Abbildungen der Seite

The Baltimore inbabits North America, from Capada to Mexico, and is even found as far south as Brazil. Since the streets of the cities have been planted with that beautiful and stately tree, the Lombardy Poplar, these birds are constant visiters during the early part of summer; and amid the noise and tumult of coaches, drays, wheelbarrows, and the din of the multitude, they are heard chanting their native wood-notes wild; sometimes, too, within a few yards of an oysterman, who stands bellowing, with the lungs of a Stentor, under the shade of the same tree : so much will habit reconcile even birds to the roar of the city, and to sounds and noises, that, in other circumstances, would put a whole grove of them to fight.-Wilson's American Ornithology.

That noble bird, the Otis tarda, or great bustard, still continues to breed in the open parts of Norfolk and Suffolk; though they are become much scarcer than formerly. The places most frequented by them are Westacre in the former county, and Icklingham in the latter.

Ruffs and reeves breed in the marshes of Norfolk; but they are becoming scarcer every year, on account of the old birds being eagerly sought after, as soon as they arrive, for the London markets; to which place also the eggs are sent, together with those of many other marsh birds. The reeve is very tenacious of her eggs. In the summer of 1817, a bird was taken upon the nest by the warrener's boy, at Winterton, who carried it to his master, and was ordered to set it at liberty: on the following day the same bird was found upon her eggs again.

In the early part of the month of April, 1828, a woodcock's nest was found in Chicksand woods, near Shefford, in Bedfordshire. It was considered a curiosity, and a great rarity, as they seldom breed with us, although there are a few instances on record of young birds being seen, especially in Sussex. In 1817, three young ones were found in the woods of Buscot Park, in Berkshire, the seat of J. E. Loveden, Esq. The eggs were about the size of a bantam fowl's egg, of a bluish-white ground, with irregular brown spots,

[graphic][merged small]

This bird is usually found in woods and forests, particularly those which abound in oak and beech trees, on which it is frequently seen seeking for insects, which compose its principal food. It is very like the yellow wren, and has not been much noticed as a distinct species, though it is not at all uncommon. This bird may be easily recognized by the singularity of its note, expressive of the word twee drawn out to some length, and repeated five or six times in succession, delivered in a hurried manner, and accompanied with a shaking of the wings. It makes an oval nest, constructed of dry grass, a few dead leaves, and a little moss; the nest is lined with finer grass and hair, and has a small hole near the top. The wood-wren lays six eggs, which are white, and sprinkled with purplish spots.

The vine now expands its empurpled leaves. Honesty, or moonwort, is in flower; and the new sprung leaves of the sweet chestnut, in their turn, are playing in the breeze.

Various kinds of insects are observed in this month; as the jumping spider, seen on garden walls; and the webs of other species of spiders are found on the bushes, palings, and outsides of houses. All the spider tribes possess poisonous fangs, with which they kill their prey; and in South America, some of the species are very large and appalling in their aspect, and will destroy even small birds. But, with the exception of the tarantula, the bite of the spider has little or no effect on the human constitution; though their external appearance, and the prejudices of early education, have stamped on them a character for virulence which they do not merit.

The Iulus terrestris appears, and the death-watch beats early in the month. The wood-ant begins to construct its large conical nest. Little maggots, the first state of young ants, are now to be found in their nests. The shell-snail comes out in troops; and the stinging-fly and the red-ant appear.

Caterpillar.-An experiment has been tried for three years to preserve gooseberry plants from the ravages of the caterpillar, by brushing the stems with a soft brush dipped in common train or fish oil, about the time of their first appearance, or at any time when infested, which appears to destroy or greatly to annoy them. It also much improves the growth and productiveness of the tree the following year, and clears it of moss. This communication is made pub. lic, in the hope of exciting experiments to prove how far it may be useful for the preservation of other trees.

The mole-cricket is the most remarkable of the insect tribe seen about this time. The blue flesh-fly, and the dragon-fly, are frequently observed towards the end of the month. The great variegated Libellula, which appears, principally, towards the decline of summer, is an animal of singular beauty. The cabbage butterfly, also, now appears. Captain Lyon, in his Travels in Mexico (Vol. I, p. 70), says, The number and variety of butterflies seen in April was quite astonishing; we frequently observed several square yards entirely covered with them. They always appeared to assemble in communities of the same colour; and none which differed in tints and size ever associated together, or varied the uniformity of the bright patches, which resembled little beds of flowers.

