The Zoologist/4th series, vol 4 (1900)/Issue 711/The Birds of Great Yarmouth and the Neighbourhood, Patterson
THE BIRDS OF GREAT YARMOUTH AND THE
By Arthur Patterson.
(Continued from p. 172.)
The arrangement and nomenclature of Howard Saunders in his 'Manual of British Birds' has been adopted in the following catalogue.
Abbreviations.—C. means common; F. frequent; F.C. fairly common; N.U. not uncommon; N.C. not common; F. frequent; L.L. lessening locally; S. scarce; R.R. rather rare; R. rare; A. accidental. B. of N. means 'Birds of Norfolk' (Stevenson); B. of S. means 'Birds of Suffolk' (Babington); Nor. N.S. means 'Transactions' of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society.
Turdus viscivorus. Mistle-Thrush.—L.L. Nested in market-gardens until end of seventies. Young birds from surrounding villages frequent the sand-dunes in the early autumn, seeking insects. Some scattered mulberry trees (themselves extirpated) were at one time an attraction. Buff variety shot, June 18th, 1898. Local, "Fulfer."
T. musicus. Song-Thrush.—C. Additions in autumn. Its services in autumn in destroying the Coleoptera and Limacidæ on strawberry-beds are not appreciated by country gardeners.
T. iliacus. Redwing.—C. Numbers depend upon severity of winter. In winters of 1878 and 1881 were starving by thousands. Caught by boys with their caps in the streets. Local, "French Mavish."
T. pilaris. Fieldfare.—C. Numbers fluctuate with weather. In mild winters very few. November, 1891, thousands on neighbouring marshes. Found several dead on 8th on the beach. Example washed up on April 23rd, 1893; undoubtedly a late emigrant. Local, "French Fulfer."
T. varius. White's Thrush.—A. A male example obtained at Hickling, Oct. 10th, 1871. This, the only Norfolk specimen, is in Norwich Museum.
T. merula. Blackbird.—C. Appears to be on the increase. Occasionally great numbers arrive in autumn. Have met with cream, buff, and mottled varieties.
T. torquatus. Ring-Ouzel.—R. R. Occurs in spring; less rarely in autumn. At one time not infrequent on North Denes, haunting the furze, amongst which Helix nemoralis was abundant. Nest discovered at Horsey by late Mr. Rising in May, 1855, containing four eggs. A second nest subsequently. (Nor. N. S.).
Saxicola œnanthe. Wheatear.—C. Scarcer than formerly; nesting at one time on North Denes, and occasionally now on neighbouring warrens. Immature birds fairly common towards September; then patrol the shore catching dipterous insects, which swarm at the high-water mark. Mr. E. Saunders had a pied variety, September, 1898. Unusually numerous, spring of 1899. Local, "White-rump"; "Shepherd-bird."
Pratincola rubetra. Whinchat.—L.L. Used formerly to be abundant on North Denes, nesting there. Local, "Furzechuck."
P. rubicola. Stonechat.—L.L.—Formerly fairly abundant on North Denes. Local, "Furzechuck."
Ruticilla phœnicurus. Redstart.—F. More frequently observed in autumn in the neighbourhood of North Denes. Local, "Firetail."
R. titys. Black Redstart. R. R.—First observed as a county visitant, Oct. 31st, 1848. Adult female shot on North Denes. Two others following year; several since. I picked up an example, killed by telegraph-wires, same locality, Oct. 18th, 1898.
Cyanecula suecica. Bluethroat.—R. An adult male was found dead on the beach, Sept. 21st, 1841; and another at Lowestoft in May, 1856. A local gunner, "seeking for any small bird, just to empty his gun at," killed a specimen on Breydon walls in September, 1883. Another recorded at Horsey, 1885.
Erithacus rubecula. Redbreast.—C. Additional numbers in autumn. I have seen it arrive on the coast.
Daulias luscinia. Nightingale.—F. Not uncommon at Fritton, and in neighbourhood of Belton. I have observed it on a tree-trunk warbling in broad daylight.
Sylvia cinerea. Whitethroat.—C. Abundant in summer all over the neighbourhood.
S. curruca. Lesser Whitethroat.—R.R. By no means so plentiful as S. cinerea.
S. atricapilla. Blackcap.—S. Occasionally observed in market-gardens, and near Fritton.
S. hortensis. Garden-Warbler.—S. Less often seen than even the Blackcap.
S. undata. Dartford Warbler.—R. Has twice been seen on North Denes. The second example was caught by a dog in a furze-bush, Feb. 25th, 1859 (B. of N.). In 1884 Sir Edward Newton saw one at Lowestoft.
Regulus cristatus. Golden-crested Wren.—C. Immense numbers arrive in autumn, usually first week in October, as was particularly the case in October, 1882, and again in October, 1898. Fishing-boats often swarmed with tired birds. Local, "Herring-spink."
R. ignicapillus. Fire-crested Wren.—R. Two or three times observed in the neighbourhood. A male in market-gardens, April, 1889. One caught on a smack at sea, December, 1881.
Phylloscopus rufus. Chiffchaff.—C. Used to be abundant in market-gardens in March.
