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period of the year, and frequently in winter. Within the first fortnight of December, 1832, I heard it sing on the mornings of five different days; and on the 7th of the ensuing month two were heard at the same time. Under December the 2nd, 1838, it was noted at the Falls, that during the preceding eight days there had been most severe gales from the east and west, through the stormiest period of which-chiefly in the morning—this bird was heard singing, as is its habit during storms in the spring. On the 26th of December, 1845, it was heard singing at the Falls for the first time that season.
As soon as the breeding season is over, these birds assemble either in families or large flocks-generally unassociated with other species—and are very destructive to the fruit in certain gardens and orchards about Belfast. On the 5th of July, I once saw two or three families congregated; and on the 1st of August, 1832, fifty-four were reckoned in a flock in the garden at the Falls, where, during the month, they consumed almost the entire crop of raspberries. Several of the young birds were caught in rat-traps baited with this fruit. At the end of August the same year, they resorted in such numbers to an orchard, containing the most venerable fruit-trees in the vicinity of the town, that on one morning twenty-six, and on the next, seventeen of them were shot, and, with one or two exceptions, singly: late cherries were the attraction. Missel-thrushes were that year more than usually abundant. In 1833, the report of the gardener at the Falls was not, however, very satisfactory;—that since they had eaten the greater part of the raspberries, and had cleared the trees of the late crop of cherries, he had not seen many. In the months of July and August in 1837 and 1838, but especially in the latter year, they were likewise most destructive to the raspberries here, and appeared in flocks consisting of forty or fifty individuals at a time. The injury was not confined to the mere loss of the fruit, but was increased by their weight breaking off the shoots on which it grew. Scarecrows attired after the fashion of men, and a rattle, such as is erected in fields of grain to frighten off feathered depredators, were used against them with some effect. I have been
thus particular, as similar depredations on the part of this species have not been related in any ornithological work with which I am acquainted. In his History of Selborne, White remarks, that “missel-thrushes do not destroy the fruit in our gardens like other species of Turdi," and on this passage (so far as I have noticed) not one of his numerous commentators has made an observation. Sir Wm. Jardine * particularizes only “wild-berries” as their food; hence we may conclude that the gardens known to him have been exempt from their attacks. In an anonymous contribution to Loudon's Magazine of Natural History, facts similar to those I have brought forward are recorded (vol. iv. p. 184).
The stomachs of two individuals, examined by me in January and September, contained the remains of coleopterous insects in addition to vegetable matter. Mr. J. Poole mentions " lob-worms” as their general food, but that in one stomach he found several small green caterpillars, some Scolopendre, and the remains of a lizard. These birds vary much in numbers in different years, and are capricious as to localities, not a flock, either large or small, being seen in some seasons at places where they are usually common. I have been particularly reminded of this by not seeing one about Holywood House during the autumn of 1847, while in that of 1846, and commonly, they were in such numbers, that from twenty to thirty would be seen at a time feeding on the berries of the mountain-ash trees (Pyrus aucuparia) near the windows of the dwelling-house.
Friends who have had better opportunities for observation than myself, are of opinion that the flocks seen in July and August about Belfast, and believed to be bred there, migrate southward, which supposition is strengthened by the statements of correspondents residing further south; and by the fact that the birds are never seen in numbers during the winter, though a regular stock is kept up throughout the year. In Connemara, the species is said to be common in winter, and only at that season.t Its “average winter arrival” to the neighbourhood
* Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 77.
+ Mr. M'Calla.
of Toomavara, in the county of Tipperary, is noted by the Rev. T. Knox, to be about the 7th of November; in summer it is also met with there in pairs and limited numbers, as well as about Killaloe, his former residence.
