Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/183

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



culprit, though the badger, when it scents the young litter, usually digs straight down to the nest. There are badger-earths in the steep sandy bank under the roots of the pine. One may always know if they are tenanted as the badger's sanitary arrangements require that all refuse matter should be coated with earth, and thus, made up into balls, be rolled out of the burrow. The badger is known also to be a destroyer of wasps' nests which it unearths for the sake of the grubs.

These ancient woodlands, first amongst which in name and fame is the New Forest, are known to the entomologist as the haunt of many of our rarest and choicest insects. No tree fosters such a variety of insect life as the oak. Myriads of larvæ feed upon its foliage, chiefly those of the moths known as Geometers, whose caterpillars from their manner of progression are called "loopers," and the various Tortrices whose grubs roll up the leaves to form a protective case. Not infrequently we have the sorry sight of fine oaks, within a short time of their leafing, denuded of foliage until they are as bare as at Christmas. This is often the misdeed of the little Tortrix viridis. Some amount of recovery takes place by a later summer leafing.

Great numbers of beetles feed upon the wood and bark of the oak in every stage of their decay. The large, flesh-coloured grub of the goat-moth drives its burrows through the solid wood and ruins many a