P. trochilus. Willow-Wren.—C. Frequently seen and heard in neighbourhood on spring migration. A singular variety of a uniform pale yellow, becoming straw-coloured below, killed near Lowestoft in August, 1861 (B. of N.).
Acrocephalus streperus. Reed-Warbler.—F. C. Met with in the Broadland district; its name suggests its habitat. The nest has been observed at Ranworth, built in laurel-bushes by the water's edge (B. of N.).
A. phragmitis. Sedge-Warbler.—C. Found in every "carr," reed-clump, and waterside thicket. Heard at intervals night and day "chitty cha-ing" by the idler on the broads and rivers. Local, "Reed-bird."
Locustella nævia. Grasshopper- Warbler.— R. "Occasionally met with, but rare" (Paget). As a county visitant it is by no means numerous.
L. lusciniodes. Savi's Warbler.—A. A nest of this species is said to have been found near Yarmouth, which was sent to Mr. Newcome's collection at Feltwell (B. of N. vol. i. p. 113).
Accentor modularis. Hedge-Sparrow.—C. More frequent in town gardens in winter, when its familiar notes are frequently heard.
A. collaris. Alpine Accentor.—A. On Sept. 21st, 1894, I met with an example on Gorleston pier. It was feeding amongst the weeded pile-stumps and stones under the pier, and allowed me to approach it very closely, when I carefully observed its plumage and actions for some time through my glasses. Mr. Stevenson (B. of N. vol. i. p. 90) has not included this species, but refers to Mr. Lubbock as having seen one in 1824 on a grass-plot at Oulton, near Lowestoft. He refers to one other only for the eastern counties.
Cinclus aquaticus. Dipper.—R. An example shot on Breydon walls in 1849 (Nor. N. S. vol. iv. p. 269).
C. melanogaster. Black-breasted Dipper.—R. An example of this Scandinavian form obtained on the River Bure, Nov. 9th, 1896 (Nor. N.S. vol. vi. p. 506).
Panurus biarmicus. Bearded Titmouse.—F. Nests decreasing on the Broads; mercilessly persecuted by broadmen and others. Eight killed by duckshot, brought to market Nov. 19th, 1890; seven of these mutilated specimens still unsold on the 22nd. Four killed at Filby; on sale Feb. 1st, 1895. Mr. J.H. Gurney (Nor. N. S. vol. vi. p. 429) estimates ratio of local nests as follows:— 1848, 160; 1858, 140; 1868, 125; 1878, 90; 1888, 45; 1898, 33. Is locally known as the "Reed-pheasant."
Acredula caudata. Long-tailed Titmouse.—C. A regular although uncertain visitor in autumn. Resident and migratorial. Hundreds in town gardens, Oct. 1st, 1899. The Rev. Churchill Babington says the White-headed Long-tailed Tit has been met with in Norfolk, probably referring to the neighbourhood of Yarmouth.
Parus major. Great Titmouse.—C. Often numerous in early winter; this increase points to a migratorial influx. Has been secured on lightships. "An apparently (return) migratory movement was observed at Yarmouth in February, 1848" (B. of N. vol. i. p. 140).
P. britannicus. Coal-Titmouse.—F.C. I saw a large flock near the sea, on the North Denes, Nov. 5th, 1893. Suspecting they were immigrants, possibly P. ater.
P. palustris. Marsh-Titmouse.—F.C. I have no doubt this species is migratorial. Found on the marshy districts north and south of the town.
P. cæruleus. Blue Titmouse.—C. Much more in evidence in late autumn than at any other time. Local, "Pick-cheese."
P. cristatus. Crested Titmouse.—A. In the autumn of 1888 or 1889 (date unfortunately lost), I saw a bird which was unmistakably of this species among the firs on Caister Road. I had a gun at the time, and made two unsuccessful attempts to assassinate it with big shot. I followed it from tree to tree; becoming myself fast upon a nail protruding from a rail, it eluded me whilst endeavouring to extricate my nether garment. Has not hitherto been obtained in Norfolk. Has occurred, according to Babington, in Suffolk.
Sitta cæsia. Nuthatch.—R.R. Not uncommon in the Fritton woods and neighbourhood.
Troglodytes parvulus. Wren.—C. The autumnal additions appear to strike the coast higher up, and to work southward by land; then not in any numbers. Local, "Jenny Wren."
Certhia familiaris. Tree-Creeper.—R.R. Have observed it in the Fritton district.
Motacilla lugubris. Pied Wagtail.—C. Although not so numerous with us as formerly, a few remain in winter, a number arriving from the south in spring. Local, "Penny Wagtail."
M. alba. White Wagtail.—R. Two male examples obtained here on April 24th, 1888; a third on May 1st of the same year; another was taken alive at Lound, April 25th, 1896, and lived for some time in confinement.
M. melanope. Grey Wagtail.—R. The Messrs. Paget speak of it as not uncommon in winter. I have observed it in late autumn, recognizing it by its longer tail and more dipping flight as compared with others of this family. An example feeding against my boat-house doors, Dec. 27th, 1899.
M. flava. Blue-headed Wagtail.—R. Mr. E.T. Booth watched some on the edge of Breydon (Nor. N. S.). The second for the county was shot in April, 1851. One or two others recorded for district. Nest containing four eggs found at Herringfleet, June 16th, 1842, attributed to this species by the late Mr. Fisher.