Mr. Macgillivray remarks that he has not met with this bird in the northern division of Scotland (B. B. vol. i. p. 121), but as many as thirty together were commonly seen by my friend Richard Langtry, about Aberarder—sixteen miles southward of the town of Inverness in the autumn of 1838. They at . first frequented the heath (adjacent to a wood), as he supposed for the purpose of feeding on the berries of the trailing Arbutus or bear-berry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), and afterwards destroyed the cherries in the garden, several at a time being engaged picking the fruit from a single tree. Over the southern portion of Scotland, the missel thrush is remarked by Sir William Jardine to be "generally distributed.” It has, as in Ireland, increased much of late years. When on a visit in August, 1839, to a most observant sportsman, near Ballantrae, in Ayrshire, he remarked that this bird was quite unknown there until the few preceding years, within which time two of its nests were built near the village, and large flocks were seen at Auchairne; in the glens about which place there are extensive young plantations. On the 2nd of September, I remarked a flock of a dozen at Glen-tig, in the same district. In the summer of 1826, I met with this species in Switzerland, but not so commonly as in its favourite haunts in Ireland.
Turdus Whitei, Eyton.
Has once occurred in Ireland, As noticed by Mr. G. J. Allman (now Professor of Botany in Trinity College, Dublin,) in the 11th vol. of the Annals of Natural History, p. 78. The communication is dated Dec., 15th, 1842, and states that the writer is in possession of a specimen of this very rare bird, obtained about ten days previously in the neighbour
hood of Bandon, county of Cork. It is said in the Fauna of Cork, that the gentleman at whose place the bird was obtained, saw what he believed to be another of the same species there; but when, is not mentioned
Two specimens, at most, of T. Whitei have been obtained in Great Britain, and both in Hampshire. The one which has served for the descriptions and figures of the species was shot by Lord Malmesbury in January, 1828. The Irish specimen is similar to it. The following notes upon this bird were made in Dublin in September, 1845, when a comparison was also drawn up between it and a thrush from Nepal, so far as the imperfect specimens would admit:—the Irish bird wants the head and neck; the Nepal one, the legs. The latter specimen was presented by Mr. Hodgson to the museum of Trinity College, Dublin, under the name of Oreocincla Whitei, and noted as a duplicate of one (and numbered 194), which he had presented to the British Museum collection.
specimen specimen Length of wing . . . . . . . . . . 6 inches 57 First quill feather about equally short in both. . 1st quill, tip from carpus, . . . . . . . . 3rd quill (longest), exceeding 4th (next in length)
2nd 4th ,
The tail of the Irish bird in length and size generally, exceeds that of the Nepal one, as much proportionally as the wing. In colouring and marking the two birds are similar,--agreeing with the descriptions and figures of Eyton and Yarrell,—with the
oft ook w role ole ole
* This trivial difference is exceeded by one half in the other wing of the same specimen. In the one wing, the third and fourth quills are of equal length ; in the other, the fourth exceeds the third by one-twelfth of an inch.
unimportant difference of the Irish one being the deeper in tint, owing, it may be presumed, either to its being killed sooner after moult, or being less exposed to the sun and weather than the Nepal bird. The mere disagreement in size between them is not, I consider, of any specific consequence; but the discrepancy in the relative length of the quill feathers to each other may be so considered, should it prove to be a permanent character.
Turdus pilaris, Linn.
Is a regular winter visitant, APPEARING generally in the north towards the end of October or beginning of November. In 1840, they did not arrive at the Falls, near Belfast, until the 9th of November, on the morning of which day a flock was seen there by Wm. Sinclaire, Esq., at a great height in the air, coming from a north-easterly direction : this gentleman is of opinion that in the course of the preceding moonlight night, they may have come in one flight direct from Norway.
The first redwings of the season made their appearance at the Falls, under precisely similar circumstances, after a fine moonlight night a month before. So early as the 24th of September, 1847, I saw a small flock of fieldfares at Holywood House (co. of Down) and a larger flock of redwings; they were quite separate. The first arrival of the fieldfare in the county of Wexford has been noted in different years from the 20th of September to the 2nd of November.* Mr. Macgillivray mentions its appearing in the northern and eastern parts of Britain” (vol. ii. p. 108) at the end of October or beginning of November. Sir Wm. Jardine, writing from Dumfries-shire, remarks, that “its time of arrival is late in November” (vol. ii. p. 81). I am assured by Mr. Richard Langtry that early in September, 1838, he raised two or three fieldfares from among juniper bushes, at Aberarder, Invernessshire. On the 28th of September, 1843, I saw several of these