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birds, reptiles, fish, insects, &c., from Lagos, collected and presented by Mr. R. B. N. Walker, corresponding member of the Zoological Society of London; a specimen of the potto (Pterodicticus potto), and a series of fish from Bassompurah River, collected and presented by Mr. H. T. Ussher, DeputyAssistant Commissary General at Lagos, through Mr. Walker; and a collection of dried fish, &c., and examples of three species of finches and their nests, from Bathurst, River Gambia, collected, most carefully labelled, and presented by Mr. J. Lewis Ingram, Queen's Advocate, Bathurst, received through the kind offices of Mr. Thomas Blisset, of South Castle-street. Mr. Moore exhibited the birds and nests from Mr. Ingram, and hoped to have the other collections in a condition to bring under the notice of the society before the close of the session. The specimens exhibited consisted of the following:
-A male and female Rufous-necked weaver bird, Ploceus textor, Gmelin, and nest, somewhat bottle-shaped, formed of coarse grasses, and built on the fork of a bush; the local name of this bird at the Gambia is that of palm bird; nest and birds taken Dec. 19. A male and female crimson-eared Bengaly, Estrelda phenicotis, Swainson, and nest, formed of a fine grass, and loose and open in construction; nest and birds taken Dec. 19. A male and female short-tailed crimson weaver, Euplectes franciscanus of Isert (ignicolor of Vieillot), and three nests; the Jolloff name of this species is Coomba Ting-ting, and one of these nests is labelled as follows: “Nest of the male Coomba Ting-ting ; he lives separately from the female bird, who has a nest of her own.
The nest appears to be unfinished, but it is quite complete.” These nests are made of rather coarse grass externally, and lined with finer; the shape is a long oval, with the entrance at one side near the top, a few grasses being bound round the lower curve of the mouth to strengthen and distend it. One of the two nests of females is attached to two nearly parallel twigs at the
sides of the entrance, which thus look like two greatly prolonged door-posts; the two other nests have had their attachments removed. The birds were taken December 19. The nest of the male was taken November 7, those of the females November 7 and December 9; the last contains two eggs, of a uniform pale blue colour. The nest of the male is somewhat more slightly built than that of the female. These birds are well-known species, descriptions of which are given in Swainson's Birds of Western Africa, forming part of Jardine's Naturalist's Library, but descriptions only, Swainson having no information of their eggs or nests.
Mr. Moore also exhibited, on behalf of a member of the society, Mr. Robert E. Stewart, of Rodney Street, a very simple and most effectual method of äerating aquaria. Take an indiarubber enema, such as that invented by Mr. Alfred Higginson, plunge the sucking end beneath the surface of the water of the tank to be äerated, work vigorously with the hand holding the enlarged or compressible portion of the enema, and let the current of water that will thus be produced be directed back to the tank, and it will carry with it innumerable air bubbles of minute size, proportioned, in fact, to the delivery bore of the enema, which bore should be as fine as possible. Mr. Moore stated that the effect produced is precisely similar in kind to that obtained in a 400-gallon tank in the museum, into which small jets of water are forced by pumps attached to Duncan's patent water-meter, which is connected again by a water-pipe from the street main, thus obtaining very considerable selfacting power, sufficient, in fact, to carry down clouds of air bubbles, and set in gradual motion the water of several similar tanks of equal capacity. For smaller tanks, and for hand use, Mr. Stewart's plan promises to be all that can be desired.
ON SOME GEOLOGICAL FEATURES OF THE
COAST OF ABERDEENSHIRE,
WITH NOTICES OF THE OCCURRENCES OF CHALK FLINTS AND
BY WILLIAM FERGUSON, F.L.S., F.G.S.
The substance of the Paper I now submit to the Literary and Philosophical Society of Liverpool, I have on former occasions communicated to the Philosophical Society of Glasgow (11th April, 1849), and to the Geological Society (June 18, 1856), and notices of it have appeared in the publications of these societies, and in the Philosophical Magazine for 1850, vol. 37, p. 430. The fossils collected by me were examined in 1856 by Mr. J. W. Salter, of the Museum of Practical Geology, who was kind enough to describe for me the new species. Types of these fossils are deposited in Jermyn Street Museum; and the usual letter of thanks from the Privy Council for donations, emanating from the late Henry de la Beche, then at the head of that department, bears the addition, “The collection is a particularly valuable one.”
Since I wrote first on this topic, it has been more or less alluded to by various writers, more particularly by the late Hugh Miller, in various of his papers read to the Physical Society of Edinburgh, and other published works, and by J. F. Jameson, of Ellon, in elaborate and accurate Papers on the modern epochs of Geology, as represented in Aberdeenshire. I have re-written my paper for this occasion, so as to present to you, as well as I am able, the question in its most recent aspects.
The general features of the district to which I purpose calling your attention are those usually exhibited where the primary or crystalline rocks predominate, as the foundation rock. These rocks are covered with a thick coating of gravels and clays, making their appearance chiefly on the coast lines. We have, however, presented to us here and there some interesting geological occurrences, which we may call anomalies, or at least what appear anomalies at present, though greater light and a wider observation may yet show them to be occurrences in the natural order of events.
I shall attempt, in the first place, to present to you a general sketch of the features of the country, and then refer more minutely to the peculiarities I have alluded to, the principal of these being the occurrence of a deposit of chalk flints and greensand, with their characteristic fossils.
We shall start on a walking expedition at the mouth of the river Ythan, and keep the coast line, till we have passed round the whole of this north-eastern promontory, and reach the dividing line between the counties of Aberdeen and Banff.
Starting, then, from the mouth of the Ythan, and proceeding northwards, we find the coast line is very bold and precipitous, broken, however, here and there, by narrow creeks or broader bays. Our path lies along the upper margin of the cliffs, through the parish of Slains, for the first six miles. The average height of the rocks is from one hundred and seventy to two hundred feet, and they consist of gneiss and mica slate, with numerous veins of quartz; and at one part of the coast they are overlaid by limestone. On one of my own trips on one occasion, I approached this part of the coast at the village of Collieston, a hamlet of fishermen's cottages, where advantage has been taken of a ravine, which affords a comparatively easy access to the water. Part of the village is built on the water-edge, and part on the cliff two hundred feet above. A very deep deposit of dark red clay covers the cliffs, curling over the rocks, if I may so express it, and presenting a steep grassy slope leading to the rocks themselves. In some places the clay comes down very close to the water, but there is always an outlier of rock shielding it from the action of the waves. In one spot I observed that the overflow of a small stream had washed out a chasm in the clay at least thirty or forty feet deep, showing that the deposit is of very considerable thickness.
Between this village of Collieston and the mouth of the Ythan lies the old parish of Forvie. For many years this tract of country, extending some three or four miles along the coast, has been covered with sand to a great depth. The remains of the church walls were at a recent date still traceable above the sand on the high lands near the shore. Tradition says the destruction was accomplished in a single night, and adds, that it was in consequence of a curse pronounced upon it. The lands belonged to a fair heiress who had declined the addresses of a bold suitor. Determined to carry his point, he tried to carry off the damsel, and so succeeded that neither he nor she were ever heard of more; but from the receding boat in which he bore her from the shore came the wild and weird-like strain
The weight of a woman's malison
Be ever on this land,
Bear aught but bent and sand.
And the haughs of Forvie do bear nothing but bent and sand to this day.
We pass the village of Collieston and keep on northwards, and find the same high precipitous coast line for several miles, but so indented by creeks and narrow tortuous ravines as to render the walk along the cliffs a very long one. We discover a good many caves, some of them of great extent. Numbers