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THE APPROACH OF SUMMER.
To warn and cheer the earth;
Their voices full of mirth.
Skippeth the happy child,
which impart A thousand odour's sweet that start
From every flow'ret wild.
When we to the woods draw near;
Palls charmingly on the ear.
Beneath the shade of the trees;
Is kissed by the balmy brecze.
Between each shower of rain-
And soon will be here again.
I read of contentment and love;
W, H, HUDD,
DROOP NOT, SWEETER is the warrior's furlough
After long, laborious fight;
Learns to doubly value light!
Forced to wear affliction's veil,
Till near flesh and spirit fail,
Doubly joyful shouts "all hail !"
Doomed to eat th' insipid gourd ;
When we have its woes endured.
For the longest-most distressed; Light retourneih with the morning! Hunger gives to food a zest!
Will the soonest fade;
Soonest are decayed;
Ju the grave they're laid.
Clouds may dim the sky;
gorrow may be nigh;
Love may change or die.
O'er earth's fragile ilowers,
Joy may yet be ours !
Upon the Ocean’s disk, so thy works brave
Thy sacred verre with pleasure, and we ask
As to impose another such like “Task”?
C. W, B.
UP, FELLOW LABOURLIS!
MUNGO TIE MINSTREL,
NOTES AND QUERIES FOR
neither could it be thrust into hard ground like
the bill of the blackbird or plover; it is not NATURALISTS.
adapted for tearing flesh like that of the eagle, NOTES.
nor for gathering up grain like that of the phersant; there is, in fact, but one purpose for which such a bill could have been formed, and that is, to probe in soft, miry spots for worms and aquatic insects. To enable the bird to stand in such spots, and to feed with ease, it must have long stilt-like legs, not wel ooted, nor adapted for climbing or perching, but simply for rapid motion. Arguing from analogy, such a bird must be of shy and retiring habits; and from the nature of its bill, utterly defenceless. Now these hypotheses, which every naturalist would at once conceive in beholding the bill of this bird, constitute the real history of the living bird, and furnish as with a delightful proof of the beautiful adaptation of all the works of nature for the end they are designed to answer in the great scheme of creation.
These remarks will apply with equal force to the bird now before us, the singular construction of whose mandibles at once arrests attention. The cross-bill is one of the most common of those rare birds which occasionally visit this country, and the recurrence of which has attracted con
siderable attention, even in remote ages, partly The Cross-BILL (Loxia curvirostra). because of its singular organ, and more particuThat was no little boast of the geologist who larly, because of the havoc it commits in the apple once said, "Show me the foot of an animal i orchard, by dividing the fruit, in order to get at never saw, and I will give you a description of an
the kernels within. Mr. Yarrall, who is a most animal I never heard of before;” and this boast indefatigable naturalist, tells us, that notices of is shared by all naturalists, for throughout nature it occur so early as the year 1254, and again in there exists a beautiful coincidence between the 1593. They usually arrive in this country in habits of animated creatures, and the formation November, but continue with us for some time; in of the creatures themselves. Show to any prac
some cases, in fact, till the August of the following tical ornithologist the foot and the bill of a bird, year. Their favourite haunts are plantations of and he will instantly draw a picture, which, with firs and pines, and the dexterity with which they almost unerring certainty, shall describe the form split the cores of these plants in order to extract of the bird, its habits, its food, the kind of coun
the seed furnishes us at once with a beautiful try it inhabits, and a variety of facts connected illustration of the use of an organ, which at first with its history, till you can almost fancy you see sight we are apt to consider distorted, and all but the living bird starting from its covert amidst the useless. When passing from one plantation to forest or the swamp. Take the case of the com- another, they are particularly noisy. When en. mon snipe by way of example. Suppose the bill gaged in this work, they make use of their bills only of this bird to be placed in our hands, and that and feet in climbing from branch to branch, the we had never either seen or heard of the habits of former being well adapted for scansorial or climbthe bird itself. The comparative slenderness of ing habits. The instances of their nests being the bill in proportion to its length would at once found in this country are but few, though this enable us to determine that the bird which owned probably arises from their breeding in sequestered it was not a large auimal. The structure of the situations. They are artless birds, and apparently bill, with its sentient tip, would furnish us in a devoid of any sense of danger; and, indeed, the moment with a correct notion of its habits: such kindred species in America alight in winter before a bill could not be used to break the kernels of the door of the hunter and around the house. fruits, or to crush berries, because it is not strong The general colour of the male is a dingy crimson, enough, nor at all adapted for that purpose; | but they are liable to considerable variations of
colour, arising from difference of season, from age, sex, and other causes. The other British species are the parrot cross-bill (L. Pittyopsittacus), and the white-winged cross-bill (L. Leucoptera). These, however, are very rare visitants to our shores,
OBSERVATIONS ON GULLS. Of these sea-fowl there are many species which frequent the coast of Britain, and prey upon the marine creatures quite near the tide-marks, or far out in the bosom of the ocean. The common gull (Larus Canus) breeds on the rock Bass - once a Scotch state-prison - amid various sea-fowls, where it exhibits its peculiar characteristics to the naturalist at many seasons of the year; swimming over and diving in the surrounding billows, but retiring often therefrom to wing its way toward the fields, where it expects to get, as food, worms or larvæ of different sorts. This bird is common by the Thames' mouth, where it is seen diving for small fish, which it contrives easily to secure by its sharp beak, aided by its webbed feet, fitted well as helps in such a pursuit. The length of the bird is 16 inches, and its weight usually about a pound. Larus Cataractes, or Skua-gull, is brown in its hue, and very fierce, even sometimes attacking successfully the eagle. It has much power of bill, and sometimes weighs three pounds. Larus Marinus is five pounds in weight; it is found in Britain, breeding there,
CROW'S NEST ON THE TOP OF THE EXCHANGE, in the north, in various quarters; is a very strong bird, not easily daunted, feeding mostly on fish.Capt. J.R., Edinburgh.
