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REED WREN or WARBLER, who has a quick irregular strain of notes. 66 It is found near wet ditches and fens, the margins of rivers and pools overgrown by reeds and tall aquatic plants; and is most frequent in the counties south of Nottinghamshire."* Montagu says, “ it may be distinguished from its neighbour the sedge warbler (found, but more commonly, in similar situations), by the base of the bill being broader, having no light stroke over the eye, and in the whole upper parts being of one plain colour. The nest being deep gives security to the eggs, which would otherwise be thrown out by the wind. We have seen," continues that excellent observer, “the bird sitting on her nest when the wind blew hard, and at each gust forced it almost to the surface of the water.”

By the side of every stream, amid the sedges and the willows, there is to be found another elegant summer visiter, of superior song, called the SEDGE WARBLER; the upper parts are yellowish brown, and it has over the eye a whitish stroke. This bird makes its nest in a tuft of rushes, in a low bush, or on the stump of a willow. Its pleasing song has often been given erroneously to the reed bunting or black

* Selby.

bonnet, found about the same places, and generally conspicuous on the upper branches whilst the true minstrel is concealed below.

We have often listened to this bird with great pleasure. In the still evening, and even in the night, from its cool retreat it pours forth its interrupted though unwearied song. “ This consists of a great variety of notes, amongst which may be observed close imitations of the swallow, lark, sparrow, and linnet, mingled with other and more guttural notes; and the whole delivered with great rapidity."* In general, it remains concealed from view in the closest reeds and bushes; but will sometimes sing perched on the very top of a small branch; or warble in its flight (which, on such occasions, is very peculiar), from one station to another, at short distances.

A different author says : ster of wonderful powers; he may be called the Italian as to style, for the whole excellence consists in the variety and extremely ridiculous rapidity of his execution. It is impossible to give any thing like an intelligible description of his long-continued extravaganza : spirited, changeful, precipitously running over every note

66 This is a song

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and half note within the compass of his pipe, quicker than even attention can follow."*

The early morning notes of birds have been well described by a late writer : one of the first is the restless inquisitive robin:-“This is the last bird that retires in the evening, being frequently flitting about when the owl and the bat are visible; and awakes so soon in the morning, that little rest seems required by it. The worm is its food, and few that move upon the surface escape its notice. The cheerful melody of the wren is the next we hear, as it bustles from its ivied roost; and we note its gratulation to the young-eyed day when twilight almost hides the little minstrel from our sight. The sparrow roosts in holes, where the light does not so soon enter, and is rather a tardy mover. It retires early to rest. The blackbird quits its leafy roof in the ivied ash, and, with mellow sober voice, gratulates the coming day. The plain-song cuckoo grey from some tall tree now tells its tale; the lark is in the air; the martin twitters from her earth-built shed; all the choristers are tuning in the grove; and, amid such tokens of awakening pleasure, it becomes difficult to note priority of voice. When

• Magazine of Natural History, No. xviii.

blessed with health, having peace, innocence,
and content as inmates of the mind, perhaps
the most enjoyable hours of life may be found
in an early summer morning."
« And that same dew which sometimes on the buds

Like round and orient pearls was wont to swell,
Stood now within the pretty flowrets' eyes

Like tears, that did their own disgrace bewail !” From the watery margins and low valleys let us turn to dry upland commons and barren heaths : even there we shall find visitants of summer peculiar to the scenes they inhabit, and each sending forth its voice of gladness to animate the waste.

In crossing extensive downs or stony tracts near the coast, the WHEATEAR, or White RUMP, will often flit before us: its grey and white plumage easily distinguishes it. It is much esteemed for the table; and many thousands are annually taken in snares, every autumn, on the downs of Sussex. Two clods are placed edgewise, leaving a small opening between them, and at each end of the passage a snare is fixed: the wheatear, seeking shelter or shade, is thus decoyed to his destruction. This bird is found thinly scattered through many parts of England, and is not unfrequent on rocky wastes

Knapp's Journal of a Naturalist.

66 He is an

in Wales. Mr. White remarks, that even in Sussex, where so many are taken, they are never gregarious, but only seen two or three at a time; and thinks they do not all leave this country in winter, as he saw a few stragglers in many counties at all times of the year.

The Whin or FURZE Chat is found on every extensive common in the summer. alarmist, flitting from bush to bush before the passenger ; uttering a quick chee, chuck, chucking cry, accompanied by a quick jerk of the wings and tail.”* It is to be remarked, that it almost always alights on the topmost spray of the bush on which it rests, probably the better to look around it; and will sometimes diverge

little after some insect, and again resume its watch.

The STONECHAT, or STONE-CHATTERER, is another little bird, nearly allied in habits to the last, but not so elegant in plumage; it is chiefly found in stony wastes, is called sometimes the stone-smith, and his alarm-note sounds like one pebble smartly struck against another. This visitant has the habit of alighting in his short flights on the topmost stone of the wall or heap, as the whinchat does on the upper sprig of his thorn or furze bush.


• Magazine of Natural History.

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