Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 3 (1899).djvu/285

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By H.E. Howard.

The following notes were made between the hours of 2.30 and 6, in the morning of May 14th, in those extensive woods which once formed part of the Forest of Feckenham. A short account of these woods would perhaps be useful. They are very undulating, the highest point being about 400 ft. The trees are chiefly oaks, and in places where a year or two before the older ones have been cut down the ground is covered with low bushes of hazel and birch, with plants of various kinds; and here Warblers abound.

It was quite dark when I started on this morning. The first bird to begin singing was a Lark; this was about twenty minutes to three. They nearly always are the first to start, and, even though quite dark, they are high up in the air. A Redstart was next, followed closely by a Cuckoo.

It took me about twenty minutes to reach the wood, and by that time it was beginning to get light. The noise of the different birds singing was almost deafening; there seemed to be a Blackbird, Thrush, or Nightingale in every bush. Going some distance on, I sat down and listened. At first I heard nothing more than Thrushes, Blackbirds, and Nightingales, except a Nightjar, which was some distance in the woods, and a Fox which passed about fifty yards away, filling the wood with his unearthly howling. Now and then a Whitethroat would begin its song, but stop as if it was not quite awake. By 4 o'clock every bird was uttering a note of some sort or other.

Going farther in among the nut-bushes, I found Garden Warblers plentiful, and Blackcaps, of course, for a more jealous couple it would be impossible to find. The Blackcap is generally the aggressor; he flies at the Garden Warbler, and then starts to sing, his tail spread out and his wings drooping; and now is the