Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 2 (1898).djvu/481

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EDITORIAL GLEANINGS.

449

Sometimes when a pack of Killers set out Whale-hunting they will be joined by a Thresher — the Fox Shark (Alopias vulpes), and then while the Killers bite and tear the unfortunate Cetacean, the Thresher deals him fearful blows with his scythe-like tail. The master of a whaling vessel told me that off the north end of New Caledonia there was a pack of nine Killers which were always attended by two Threshers and a Swordfish. Not only he but many other whaling skippers had seen this particular Swordfish year after year joining in attacks upon Whales. The cruising ground of this pack extended for thirty miles, and the nine creatures and their associates were individually known to hundreds of whalemen. And no doubt these combats, witnessed from a merchant ship, have led to many Sea Serpent stories ; for when a Thresher stands his long twenty feet of slender body straight up on end like a pole, he presents a strange sight. But any American sperm-whaling captain will wink the other eye when you say "Sea Serpent."


Some Smelts have been caught in the Thames at Kew and Richmond. They were taken by anglers fishing with gentles for Roach and Dace. Last year Smelts worked as high up the Thames, and their presence there is of considerable interest, as it testifies to the increasing purity of the river. — Westminster Gazette, August 15th.


A society with the title of the Zoological Society of Edinburgh is being formed for the purpose of establishing a zoological garden. A public meeting was to be held early in October.


To protect the water-fowl and wild birds at Hampstead Heath some very pretty plantations have been made by the County Council near the ponds, and fenced in so as to keep the public from them. One result of this additional security is that there are now several broods of Cygnets, Wild Ducks, and Moorhens in the ponds. According to the keepers the wild fowl have trebled in number during the present year.


Mr. Lionel E. Adams has contributed "A Plea for Owls and Kestrels" in the 'Journ. Northamptonshire Nat. Hist. Soc.' for June last. The author rightly observes:—

The simple and direct test is the analysis of the "pellets" which these birds cast up. Many people (including a keeper that a friend of mine

recently interviewed) are not aware that Owls, Hawks, and many other

Zool. 4th ser. vol. II., October, 1898.

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