M. raii. Yellow Wagtail.—C. Abundant in some years on marshlands. Males arriving "yellow as a guinea," by autumn have assumed a dingy hue.
Anthus trivialis. Tree-Pipit.—F.C. Has occasionally been taken in market-gardens. Also observed in neighbourhood of Belton.
A. pratensis. Meadow-Pipit.—C. More numerous in winter than in summer; frequenting salt marshes. Young birds in autumn often seen catching "sand-flies" at the high-water mark in company with young Saxicola œnanthe. Local, "Titlark."
A. campestris. Tawny Pipit.—R. A female caught in a clap-net on North Denes, Oct. 7th, 1897. One at Lowestoft, Sept. 2nd, 1889 (Nor. N.S. vol. vi. p. 508).
A. richardi. Richard's Pipit.—R. Several times taken or shot on North Denes: three respectively in November, 1841; April, 1842; and April, 1843. Mr. Babington records occurrences as follows:—One, marshes at Yarmouth, Dec. 26th, 1866; another, Dec. 27th; a third, Dec. 29th. The last occurrence was on Dec. 11th, 1894.
A. obscurus. Rock-Pipit.—F.C. I have frequently observed this species in autumn on the Bure and Breydon flint-faced walls. Have never seen it beside other than salt water.
A. rupestris. Scandinavian Rock-Pipit.—R. Mr. Booth secured an example at Horsey in March, 1871 (Nor. N.S. vol. iv. p. 277).
Oriolus galbula. Golden Oriole.—R. Has rarely put in an appearance in summer. A female killed near Yarmouth, Aug. 1st, 1850; another, probably the male, seen at the same time (B. of N.). Mr. E.T. Booth ('Catalogue of Birds') says he had seen nest and eggs in Norfolk. I have some recollection of a pair attempting to nest near Ormesby in the early eighties. One seen at Burgh Castle, May, 1883.
Lanius excubitor. Great Grey Shrike.—R.R. Visits us rarely in late autumn. Three or four met with January and February, 1891. One I kept alive, quickly became tame, taking his bath very soon after capture.
L. minor. Lesser Grey Shrike.—R. One shot in the spring of 1869; another taken in May, 1875. Both of them adults. (Nor. N.S.).
L. collurio. Red-backed Shrike.—R.R. Nested on North Denes up till the eighties. Have observed it feeding on the Field Vole (Microtus agrestis). Have observed young birds once since. Less frequent than formerly. Local, "Butcher-bird."
L. pomeranus. Woodchat Shrike.—R. An example obtained at Bradwell, April, 1829; another, April 29th, 1859; and a third, May, 1885. One also at Gorleston.
Ampelis garrulus. Waxwing.—R.R. An uncertain winter visitor. In some years arrives in most unexpected numbers; in others few, if any, are recorded. Early in 1893, several obtained in neighbourhood.
Muscicapa grisola. Spotted Flycatcher.—F. Have observed it darting at passing flies from a gravestone in Yarmouth churchyard, returning again to its look-out to watch for others.
M. atricapilla. Pied Flycatcher.—R.R. Unusual numbers observed on North Denes, June 1st, 1898.
M. parva. Red-breasted Flycatcher.—A. An immature female shot at Rollesby, Dec. 12th, 1896; the fourth example for the county, two of the others occurring in September, the third in October.
Hirundo rustica. Swallow.—C. Less frequently nesting in town; its nests are common enough in the pump-mills dotting the marshes, where they are found variously shaped, sometimes like a saucer on top a beam, at another fitting a hole formed by the crumbling of a brick. In 1878 a pair nested in the hold of a hulk, full of water, in the centre of Breydon, successfully rearing their young.
Chelidon urbica. Martin.—C. Have almost altogether forsaken the town through the persecution of the Sparrows, and from the constant destruction of their nests from the mud being rendered unstable, the roads being watered with sea-water.
Cotile riparia. Sand-Martin.—C. Last nested in sand-hills on North Denes in 1879. Great numbers come into the vicinity of the town in autumn; frequents the beach during westerly winds, seeking insects. Have found its nest in the Gorleston sand-cliffs lined with Flustra folicea and Gull's feathers.
Ligurinus chloris. Greenfinch.—C. Much persecuted by gardeners at radish-sowing-time, when, in company with Chaffinches, pilfering the beds. Augmented by arrivals in autumn, but they appear to strike the coast some miles north of Yarmouth, working, with other Passeres, southward along the sand-hills. Local, "Green Linnet."
Coccothraustes vulgaris. Hawfinch.—F. Visits us in uncertain numbers every winter. Have every reason to believe a pair tried to nest in a market-garden a few years ago, but were killed by a birdcatcher.
Carduelis elegans. Goldfinch.—L.L. Owing to incessant persecution by birdcatchers has so diminished of late years as to become almost a rarity with us. A hybrid between Goldfinch and Linnet netted at Acle, Sept. 4th, 1899.
Chrysomitris spinus. Siskin.—C. An uncertain autumn visitor, sometimes arriving in great numbers.
