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Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 3 (1899).djvu/158

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THE ZOOLOGIST.

plentiful numbers. The sun was so genially warm that lolling on the grassy banks was a pleasure. Add to this the fact of Stonechats hurrying across to their breeding haunts, and the Chiffchaff with us, and we get a picture for the middle of February, 1899, to which I can find no parallel. It reads more like the middle of April. I do not think that the few frosty nights we have lately had will cause much inconvenience to other Chiffchaffs which may have arrived, as I have seen these birds singing vigorously in backward spring seasons; also in late autumn, when every twig has been thickly covered with hoar frost.—F. Coburn (7, Holloway Head, Birmingham).

I have recently examined the Chiffchaff (supra) which was killed at Castle Bromwich by a friend of mine on Feb. 16th last. It was singing, but in very subdued notes. Possibly, owing to mildness of the present winter, it may have wintered with us, or at least in this country; if not, then it is a remarkably early occurrence, seldom being heard in Warwickshire before the third week in March.—J. Steele-Elliott (Clent, Worcestershire).


Pied Flycatcher in North Wales.— In Capt. Swainson's sketch of the distribution of this species (Muscicapa atricapilla) in Wales (Zool. 1893, pp. 420–424) no mention is made of Carnarvonshire, and only two instances of the bird nesting in Denbighshire are cited. To the woods—chiefly composed of oak, ash, and fir—in the Conway and Llugwy valleys, on the border of the two counties, at Bettws-y-Coed, the Pied Flycatcher is an abundant summer visitor. During a short stay in that neighbourhood in the middle of May, 1898, I used to see the birds daily, and so plentiful were they that on more than one occasion I encountered half a dozen pairs in the course of a morning ramble. On the 11th of the month I watched two birds carrying nesting material to a hole about eighteen feet from the ground in the bole of a tall oak in a small wood within a stone's throw of the village street, and saw two more pairs in the same wood. The deliberate but pleasing song of the male, reminding one of a Redstart's, is generally uttered when the bird is stationary, but sometimes during flight from tree to tree. When at rest both sexes constantly move their tails vertically, a habit common to the Whinchat and other birds. In its mode of feeding this species differs in several respects from the Spotted Flycatcher. Although I watched them for hours at a time, I never saw a Pied Flycatcher return to the same twig after darting out to catch an insect on the wing. The bird usually alights on a different branch, and often in another tree. Sometimes it clings Tit-like to a tree-trunk for an instant, and often feeds upon the ground. The chaste and beautiful colours of the plumage are never seen to greater advantage than when the bird hovers,