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repeated searches have been made here by myself and others without success; but a young gentleman of the neighbourhood, Mr. Bewley of Poulton, was more fortunate in meeting with a nest early in June, 1865, suspended as usual between three or four reeds, and containing several eggs.-H. E. S.
TREE SPARROW. (Fringilla Montana.)
This lively and beautiful little bird seems to be little known in the district, and is often confounded with the common house sparrow, which builds so commonly around here in trees. It may, however, be known at a glance; its brown head (not grey), small size, black chuck, broadest at the base of the under mandible (not spread out on the breast), and light collar, are characters which cannot be mistaken. It often breeds in the fork of, or in a hole in, old cherry trees in old orchards. The eggs are much smaller, and generally browner and more blotchy, than those of F. Domestica; the nest is not so slovenly, and the bird is more "cocket" and sprightly than its homely relative.-C. S. Gregson.
GOLDFINCH. (F. Carduelis.) This is becoming a very scarce bird here, the high state of cultivation which has succeeded that of mediæval times, leaving no chance for its favourite food (thistle seed) to ripen. I took a nest in April, 1864, at Bidston, and set a specimen up, shot at Stanley.-Ibid.
TWITE. (F. Montium.) Another of our little-known birds, which is abundant upon our mosses but rarely noticed. In May, 1864, I took five nests and eggs one afternoon for a friend who wished to know the egg and nest. It is known to our local bird catchers as the "Manx Linnet," and may be recognised among linnets by its small
I last spring found the nest of this species in a very different position, and presenting other peculiar features.-Vide Liverpool Naturalists' Journal, Sept., 1866, p. 64.-H. E. S.
yellow bill, and by the male having a pinky-red rump.C. S. Gregson.
LESSER WHITETHROAT. (Curruca Sylviella.) Continues to nest, though very sparingly, in plantations near the upper part of old Wallasey Pool.-H. E. S. The bird may be met with at Storeton, Raby, and West Kirby.— C. S. Gregson.
LONG TAILED TITMOUSE. (Parus Caudatus.) Bottle Tit, Long Tailed Mag, &c. A beautiful nest of this species I had the pleasure of securing in a wood near Bromborough, 22nd April, 1865. It was placed in a bush of commingled blackthorn and wild briar, but neither shrub was as yet in leaf; stranger still, this selected position was close to a pathway, occasioning the little domicile to be very conspicuous at the distance of at least a dozen yards. The male bird was perched somewhat higher in the bush, but occupied doubtlessly in communicating warnings to his mate. He did not fly until approached within a foot, quickly followed by the female from the interior, who yet contrived to leave several feathers across the orifice to hide it from the gaze of intruders. The admirable architecture of the domicile naturally proved a strong incentive for its uninjured removal, and, therefore, all the branches to which it was attached were carefully severed below and disentangled above; but unfortunately most of these proved to be dead wood, and broke before my prize could be conveyed from the thicket into the open; consequently a looseness has been engendered in the excellently compact structure, but the original beautifully oval form is fairly preserved. The materials employed prove to be chiefly mosses of various kinds interwoven with lichens, flattish pieces of the latter covering and protecting the exterior like the mascled armour of former ages.
The interior is composed of fine wool, lined with small feathers, a few larger ones being left handy for hiding the orifice as mentioned. The outline of the nest much resembles that of a lemonade bottle minus the neck, whence the usual appellation of this curious bird, Bottle Tit, and considering the small size of the architect, its domicile is large and long, but allowance must be made for the requirements of the tail, which, being fully half an inch longer than the rest of the body, absolutely necessitates a considerable elevation, as during incubation &c., the caudal appendage is turned upward, not projecting sideward, as Mr. Selby assumed when he ventured to assert―" a small hole is left on two opposite sides of "the nest, not only for ingress and egress, but also to prevent the bird during incubation from being incommoded "by its long tail, which then projects through one of the " orifices." Messrs. Bond, Newman, and others, very naturally demur to such a statement, which is not confirmed by naturalists of the districts where the bird breeds numerously, i.e., the midland and southern counties. Its nesting in Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Cheshire is not frequent; and I believe the present is the first-recorded instance in our immediate neighbourhood, although the keeper at Bromborough informs me he has for some years met with a single nest in a season. The eggs in this instance were found to be the complement, or nine in number, and white, but minute reddish brown spots are occasionally visible upon the produce of this species.-H. E. S.