Serinus hortulanus. Serin Finch.—R. A male example shot at Yarmouth, June 13th, 1885; another netted on North Denes, Feb. 5th, 1887. A pair, April 1st, 1897 (Nor. N.S.).
Passer domesticus. House-Sparrow.—C. A great number repair all through the autumn to a clump of trees near St. Nicholas Church towards sunset, and chirp in chorus half an hour, making a great uproar, after which they disperse to their sleeping-quarters. Very destructive in villages around at harvest-time. One passed me within arm's length on Jan. 17th, 1881, coming from over sea with tired-out Twites, Linnets, &c. I am informed that during immigration some occasionally alight on lightships. My informant, an intelligent lightsman, on my suggesting he may possibly have mistaken Tree-Sparrows, distinctly referred to them as "House"-Sparrows, which he knew from P. montanus.
P. montanus. Tree-Sparrow.—F.C. Nests in the neighbourhood; I have found its nest under a tile in cart-shed. Have observed it arrive in October, alighting on sand-hills to rest after a tiring flight across seas.
Fringilla cœlebs. Chaffinch.—C. Great numbers arrive in autumn, many often perishing. Have observed it industriously feeding in winter on the seeds of Astor tripolium. The separation of the sexes is noticeable. Local, "Spink."
F. montifringilla. Brambling.—C. In some winters abundant. Winter of 1885–86 very numerous; again in 1894–95. Many dozens were caught by one birdcatcher who baited a certain meadow. Mr. J.H. Gurney (Nor. N.S. vol. iv. p. 278) refers to a rare "variety with a white chin, like a chevril Goldfinch," as having been killed at Yarmouth, where the black-chinned variety has also sometimes occurred.
Acanthis cannabina. Linnet.—C. Formerly nested in numbers on North Denes. Great accessions to numbers in October, when thousands are netted and sent to London. The female is generally killed, or saved, with Twites, &c, for shooting matches. Hybrids between the Linnet and Greenfinch have been taken two or three times.
A. linaria. Mealy Redpoll.—F.C. In uncertain numbers visits us with the autumnal inrush. Unusually numerous, autumn of 1893.
A. rufescens. Lesser Redpoll.—C. This species occasionally comes over in great numbers with Linnets, Twites, &c.
A. flavirostris. Twite.—C. In some years arrives in enormous flocks, and annoys the birdcatchers by their persistency in entering the clap-nets. Local, "French Linnet."
Pyrrhula europæa. Bullfinch.—F.C. Relentlessly shot, our market-gardeners assuming it to be unpardonably mischievous in orchards. It is apparently more numerous on the Suffolk side of the district. Local, "Blood-ulf."
P. major. Russian Bullfinch.—A. A male was shot on the Denes near Yarmouth on Jan. 22nd, 1893 (Nor. N.S.). Yorkshire is the only other county in which the Russian Bullfinch has been at present identified.
[P. enucleator. Pine-Grosbeak.—A. A flight supposed to have been seen on the Denes, November, 1822 (vide Paget). Mr. J.H. Gurney thinks this very doubtful.]
Loxia curvirostra. Crossbill.—F. Small flocks occasionally arrive in autumn. Several were seen for several weeks at Somerton and Belton quite into the nesting season. Largest influx for many years past, first week in Aug. 1898, when Lowne had thirty-two in for preservation. Paying great attention to cherry trees and gooseberry bushes. I saw several both "red" and "green." Mr. Dye kept one in a cage six and a half years. A variety of the Crossbill which was erroneously recorded at the time as the Two-barred Crossbill was probably Loxia rubrifasciata.
L. bifasciata. Two-barred Crossbill.—A. On Sept. 1st, 1889, a male example was shot at Burgh Castle, near Yarmouth (Nor. N.S.). An example of the American variety (L. leucoptera) is said to have been taken on the rigging of a vessel which arrived at Yarmouth in October, 1870 (vide B. of N. vol. iii. p. 413).
Emberiza miliaria. Corn-Bunting.—F.C. Not often observed in this immediate neighbourhood.
E. citrinella. Yellow Bunting.—C. Formerly nested on North Denes. Receives additions in winter from the more northern counties. A very conspicuous tenant of the hedgerows during winter. Local, "Guler"; "Yellowhamrner."
E. cirlus. Cirl Bunting.—R. Two specimens of this bird were obtained by Mr. E.T. Booth at Hickling in the autumn of 1875 (Nor. N.S.). Two males netted on Breydon marshes during severe frost, Jan. 29th, 1888. (Ibid.)
E. hortulana. Ortolan Bunting.—A. An example netted at Yarmouth, April, 1866 (B. of N.). Six are said to have been caught here in May, 1871. One, Lowestoft Denes, May 5th, 1859.
E. schœniclus. Reed-Bunting.—C. Abundant in the neighbourhood of the rivers and broads. I remember several years ago seeing an osier-carr near Acle swarming with them in late autumn; possibly migratory arrivals. Local, "Reed-Sparrow."
Calcarius lapponicus. Lapland Bunting.—N.C. Migrants arrive every winter in greater or less numbers. In October and November, 1892, considerable numbers seen and caught on North Denes. Over fifty taken or shot. More seen in 1893. Are now looked for by birdcatchers, who are not slow to observe distinguishing peculiarities of possible strangers. They mix freely with Snow-Buntings.
