Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/246

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

A HISTORY OF SURREY There have, however, been several books published, all more or less deal- ing with the avifauna of the county, and the chief of these was a little work, published in 1 849, under the title of The Letters of Rusticus. This treated very fully of the avifauna of the Godalming district, and was the joint production of a group of enthusiastic naturalists in that town Messrs. Newman, Kidd, Salmon and Stafford. The last-named gentle- man brought together a large local collection of birds during a very long residence in that neighbourhood, and his ornithological museum passed at his death practically intact into the possession of Charterhouse School, where it now remains. It is by far the most interesting and, in fact, the only really important collection in the county of local interest. Although since and before the publication of The Letters of Rusticus there have been issued several works possessing some local references, the only attempt to bring together all the county history and ornithological records under one cover has been that of Mr. John A. Bucknill, in his recently published work on the Birds of Surrey, from which have been quoted in the ensuing catalogue of species the occurrences of most of the rarer local visitors. i. Missel-Thrush. Turdus viscivorus, Linn. been regarded by the classic authors as of A common resident in the rural districts, more or less authentic origin, but the circum- but rapidly decreases in numbers near the stances attending its capture are not wholly metropolis. Locally largely reinforced by uniformly stated by the prominent ornitho- autumnal immigration. logical authors. 2. Song-Thrush. Turdus musicus, Linn. 6. Blackbird. Turdus merula, Linn. A very common resident in the county, A very common resident, its numbers being penetrating also to the parks and gardens of swelled by considerable parties of autumnal even the most thickly-populated suburban migrants. It may be found in many of the areas. Receives some additional strength by Surrey metropolitan parks. Very subject to migrants in autumn. albinism, pied varieties being quite common. 3. Redwing. Turdus iliacus, Linn. A common winter visitor to the open parts of Surrey, but being essentially a bird of the fields is comparatively seldom observed in the immediate neighbourhood of London. Ar- rives in October and leaves at the end of March. It has been reported to have nested in the county, but on evidence which is not now regarded as accurate (Bucknill, p. 5). 4. Fieldfare. Turdus pilaris, Linn. A common winter visitor, resembling in its habits and distribution the preceding species ; known in Surrey by several names, ' felter- birds,' ' blue felt,' etc. 5. Siberian Thrush. Turdus sibiricus, Pallas. The late Mr. Frederick Bond had in his collection a bird of this species. The speci- men, which is now in the National Collection, is a female and was shot near Guildford, in February, 1865 (Bucknill, pp. 15-17). It is the only British-taken example which has 7. Ring-Ousel. Turdus torquatus, Linn. In former years this beautiful species was a regular visitor to many parts of Surrey on its spring and autumnal migrations, and may have at one time bred on the western hills (Bucknill, p. n). It is now much restricted in the county localities which it visits, and may be said to be practically confined to the high hills of the south and the west. On these it may sometimes be observed at the proper seasons, but it can nowhere in Surrey be regarded at the present day other than of somewhat unusual appearance, its diminishing occurrence being due to the many causes which have assisted towards the decrease of the rarer of the avifauna of the county. 8. Wheatear. Saxicola cenanthe (Linn.). A regular summer visitor, breeding not un- commonly on some of the commons and downs of the county. Rather local in its distribution. 204