Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/240

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A HISTORY OF WARWICKSHIRE 129. Teal. Nettion crecca (Linn.) Of not infrequent appearance as an autumn and winter visitor, sometimes appearing in considerable flights, but remaining only for a short time. It is reported to have bred in Sutton Coldfield Park, where it is abundant in the winter. 130. Garganey. Querqitedula circia (Linn.) A rare spring migrant. Three or four occurrences only are known to the writer. 131. Wigeon. Mareca penelope (Linn.) Immature birds, appearing either singly or in small flights, are not infrequent on our streams in winter. In the early spring adult individuals occur, but only on passage, and have never been known to breed. 132. Pochard. Fuligula ferina (Linn.) Like the wigeon this is a winter visitor only, and in small numbers. It has appeared on the Avon and Tame, as well as on private waters. !33- Tufted Duck. Fuligula cristata (Leach) Immature examples are not infrequent in winter on our streams, but adult individuals are very rare. 134. Scaup-Duck. Fuligula marila (Linn.) Less frequently seen on inland waters than the pochard or tufted duck ; only a straggler, and generally in immature plumage. 135. Goldeneye. Clangula glaudon (Linn.) Immature or female birds of this species are not very rare in winter, and have been shot on the Avon and Tame, and on other waters, but adult males are of extremely rare occurrence. 136. Common Scoter. CEdemia nigra (Linn.) Of very rare occurrence on our inland waters. In three instances only during a long period has the writer met with it in Warwickshire, twice on the Avon, and once on the sheet of water in the park at Ragley. It has however occurred at Sutton Coldfield. 137. Surf-Scoter. CEdemia per spidllata (Linn.) A specimen of this rare bird which was shot on the Avon a few miles down stream from Stratford was brought to H. Coombs of that town some years since for preservation, where it was seen and secured by the present writer. It is an adult male in full black plumage with the characteristic white mark- ings on the neck. 138. Goosander. Mtrgui merganser, Linn. Although not of frequent occurrence it is certainly not very rare in the county in the winter. It is however a very uncertain visitor. 139. Red-breasted Merganser. Mergus serra- tor, Linn. Very rare in Warwickshire, one example only having come to the knowledge of the writer during a long period, which was an immature male shot in the Avon. Mr. Chase reports it to be of equal rarity in the district around Birmingham, and Mr. Steele Elliott quotes one instance of its occurrence at Sutton Coldfield. 140. Smew. Mergus albellus, Linn. Has occurred once in the county, namely as Elford near Tamworth. 141. Ring-Dove or Wood-Pigeon. Columba palumbus y Linn. Locally, Quice. A common resident. It feeds very freely in summer on the leaves of young field peas, turnips, or clover, often to the serious injury of the crop. Later on, namely at harvest, the pods of the peas are attacked and their con- tents consumed. In the autumn the quice visits oak trees to feed on the acorns, always taking by preference those trees which bear the smallest acorns. A good deal of green stuff, such as turnip tops and field cabbage, is eaten in the winter, as also are the berries of the ivy. 142. Stock-Dove. Columba aenas, Linn. A much less abundant bird than the quice, but sometimes associating with it in winter. The nest is generally in holes in trees, and occasionally on the crown of a pollard withy. 143. Turtle-Dove. Turtur communis, Selby. Sixty years ago this was a rare bird in Warwickshire, but it is now common as a summer migrant, the increase having been gradual and not by a sudden immigration. It seems to affect the low-lying fertile lands rather than the higher and more sterile ones. It is reported to appear in considerable num- bers in the north of the county and to breed there. 1 44. Pallas's Sand-Grouse. Syrrhaptes para- doxus (Pallas) In July, 1888, a flock consisting of nine individuals of this bird alighted in a clover field near Kineton, and were seen to be feed- ing, as was supposed, on the leaves of the clover. One was shot and taken into Stratford- on-Avon for preservation, where it was seen and examined by the writer, into whose col- 202