Plectrophenax nivalis. Snow-Bunting.—C. In some winters abundant on the marshes and North and South Denes. On the former they industriously feed on the seeds of Astor tripolium; on the latter, on those of various "dune" plants uncovered by the varying winds. Earliest recorded arrival, Sept. 11th, 1897, at Belton. Local, "Snow-bird"; "Snow-bunting"; "Snowmen."
Sturnus vulgaris. Starling.—C. It is most interesting to see in autumn continual parties arriving to roost on the reeds towards sunset in the broadlands. The huge flocks that used to wheel in aerial manoeuvrings over the marshes are not now so frequently seen. Immense numbers arrive in autumn. It is a common thing to hear the Starlings on town chimneys most accurately mimicking the Curlew, Golden Plover, &c. It is often seen hovering over Breydon with Gulls, picking up floating refuse; and in summer sometimes aping Swallows catching insects on the wing. In September, 1899, an escaped Molothrus bonariensis attached itself for some time to a flock of Starlings, which its black colour closely resembled.
Pastor roseus. Rose-coloured Starling.—R. Paget records three: one shot by Capt. Manby near the hospital, April, 1820; a fine male shot at Lound in June, 1851; a female was obtained at Yarmouth in September, 1856.
Nucifraga caryocatactes. Nutcracker.—R. One shot at Rollesby, Oct. 30th, 1844; another shot off Yarmouth, Oct. 7th, 1853 (Nor. N. S. vol. iv. p. 283).
Garrulus glandarius. Jay.—L.L. Still found and persecuted in the wooded districts south of Yarmouth.
Pica rustica. Magpie.—L.L. Frequenting same locality as the Jay, has meted out to it the same fate. When living in Dublin, in 1890, I was surprised at the tame audacity of this species, which seemed somewhat numerous in Phœnix Park. At the Gardens they would alight near one's seat, and snap up titbits thrown to them.
Corvus monedula. Jackdaw.—Nests in one or two village churches north of Yarmouth; used to nest in the chimney of a high old house in heart of the town. On its recent demolition I saw in a niche about twenty well-preserved skeletons of young birds. Great numbers arrive with other Corvidæ. Early morning flights usually fly high and noisily. Some flying north, Feb. 17th, 1892.
C. corax. Raven.— A. "Now rarely seen" (Paget). I have recognized it only on one or two occasions flying overhead in autumn.
C. corone. Carrion-Crow.—L.L. Have occasionally met with it on Breydon flats, where Rooks also at times congregate in some numbers.
C. cornix. Hooded Crow.— C. Great numbers usually pass over in autumn, many locating for the winter in the neighbourhood. In severe weather becomes predaceous; have then known it seize wounded birds in presence of the gunners. Six observed on the marshes as early as June 22nd, 1896; while in 1894 I saw seven on July 31st. Great gathering on Breydon mud-flats prior to leaving, on March 31st, 1898. Local, "Grey Crow"; "Kentish Crow."
C.frugilegus. Rook.—C. Apparently increasing. Not much molested, as the natives have formed a better opinion of it than formerly. Great flights from over sea in autumn. On some days, as on Nov. 2nd and 3rd, 1899, incessant streams all day long; arriving also after dark. Many assume omnivorous tendencies, patrolling the shore and mud-flats for edible refuse. I once saw one catch a "Tartar" in a live Crab, which seized it by the throat. Have observed departures from Scratby cliffs in March. In April, 1896, several visited a tree near the marketplace. A pair nested, but the young being disturbed, they have not since attempted to nest there.
Alauda arvensis. Sky-Lark.—C. All the year round. Enormous influxes of a dark (Scandinavian) form in autumn. A noteworthy invasion on Feb. 3rd, 1897, when coarse weather from south-east followed. During protracted snows in November, 1890, cabbages in surrounding gardens were reduced to shreds by them; at Belton, during open weather in October, 1896, cabbage patches were ruined by them.
A. arborea. Wood-Lark.—F.C. Mostly observed here in severe weather, in small parties. Seven shot in the snow by a gardener, Dec. 20th, 1890.
[A. brachydactyla. Short-toed Lark.—A. One stated to have been shot on Breydon walls, Nov. 7th, 1889. The bird in question may have been an escape (vide B. of N. vol. iii. p. 410).]
Otocorys alpestris. Shore-Lark.—F.C. Uncertain winter visitor; sometimes occurs in considerable numbers, as in October, 1880. Consorts with Snow-Buntings on North Denes and sandhills. The birdcatchers have learnt to distinguish its call-note and characteristics, and look for it yearly. About sixty were obtained during autumn and winter of 1882, mostly males.
Cypselus apus. Swift.—C. The numbers nesting here do not increase, although gathering in considerable numbers over the Denes in early autumn. A favourite prey is the St. Mark's Fly (Bibio marci). During a set-in of unusually cold weather in August, 1881, numbers of Swifts were picked up dead or benumbed. Local, "Davelin."
C. melba. Alpine Swift.—A. One shot on Smith's marsh, Breydon walls, by Alfred Andrews, Sept. 4th, 1872. It was stuffed badly by Harvey, restuffed by James Carter, and again restuffed by Gunn.