GOLDEN CRESTED REGULUS. (Regulus Cristatus.) Golden Crested Wren. Breeds exclusively in fir plantations, which here are confined to the higher sandstone uplands, where its nest was formerly of common occurrence; now it is becoming scarce in the Bidston and Stourton
plantations.-H. E. S. It visits us more numerously in the winter. During November and December, 1863, this bird assembled in great numbers in the plantations and shrubberies at Aigburth; those I shot were in very good condition.-John Johnson.
NIGHT JAR. (Caprimulgus Europeus.) Night Hawk or Churr, Flying Toad. This interesting bird is, through wanton shooting, becoming scarce on our upland heaths and fir plantations, where, as now upon the more inland mosses of Lancashire and Cheshire, undisturbed by cultivation, it abounded. Its eggs are now rarely secured; and being deposited without any covering, are easily seen by depredators, human as well as canine.H. E. S. In August, 1864, my son saw a night jar upon the roof of our house, 10, Brownlow Street, a rare instance of its visiting the centre of a large and populous town.-R. Reynolds.
STOCK DOVE. (Columba Enas.) Breeds sparingly in rabbit burrows among the sandhills beyond the Hoylake race course, at Little Meols, and more frequently in those of the river bank between this village and Neston; likewise upon Caldy Hill, where it is known as the " Hill Pigeon,” whilst at Little Meols, "Sand Pigeon" is the designation. The bird also occasionally is found, under the name of "Hill Pigeon" (from the sandhills), incubating in abandoned burrows between Formby and the shore. Near the Point of Air this species breeds numerously in similar positions.-H. E. S.
ROCK DOVE. (C. Livia.) Blue Rock Pigeon. A pair took possession of the entrance to an old rabbit burrow above the western sea cliff of Middle Hilbre in 1865, whence I procured an addled egg in July. This spot no doubt was selected in default of a sufficiently elevated crevice in the rock to insure protection; but that the species does
not wholly confine its nestings to holes in rocks and cliffs, is shewn by its breeding in the neighbourhood of the lastnamed, in the high clay bank near Daw Pool, and having two or more broods in a season. It is not unlikely, as has been suggested to me, by my friend Mr. Alex Cooke, that among these blue pigeons may be found some stragglers escaped from domestication, in which case a mixed breed may be the result.-Ibid.
RINGED PLOVER or RINGED DOTTEREL. (Charadius Hiaticula.) "Sand Lark," but more usually the "Tullet" of the Cheshire, and "Tew William" of the Formby shore, so denominated from its peculiar plaintive cry. It yet breeds sparingly on the Lancashire side of the estuary, but has long been scared from incubation at its old Cheshire haunts, unless possibly about Daw Pool.-1bid.
(Hæmatopus Ostralagus.) Probably breeds on the opposite (Flintshire) shore, but no longer upon the Cheshire side of the Mouth of Dee-although suspected by the country folk to lay both upon the banks around Hilbre and higher up the river-as careful enquiries have failed to acquaint me of any eggs or young having been secured of late years. During the winter season the bird is not infrequently met with on our shores; being a very wary one, it is however but seldom brought down by the sportsman.-Ibid. WHIMBREL. (Numenius Phæopus.) For some years I have known the whimbrel bred on our "mosses," and this year requested a friend to search carefully for its nest. He failed in finding it until after incubation, but killed the male and forwarded it to me. I believe this bird has a passage to its nest like some of the warblers, and have repeatedly seen the newly hatched young, but could never