairs breed occasionally in suitable localities in Scotland and North of England, but a few only remain over winter, visiting the farm-yards or streams near a dwelling. Locality, however, is the principal breeding requisite, and were the southern counties always suitable we should find it there. Mr. Gould found it breeding last year in Buckinghamshire, near the Chenies, in a beautiful valley between chalk hills, and ascertained that it was not uncommon, while the Budytes flava, or yellow wagtail, did not occur. Of the pied, or Yarrell's wagtail, the habits in an alpine country are very similar to those of the grey species, but where the country becomes more densely peopled the manners are accommodated to circumstances, and the nest, though generally placed in the vicinity of water, is often built in the midst of a manufactory, and without apparent interruption from the noise and constant moving about of the workmen.

THE WHEATEAR.-Letter XIII., page 52.

The Wheatear extends from the Land's-End to Cape Wrath and the Hebrides, but in many districts it is gradually giving way to enclosures and plantations. It extends far northward, and is sometimes driven a long way out of its courses. One of these little birds was observed flying round the ship in Felix Harbour, on the 2nd of May, 1830, but was found dead the next morning, having arrived before the ground was sufficiently uncovered to enable it to procure its food.-(Ross, Append. to Second Voyage.) It has been once or twice killed in the island of Bermuda, by Lieut. Wedderburn, of the 42d Regiment, a locality far out of its track.

A most interesting Fauna might be written of the visitors to ships at sea, not only in the European seas, but even in the passages between Great Britain and Ireland, and from London or the south to the north of Scotland. If the observations were made in the spring and fall, with proper attention, some interesting migratory information would follow. The wheatear is a very common visitant at these seasons, sometimes remaining twenty-four hours on board.

RESPIRATORY ORGANS.-Letter XIV., page 55, text and note.

From the accounts of all, including Professor Owen, the puncta lacrymalia do not seem at all connected with the respiratory functions; and in a work like the present, which is likely to obtain a wide circulation, the opinion should not be allowed to go abroad as a fact. There is no connexion between the organs of respiration and these slits, and they are evidently the orifices of glands intended for some purpose or economy which apparently has not yet been resolved. Both Mr. Bennet and Professor Owen incline to the opinion that they are of sexual use and development.

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