Caprimulgus europæus. Nightjar.—F.C. Occasionally seen in recreation-ground near the beach moth hunting.
Jynx torquilla. Wryneck.—N.C. In the Paget's list it is referred to as "not uncommon." Have seen examples from Fritton Wood. Local, "Cuckoo's Mate."
Gecinus viridis. Green Woodpecker.—N.C. Occasionally brought to market. Nests at Fritton.
Dendrocopus major. Great Spotted Woodpecker.—N.C. Migrates hither occasionally in some numbers. I obtained one caught alive on a fishing-lugger, Oct. 8th, 1898.
D. minor. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.—R.R. A female example was picked up on Yarmouth beach some years ago, which suggests a probable migratory habit. A specimen in the market recently. The Messrs. Paget record it as "very rare." Babington (B. of S.) gives it as nesting at Fritton.
Alcedo ispida. Kingfisher.—F.C. Nests occasionally in the neighbourhood. Additions in autumn, working southwards. Unusually numerous in September, 1878, when dozens were shot! I saw eighteen during one morning's walk by the Bure. Its protection should be made imperative.
Coracias garrulus. Roller.—R. Like all other richly attired immigrants, it is shot as soon as it arrives. Several are recorded for this neighbourhood. One killed about 1817; one taken in rigging of a vessel off Yarmouth, May 25th, 1865 (B. of N.); an example obtained at Bradwell, Oct. 9th, 1883; also at Burgh Castle, Sept. 29th, 1892.
Merops apiaster. Bee-Eater.—R. One recorded by Shepperd and Whitear at Yarmouth (B. of N.). Lubbock, writing in 1848, says one "was killed lately at Yarmouth."
Upupa epops. Hoopoe.—R. "One or two," say the Messrs. Paget, "generally met with in the autumn." Three were shot at different times in the market-gardens. A worn-out gunner is still living who boasts of locally shooting four of these birds at various times. One on Hasborough lightship. April, 1884 (Nor. N.S.). Mr. Dawson Turner informed the late Mr. J.H. Gurney that after a gale fifteen were brought him (B. of S. p. 98). One at Horsey, Oct. 9th, 1882. Dead example found on the Vauxhall line, April 15th, 1899, having probably struck telegraph-wires.
Cuculus canorus. Cuckoo.—C. Have known a single individual clear a cabbage-patch of the larvæ of Pieris brassicæ in a few days. I once reared one from the nest on bullock's lights. It was exceedingly pugnacious, and grew amazingly fast.
Coccystes glandarius. Great Spotted Cuckoo.—A. A young male was shot on Caister denes on Oct. 18th, 1896. Had been feeding on the larvæ of the Buff-tip Moth (vide Nor. N.S. vol. vi. p. 509).
Strix flammea. Barn-Owl.—C. Have observed it arrive early in the morning with autumnal immigrants. Still wantonly destroyed by many fools entrusted with guns.
Asio otus. Long-eared Owl.—N.C. "Rarely seen" (Paget). Examples occasionally brought up to market dead in winter months; two in the market, Dec. 16th, 1899.
A. accipitrinus. Short-eared Owl.—C. Sometimes arrives in considerable numbers in autumn; in other years scarce. Occasionally nests. A nest containing five eggs was discovered in a field of rushes not far from the sea in the neighbourhood of the Broads on May 2nd, 1898 (Zool. 1899, p. 119). I have observed this bird hunt in broad daylight. Coming over simultaneously with the Woodcock, is locally named "Woodcock-Owl."
Syrnium aluco. Tawny Owl.—R. Constant persecution has made this species (which the Pagets described as "common") rare with us.
Nyctala tengmalmi. Tengmalm's Owl.—A. "A single specimen is recorded by Messrs. Gurney and Fisher to have been taken some years since at Bradwell" (B. of N. vol. i. p. 60).
Athene noctua. Little Owl.—A. "Very rare; two specimens are well authenticated" (Paget). A male example brought alive into Yarmouth from sea, February, 1862 (Nor. N. S. vol. iv. p. 267). A female shot in the grounds of Naval Hospital, April 21st, 1881.
[Nyctea scandiaca. Snowy Owl.—A. "The late Mr. Stephen Miller, of Yarmouth, had a specimen of this noble bird, which, if not obtained in this district, was most probably British killed" (B. of N. vol. i. p. 58).]
Scops giu. Scops-Owl.—A. "Norfolk is accredited with six occurrences—two at Yarmouth" (Nor. N.S. vol. iv. p. 267). Mr. J.H. Gurney has one caught at Cromer Lighthouse, November, 1861. I distinctly remember one taken at Lowestoft Lighthouse some years ago, but can trace no printed record. One killed at Martham, June 1st, 1891.
Circus æruginosus. Marsh-Harrier.—R. The Messrs. Paget record it as "rather rare." In the earlier part of the century was not uncommon on the Broads, where it nested. Now only occasionally seen. Last nested in the Broad district in 1878.
C. cyaneus. Hen-Harrier.—R.R. Becoming rarer year by year, thanks to game-preservers and others. "Not uncommon" (Paget). Occasionally brought to market from the Broad district in hard winters.
