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note of the blackbird (turdus merula) gives a presage of approaching spring, and enlivens the solitude. And, as if to remind us of the agreeable colours of the absent foliage, the common polypody (polypodium vulgare) continues to ornament the tops of old pollard hornbeams, where, in the collection of moisture and rotten leaves formed in the hollows, it finds ample means of growth. Indeed this plant, from the singular arrangement of its fruit in dots along the under surface of the leaf, is interesting to the young botanist. So, indeed, is the common nut (corylus avellana) when in full bloom. Its pendant catkin or amentum, containing the farina, is very conspicuous, throwing out its dust on being agitated; but the fruit bearing flower is not so obvious, and will repay the trouble of minutely examining the neighbouring buds, among which will be found some tipt with several crimson filaments; these buds are the future nuts.
The melody of birds now gradually swells upon the ear. The throstle (turdus musicus), second only to the nightingale in song, charms us with the sweetness and variety of its lays. The linnet and the goldfinch join the general concert in this month, and the golden-crowned wren (motacilla regulus) begins its song. The lark also must not be forgotten. The melody of this little creature continues during the whole of the summer. It is chiefly, however, in the morning and evening that its strains are heard; and as it chaunts its mellow notes on the wing, it is the peculiar favourite of every person who has taste to relish the beauties of nature at the most tranquil seasons of the day, particularly at dawn.
The MOŘNING LARK.
While the bloom of orient light
Promise of eternal day'. In this month, rooks build and repair their nests. That these birds are not so detrimental to the farmer as is generally imagined, has, we think, been satisfactorily proved in our last volume”. Of the common carrion crow (cornix corone) we cannot speak so favourably : in this month, or later in some seasons, this bird, at other times wary and shy, becomes uncommonly bold and fearless, and few birds are more injurious to the countryman than he is. Should a kite or hawk appear near the farm-yard, all its inhabitants scream out an alarm, and some preparation for safety is taken, or the nuisance scared away; but the crow is in some manner domesticated among us, and he becomes proportionally more daring and insidious: young poultry are destroyed in numbers by them; ducks, turkeys, and other out-laying birds, frequently lose nearly all their eggs by this bird. In one ungenial season in the month of May, a Gloucestershire correspondent informs us, he had nearly all his young brood of pigeons (when they followed the old ones into the field) successively killed by them; they even chased the old ones, striking them with their strong beaks on the back of their necks, and thus easily brought them to the ground; and to such an extent was this havock carried, that in order to save the dove-cot it was necessary to have all these voracious birds shot.
In this month, trouts begin to rise; blood-worms appear in the water; black ants (formica nigra) are observed; the blackbird and the turkey (melea
See some interesting particulars of this bird in T. T. for 1817, p. 76, and the • Captive Lark,' in T. T. for 1819, p. 79.
2 T. T. for 1820, pp. 86-89, and T. T. for 1816, pp. 86-87.
gris gallopavo) lay; and house pigeons sit. The greenfinch (loxia chloris) sings; the bat (vespertilio) is seen flitting about, and the viper uncoils itself from its winter sleep. The wheatear (sylvia onanthe), or English ortolan, again pays its annual visit, leaving England in September. They are found in great numbers about East Bourne, in Sussex, more than eighteen hundred dozen being annually taken in this neigbourhood. They are usually sold at sixpence a dozen.-See T. T. for 1816, p. 88.
Those birds which have passed the winter in England now take their departure for 'more northerly regions. The fieldfares (turdus pilaris) travel to Russia, Sweden, and Norway, and even as far as Siberia. They do not arrive in France till December, when they assemble in large flocks of two or three thousand. The red-wing (turdus iliacus), which frequents the same places, eats the same food, and is very similar in manners to the fieldfare, also takes leave of this country for the season. Soon after, the woodcock (scolopax rusticola), wings its aërial voyage to the countries bordering on the Baltic. Some other birds, as the crane and stork, formerly natives of this island, have quitted it entirely, since our cultivation and population have so rapidly increased.
A curious circumstance in the migration of birds, is their equal or thin dispersion over a large tract of country, so that each spot, generally speaking, has some of all or many sorts. For instance, all the linnets in England are not in one place, all the goldfinches in another, all the bullfinches in another, and so on with the sparrows, tom tits, chaffinches, larks, &c. &c. but there is a general mixture, subject to variations, in almost all places.
In this month the young naturalist will not forget · to observe the spawn of the frog, which is now found on the surface of the ponds in great abundance, in the form of jelly. This is constituted of a mass of
globules, each enveloping a black egg, of the appearance and size of a rape-seed.
The smelt (salmo eperianus) hegins to ascend rivers to spawn, when they are taken in great abundance.
On the 26th the vernal equinox takes place, and all nature feels her renovating sway, and seems to rejoice at the retreat of winter.
River and rivulet are freed from ice
GOETHE. Our gardens begin now to assume somewhat of a cheerful appearance. Crocuses, exhibiting a rich mixture of yellow and purple, ornament the borders; mezereon is in all its beauty; the little flowers with
silver 'crest and golden eyes, daisies, are scattered over dry pastures; and the pilewort (ranunculus ficaria) is seen on the moist banks of ditches. The primrose too (primula veris) peeps from beneath the hedge.
To the PRIMRO'S É.
With yellow eye, and stalk of downy green,
Ohi, come and decorate my cottage scene!
And tenderest grass shall carelessly combine;
But azure violets mix their buds with thine.
Each threatening tempest of the early year!
Tlie dew that genis thy bird the lover's tear!
C. LLOYD. The sallow (salix) now enlivens the hedges with
its yellow and silver shaggy flowers; the aspen (populus tremula), and the alder ( alnus betula), have their flowers full blown; the laurustinus (viburnum tinus), and the bay Mlaurus nobilis), begin to open their leaves. The equinoctial gales are usually most felt, both by sea and land, about this time.
The leaves of honeysuckles are now nearly expanded: in our gardens, the buds of the cherry tree (prunus cerasus), the peach (amygdalus persica), the nectarine, the apricot, and the almond (prunus armeniaca), are fully opened in this month. The buds of the hawthorn (crataegus oxycantha) and of the larch tree (pinus larix) begin to open; and the tansy (tanacetum vulgare) emerges out of the ground; ivy-berries are ripe; the coltsfoot (tussilago), the cotton-grass (eriophorum vaginatum), wood spurge (euphorbia amygdaloides), butcher's broom (ruscus aculeatus), the daffodil (pseudonarcissus) in moist thickets, the rush (juncus pilosus), and the spurge laurel (daphne laureola), found in woods, are now in bloom. The common whitlow grass (draba verna) on old walls; the yellow Alpine whitlow grass (draba aizoides) on maritime rocks; and the mountain pepper-wort (lepidum petræum) among limestone rocks, flower in March.'
The sweet violet (viola odorata) sheds its delicious perfumes in this month.
Sheltered from the piercing north,