Page:VCH Buckinghamshire 1.djvu/176

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

described it under the name of Motacilla regulus.)

Frequently seen in winter, but also breeding wherever a sufficient number of conifers invite its residence. The nest hangs beneath the extremity of a branch of fir, cedar, or rarely a yew, but Mr. A. H. Cocks noticed in May 1883 a nest, the young of which were hatched and reared in the ivy on a tree in his garden. It was not placed as usual at the extremity of a branch, but in the ivy on the stem, immediately underneath one of the largest branches.

18. Firecrest. Regulus ignicapillus (C. L. Brehm). This irregular and rare visitor to our islands must be included in the birds of Buckingham- shire on account of the following occurrence, which we quote with Mr. Alfred Heneage Cocks' own words : ' In the sixties, prob- ably about 1863 and most likely during one of the periods of school holidays, my brother noticed a little bird which kept flitting about a branchy tree in our garden at Great Marlow without flying away from it. My brother began throwing stones at it, and seeing what a pretty bird it was, I joined him. Shortly afterwards the gardener joined, and presently he succeeded in knocking it over. Fortu- nately I had it stuffed, but it was not until a number of years later that I discovered it was a firecrest.'

19. Chiffchaff. Phylloscopus rufus (Bechstein). Common in suitable localities, breeding in wooded gardens, parks and woods, and also passing through during the autumnal migra- tion.

20. Willow-Warbler. Phylloscopus trochilus (Linn.).

Generally distributed in summer, and as common as the chiffchaff. Migrants pass through in autumn. We have not noticed either this species or the chiffchaff in the winter months, nor even after the end of October.

21. Wood -Warbler. Phylloscopus sibilatrix )Bechstein). The wood-wren or wood~warbler bears its name rightly, for it breeds only where woods, principally of beech and oak, are found. In such localities however it is generally com- mon in the county. We have found it in many of the beech woods in the Chiltern Hills. Mr. Grossman writes us : ' This species was formerly and is no doubt still fairly plentiful in Burnham Beeches, and I have heard it in many of the woods between that place and Ashley Green on the borders of the county.' The Rev. Hubert D. Astley calls it common near Wendover.

22. Reed - Warbler. Acrocephalus streperus (Vieillot).

Not rare ; and generally abundant, where reed abounds. On the Thames, the rivers Ouse and Colne, the reservoirs near Halton, and in the osiers on large ponds. The eggs of the cuckoo are frequently found in the reed-warbler's nest. The nest is not always placed among the reeds, but sometimes some distance away from the water in bushes in gardens.

23. Sedge-Warbler. Acrocephalus phragmitis (Bechstein).

Found commonly in most parts of the county where banks of streams, rivers and ponds with a luxuriant vegetation afford opportunities for its nesting, and sometimes in thick hedgerows with nettles, willow- bushes and such-like localities, mostly near the water.

24. Grasshopper -Warbler. Locustella nævia (Boddaert).

Generally distributed, though apparently nowhere numerous. The late Lionel Wigles- worth observed it near Castlethorpe. We have seen eggs from near Aylesbury, and heard its curious song near Halton and Mentmore. Mr. Grossman found it on Farnham Common, Clark Kennedy records it from Chesham, High Wycombe and Drayton Beauchamp.

25. Savi's Warbler. Locustella luscinioides (Savi).

In Saunders' Manual of British Birds, ed. 2 (1899), p. 92, we read : 'There is some evi- dence that this species was noticed in May, 1897, in the Humber district, as well as near Olney, Bucks.' E. Hartert wrote to Mr. Saunders for more information, and the latter kindly replied as follows : ' In reply to your inquiry about the supposed occurrence of Savi's warbler near Olney, Bucks, I have to say that my informant was Mr. C. J. Wilson, M.B.O.U., an old friend of mine and an exceedingly good field-ornithologist. The bird, the note, the locality, all tended so strongly to show that the bird was a Savi's warbler that I put it in print. There is no other record.' One of us wrote to Mr. Wilson himself, and this gentleman assures us that he is fully convinced that the ' Savi's warbler is a just record,' as the bird was close to him for some minutes.