C. cineraceus. Montagu's Harrier.—R.R. Rarely nests on the Broads. Mr. J.H. Gurney estimates six nests for 1858, but only one for 1898 (Zool. 1899, p. 115). More often met with than the two preceding. One caught in a bird-net on North Denes, April 28th, 1891.
Buteo vulgaris. Common Buzzard.—R.R. Occasionally turning up in autumn and winter in some numbers, as in September, 1881, when several were killed. I saw three washed up dead on the beach after a gale in the same month. The Messrs. Paget refer to it as "not uncommon." One taken off Flegg Burgh, Nov. 16th, 1897.
B. lagopus. Rough-legged Buzzard.—N.C. In November occasionally arrives in some numbers. Two or three winters sometimes elapse without an example being recorded. The winter of 1839–40 was a noted year for B. lagopus in Norfolk; again numerous in autumn of 1858, when "about twenty specimens were obtained, principally in the neighbourhood of Thetford and Yarmouth"; and again in some numbers in September, 1881.
Haliaëtus albicilla. White-tailed Eagle.— A. Rarely seen, and then always in immature plumage. Messrs. Paget record six occurrences: "The late Mr. Girdlestone... informed Mr. Lubbock that in the sharp winter of 1837 'he had seen three of these Eagles in sight at once' on Horsey warren" (B. of N. vol. i. p. 4). Several since recorded. One of two shot at Winterton in winter of 1856–7 was found to have been feeding on the remains of a Whale stranded on the beach there. One taken alive in decoy at Fritton, December, 1878. I observed one circling high above head, autumn of 1879. Example shot at Belton, Dec. 9th, 1882; one on Breydon, May 2nd, 1892.
Astur palumbarius. Gos-Hawk.—B. "Very rare—a fine specimen shot in 1833" (Paget). A male taken at Catfield in April, 1854; a female taken on a fishing-boat off Yarmouth in 1886 (Connop Catalogue); an adult female at Somerleyton, March 29th, 1893.
Accipiter nisus. Sparrow-Hawk.—F.C. Receives additions in the autumn. An unusual invasion in September, 1881. I found several dead on the beach after a gale; one struck a gaslamp exhausted on the 22nd. The majority were females.
Milvus ictinus. Kite.—A. Very rare in the Pagets' time. Only occurs as an occasional passing migrant. An example killed at Martham, December, 1865.
Pernis apivorus. Honey-Buzzard.—R. An uncertain autumn visitor. Several shot in September, 1881; several records previous. One shot at Lound in September, 1882, had the crop filled with larvæ of Wasps (B. of S.). Babington also records one shot at Somerleyton in spring of 1854, in the stomach of which remains of Blackbird's eggs were found.
Falco peregrinus. Peregrine Falcon.—R. Occasionally shot on passage. The two or three I have seen in the flesh were males.
F. subbuteo. Hobby.—R.R. "Not uncommon in summer" (Paget). Has been once recorded at Yarmouth in February. A male example shot at Caister on Oct. 2nd, 1882 (Connop Catalogue).
F. vespertinus. Red-footed Falcon.—R. "One shot in a marsh by Breydon in 1832.... Three more were shot in same year at Horning" (Paget). An immature male specimen obtained at Somerleyton, July 12th, 1862.
F. æsalon. Merlin.—N.U. A fairly regular and not uncommon autumnal immigrant. Occasionally dashes into the nets of the birdcatchers. A young one caught at sea, Oct. 11th, 1882. I have observed it dead on the beach.
F. tinnunculus. Kestrel.—C. Still fairly common, and in autumn it is nothing unusual to see three or four at once "hovering" in different directions across the marshlands. Additions in autumn. Local, "Wind-hoverer."
Pandion haliaëtus. Osprey.—R.R. "One or two shot nearly every year on Breydon or the Broads" (Paget). Was undoubtedly more common in the earlier half of the century, before the shoals of Grey Mullet (Mugil capito) forsook Breydon, owing to the great silting up of that basin. Two on Filby Broad, Sept. 20th, 1898. were observed fishing.
Phalacrocorax carbo. Cormorant.— N.C. According to Sir Thomas Browne this species nested in trees at Reedham, "from whence Charles the First was wont to be supplied" (Nor. N.S. vol. iv. p. 417). Till within a year ago, "we had (at Herringfleet) always more or less Cormorants with us all the year round, but more especially in winter" ('Rough Notes on Natural History,' by H.M.L.), in 1825 there were several nests there. It occasionally follows the Herring shoals, and I have observed odd birds on Breydon in spring. Six were seen there on May 25th, 1890, and seventeen on May 19th, 1892.
P. graculus. Shag.—R.R. "Very rare," according to Messrs. Paget. May be more frequent after the Herring shoals than is observed. I procured one alive on March 28th, 1898, from a fishing-smack, which became an interesting pet. It ate 2½ lb. of fish per diem., vomiting the more indigestible bones. Another, brought me alive on Nov. 11th, 1899.