The black slug abounds at this season. For the best mode of destroying them, see T.T. for 1821, p. 129.

Of the beetle tribe now on the wing, the Scolytus destructor may be noticed for its extraordinary powers of injuring trees.

The sudden decay of some of the elm trees in front of St. Ca. therine Hall, Cambridge (says a correspondent of the Suffolk Chronicle), having excited the public attention, and given rise to a variety of erroneous opinions respecting its cause, I am induced to offer a few remarks upon this subject (the result of personal observation and experiment), as it is one of deep interest to all who possess wood-lands and ornamental plantations. It appears to be a prevailing opinion in the vicinity of Cambridge, that when the roots of a tree penetrate the blue clay, wbich extends over a large portion of the county, and in geological position lies immediately below the chalk, they cease to derive nourishment, and soon perish; but sufficient satisfactory evidence not having been adduced upon this point, I give no credit to the hypothesis, having, in repeated instances, found the real source of evil to proceed from the same cause as in the trees above alluded to, as well as in some which have perished in the plantations of Madingley Park. Their death has been decidedly occasioned by the ravages of a small beetle, of the genus Scolytus, and of the species emphatically termed destructor. This insect penetrates the bark till it reaches the alburnum, or soft wood. It is in this portion of the tree, and the inner bark or liber contiguous to it, that the vital principle more especially resides; and here the female insect works ber way for about two inches, in a direction parallel to the surface, and in 'her progress deposits numerous eggs. About September these are hatched into the grub or larva state, and from this period the work of destruction commences. The young grubs eat their way into the alburnum and liber, at right angles to the channel formed by the parent insect, and in parallel lines to each other's progress. Thus very considerable patches are totally deprived of vitality, and it will be readily understood, that when a tree has numerous wounds of this nature in a part so important to its functions, the circulation of its sap would be so impeded as to cause its immediate decay. From September to March, by removing a portion of the bark, the larva may be found of the size and much resembling the nut maggot; and about the latter end of May the perfect insects begin to make their appearance. These soon eat their way through the bark, and in June and July may be observed busily employed in preparing to deposit a fresh stock of eggs, for the propagation of a new brood of grubs, the harbingers of destruction for the ensuing year. When a tree bas perished, they no longer lay their eggs in it, but proceed to those in its immediate vicinity (a remarkable instance of wbich is exemplified in their ravages at Madingley), which are destroyed with greater facility, as the increase of the species is very rapid, and their numbers compensate for their diminutive size, eighty thousand being sometimes found in a single trce. By carcfully examining the bark, it may be readily ascertained which trees are infected. The bark will appear perforated with small holes in various parts, and little patches, similar to fine sawdust, will be found upon its rough surface and at the foot of the tree. This examination should take place wbile the insect is in the larva state ; and if the evil has proceeded far, the tree should be immediately cut down, and every portion of the bark taken off. Even this operation is not sufficient to destroy the enemy-the bark must be burned! But where the tree is only slightly infected, it may be done over with the oil of tar. This will penetrate the bark, and destroy all the larva lying towards the surface. April is, perbaps, the best time of the year for this operation, as the perfect insects are then working their way towards the surface, and will be obliged to eat through the bark freshly imbued with the liquid. Those healthy trees in the vicinity of the infected, which it is a particular object to preserve, ought likewise to be subjected to the same process, as an effectual preservative against the approaches of the insect. It has been suggested, that some mineral poison, as corrosive sublimate, might be advantageously mixed with the oil of tar; but I am not prepared to say whether the tree itself would not be injured by such an ingredient; the experiment has not been tried, and this test will alone determine. Those who may wish for further information respecting the form and characters of this insect, will find an elaborate description of it, together with an admirable figure, given by Mr. Curtis, in his Illustrations of British Entomology, No. 11, fig: 43. There is also an able paper upon its babits, &c. in the Edinburgh Pbilosophical Journal for 1824, p. 106.

The dung of animals swarms at this season with minute Coleoptera; several species of the Lepidoptera will also be found by carefully inspecting garden pales, gates in lanes, &c. Many species of bees may be seen sucking the pollen from the sallow, which blossoms at this season. Sand and gravel pits should be carefully examined, and under the stones and clods of earth many insects will be discovered.Samouelle's Introduction to British Entomology,

p. 315.

« ZurückWeiter »