Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/228

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

A HISTORY OF WARWICKSHIRE 3. Redwing. Turdus i/iacus, Linn. There is not apparently any diminution in the number of redwings which arrive in the autumn, though when all hedge fruit has been consumed they seem to depart. They never, so far as the present writer has observed, feed on snails or field roots like the song- thrush, blackbird, or fieldfare. 4. Fieldfare. Turdus falaris, Linn. A regular winter visitor to the county of Warwick. The fieldfare is a much more omnivorous feeder than its congeners, often in severe winters it has recourse to fields of turnips and other succulent roots, and does considerable damage. 5. White's Thrush. Turdus vartus, Pallas. A bird of this species, which had been shot at Packington, was brought to Mr. Peter Spicer of Leamington, the son of the veteran taxidermist of Warwick, for preservation. The occurrence was duly recorded in the Field of November 5, 1898. 6. Blackbird. Turdus merula, Linn. From the observations of many years I am confident that the blackbird seeks for its food in winter almost wholly on the ground in woods, coppices, hedgerows, brakes, or shrub- berries, where it feeds chiefly on small gastero- poda and coleoptera. But that fruit in great variety is consumed all through the summer admits of no doubt. 7. Ring-Ousel. Turdus torquatus, Linn. Known in Warwickshire as a passing visitor in spring and autumn, but of very uncertain occurrence. It has however been too often noted to demand a record of its appearances, which have not been confined to any part of the county but spread over the whole of it. 8. Wheatear. Saxicola cenanthe (Linn.) A regular visitor in no great numbers in spring and autumn. There are two distinct varieties, a small one, which arrives early, and a larger one coming two or three weeks later. It is probable that the latter breeds occasionally in the county. In the neigh- bourhood of Birmingham the wheatear is recorded by Mr. Chase as common in spring, but whether the large or small variety has been noticed is not mentioned. 9. Whinchat. Pratincola rubetra (Linn.) A common and indeed abundant summer visitor, breeding freely in the meadows bor- dering the streams as well as in the open fields. 10. Stonechat. Pratincola rubicola (Linn.) A much less abundant bird than the last, and resident. It breeds most commonly in rough stony places, and the nest is generally carefully concealed. From the circumstance of pairs being commonly seen together in winter it seems probable that the Stonechat, like many other birds, pairs for life. 1 1 . Redstart. Ruticilla phcenicurus (Linn.) An early summer visitor to Warwickshire, and generally distributed in the county. The nest is always in a hole in a wall or tree, and far enough in to be out of sight. [Red-spotted Bluethroat. Cyanecula suecica (Linn.) Has occurred near Birmingham and is re- corded in Yarrell's History of British Birds, i. 322.] 12. Redbreast. Erithacus rubecula (Linn.) Though common and resident the robin is not abundant. 13. Nightingale. Daulias luscinia (Linn.) A well known summer migrant to the greater part of the county, but showing a decided preference for the low lying alluvial tracts. In the Birmingham district it is however stated by Mr. Chase to be numerous and to breed. Yet Mr. Steele Elliott speaks of it as rare at Sutton Coldfield, indeed he only gives one instance of its appearance there, namely on August II, 1895. 14. Whitethroat. Sylvia cinerea (Bechstein) Common in every hedge-bottom and brake throughout the summer. 15. Lesser Whitethroat. Sylvia curruca (Linn.) A far less common summer migrant than the last named, and frequenting trees and bushes rather than the rubbish in the bottom of a hedge. The nest is a beautiful struc- ture, thin and fragile looking, but strong, and often placed some distance from the ground. 1 6. Blackcap. Sylvia atricapilla (Linn.) A common summer migrant, arriving early, and generally distributed, though much more frequently seen and heard in the low-lying parts, especially in the valleys of the Avon and other streams. It is quite a mimic, but has a very sweet, wild, but intermittent song of its own, which can never be mistaken for that of any other bird. 190