Sula bassana. Gannet.— C. "Not uncommon; several were shot in the roads after the severe gale of Oct. 31st, 1827" (Paget). Is now fairly common out at sea during the fishing season. An adult specimen secured on Breydon, Sept. 24th, 1865. I have observed several washed ashore at different times, three as recently as Dec. 8th, 1899; these were possibly drowned, and thrown out of the Herring-nets.
Ardea cinerea. Common Heron.—C. Does not appear to have greatly diminished of late years. The Mautby heronry has disappeared since 1874, but a new one exists at Reedham. I have frequently seen upwards of twenty Herons at a time feeding in company on Breydon flats, where they may be watched catching Eels and Flounders. Local, "Hernsher."
A. purpurea. Purple Heron.— A. "Has been killed three or four times" (Paget). An example, "Breydon, 1850 or 1857" (Connop Catalogue). Other occurrences:—Ludham, October, 1865; Yarmouth, October, 1878 (Nor. N.S.).
A. ralloides. Squacco Heron.—A. "One caught in a bownet that was hanging out to dry by Ormesby Broad, December, 1820" (Paget). Dates also given:—Oulton, May, 1831; Ormesby, 1834.
Nycticorax griseus. Night-Heron.—A. "Mr. Youell has known six or seven to have been shot here at different times" (Paget). "Three specimens of this Heron were killed on the North Denes" (B. of N. vol. ii. p. 175). An example obtained on Caister marshes, Nov. 8th, 1860 (ibid.), and another was shot at Rollesby Bridge on Nov. 8th, 1899.
Ardetta minuta. Little Bittern.—R. Messrs. Paget enumerate three examples obtained in this neighbourhood. It doubtless nested on the Broads early in the century. "A Little Bittern was shot at Runham, near Yarmouth, on the 10th of October, 1889" (Nor. N.S.). On July 3rd and 4th, 1893, two males in full plumage shot at Rollesby (ibid.); one, Oct. 9th, 1896.
Botaurus stellaris. Common Bittern.—R.R. The drainage of the Norfolk swamps has greatly decreased the number of these birds of late years. Last Norfolk eggs were discovered March 30th, 1868. A young bird in August, 1886 (Nor. N.S.). Two or three immigrants occasionally brought to market in winter. Local, "Bottle-bump."
Ciconia alba. White Stork.—A. Messrs. Paget mention a pair shot on Burgh marshes in the summer of 1817, and two earlier occurrences. An accidental spring and autumn visitor. One shot at Oby, May 24th, 1865 (Connop Catalogue). Several others have been met with; a tired-out individual was seen resting on a housetop, June 26th, 1892.
C. nigra. Black Stork.—A. One shot on Breydon, June 27th, 1877, by John Thomas, punt-gunner.
Plegadis falcinellus. Glossy Ibis.—A. "A pair shot at the mouth of the Norwich river, Sept. 13th, 1824;... there were three or four more in company with them" (Paget). Stevenson records two or three others for this neighbourhood, the last being killed at Stalham on Sept. 13th, 1868.
Platalea leucorodia. Spoonbill.—N.U. The Messrs. Paget, writing in 1834, after mentioning that a flock of these birds were seen on the marshes in 1774, and several others killed in 1808, state that two or three are generally shot every spring on Breydon; the latter statement might apply to the present day, save that, happily, they are more frequently allowed to depart in peace. During the last twelve summers Mr. J.H. Gurney states that ninety-three Spoonbills have visited Breydon (Nor. N.S. vol. vi. p. 514). Sixteen were seen there on May 13th, 1894: and on May 5th, 1895, twelve appeared. On May 10th, 1899, I rowed to within a short distance of six which were feeding in a flock on the edge of a mud-flat. Twelve on Breydon, June 4th, 1900; and subsequently several others. Local, "Banjo-bill."
Anser cinereus. Grey-lag Goose.—R.R. A winter migrant, once nesting in the fens. Messrs. Paget refer to it as "very common," which is far from being the case in the present day. Stevenson records single examples as follow:—November, 1847, at Horsey; April, 1849, on Breydon; September (?), 1854, Yarmouth; March, 1862, on Caister marshes; and in March, 1864, at Ludham—two examples; and a third at Horsey same year. One was killed by a gunner named Gibbs on Sept. 24th, 1881. Babington speaks of several flocks seen on Breydon, Sept. 24th and 25th, two birds being shot (B. of S.).
A. albifrons. White-fronted Goose.—N.C. An uncertain visitor; I find generally two or three examples brought to market every winter, usually immature.
A. segetum, Bean Goose.—F.C. "Less frequently met with" [than Grey-lag] (Paget). An uncertain winter visitant; in some years none, in others several. Several seen late in January, 1892.
A. brachyrhynchus. Pink-footed Goose.—N.C. Have observed it occasionally in the market. In some years none; in very severe weather more frequent than any of the preceding. Five were shot out of a flock, Feb. 14th, 1879; I also saw two immature, Dec. 11th, 1880. Two on Dec. 20th, 1890.
Bernicla ruficollis. Red-breasted Goose.— A. "Mr. Wigg," says the Messrs. Paget, "accidentally bought a specimen of this bird in the market, which, to his constant regret, he plucked and cooked."
(To be continued.)
- Mr. Gurney has since estimated the number of nests for this year as 170 (cf. ante, p. 363).—Ed.