CONSTRUCTIVE ABILITIES OF CROWS. Common CURLEW (Scolopax Aquaticus).
To watch the constructive ability of many inThis distinguished wader is well known at the sects, birds, and animals, is, both young and old Firth of Forth, where, after quitting the heath- an endless source of interest and instruction, covered valleys, he comes to feed, as a change of The busy bee, the marvellous workers of the diet, on many animals found on the shores of the coral reefs, and innumerable other creatures, ocean-washed islands of Southern Scotia, at dif- with varied forms and wondrous instincts, strikferent times of the year, when gulls are numerous ingly exhibit the power and benevolenec of the there. Its incumbent bill is well suited to scoop Almighty architect. out marine creatures from their sand-covered Amongst the stories which are related of the abodes. It is especially busy in the mornings, constructive skill and instinct of the feathered which are well employed in its peculiar method race, as being authentic and not generally known, of procuring sea-provided food when the tide has the following instance is well worthy of mention: receded far enough. Its feet are partly webbed, -On the top of the old Guildhall of Newcastlethis structure being peculiarly serviceable to a upon-Tyne, there was a weather-cock of pecucreature often wading into salt or fresh water, liar construction, on which, in March, 1783, a where it finds its multifarious nutriment. The pair of crows built their nest. During the probird appears to possess a beak rather slight for gress of this work the crows experienced many indefence, though it is well adapted for the attain- terruptions from the same kind of birds belonging ment of food; it can, however, when requisite, to the neighbourhood; sometimes, when the nest use it as a weapon against birds of pugnacious was nearly constructed, it would be destroyed by nature, when such become outrageous in their other crows in their absence, seemingly with the conduct towards it, as has often been seen by most obstinate animosity; to prevent which one those who have watchód it at the ocean-side, as I remained as sentinel of the building, while the have been accustomed to do.-Capt. J. R. other was abroad in search of forage or materials
till at length, after many severe conflicts, by dint Its body is broad and flat, and weighs from thirty of courage, industry, and perseverance, they over- to fifty pounds, and the creature's whole aspect came every difficulty, and finished their plan; in betokens slowness and inactivity. order to understand which, it must be observed The children of a settler at the river Mersey that the vane was affixed to a hollow metalic tube, had a pet wombat, which lived with them for some which turned round on an iron pin in the centre | time, and used to play with them and follow them of the sammit of the pinnacle, and round this at about with great docility and good temper. They the top and bottom was an ornamented scroll (see made it a bed on a box, with a piece of blanket to cut), upon which, with very great art and in- cover it; and it was often seen to scratch the blangenuity, the crows laid their foundation, viz., spars ket snugly round it, and pull it up when slipping and rafters, whose ends rested upon each other, away, in the most cosy and civilized manner posand then others upon them, but somewhat louger, sible. Having also a penchant for making its way especially on the side of the tube directly opposite into any other bed, from which a scrap of blanket to the vane which was intended to remain in the or rug hung down to serve as a climbing ladder, body of the nest; then smaller things were in- it became an object of dislike to the servants, and terwoven therewith, and then pretty tightly the worthy farmer determined, much to the grief round the tube, so that the nest turned round of the children, to part with the favourite, which, with the vane; and let the wind blow from what like all other favourites, was fast gaining foes ever quarter, it was continually direct against the He carried it away a considerable distance, put it nest, still supported on the other side by the spire down in the forest, and came home with the story and tube above-mentioned, so that the wind could of his success; but ere the evening was ended, a never discompose it, or blow it down, unless it had certain well-known scratching sound was heard at forced away the vane, and perhaps the pinnacle the door, and the delighted children opened it for also. It might, therefore, be deemed a master their poor, weary wombat, who had found his way piece of structural skill; and it was remarked that home to them again. A second time he was conin the succeeding year there was a severe storin of veyed away, and to a greater distance, but still he snow and frost, when tbe Tyne was frozen over came back; the third time, the farmer carried him three different times in one winter, a circum- across the Mersey in a boat, and left him on the stance not remembered by the oldest person then opposite bank of the broad, deep river, quite seliving, during which the crows had a comfortable cure then that the business was finally settled. habitation, and having continued their residence His poor friend was, however, still of a different for some time, they all of a sudden, and without opinion, and by the time the boat had touched the any visible cause, quitted their singular building, home shore, the creature had found a huge fallen and returned no more that season. In the mean-tree, which lay half across the stream, and had time the Exchange took fire, and had they been crawled to the extreme end of it, wistfully gazing there at the time, the birds might have been de- upon his departing friends, who, thinking it quite stroyed. An attempt was made in the following impossible that he could cross the intervening year to build again, and the same opposition was portion of the river, went away home. How the made by the other erows; however, in spite of fat thing did eross no one knows, but he arrived this, the same crows built their home on the as usual that night, and, as may be imagined, his weather-cock in the years 1785, 1786, 1787, and kind-hearted friend did not again try to drive him 1788, and in each of these years succeeded in away. Unfortunately, he was at last accidentally rearing their young.
burned, from creeping too close to the hot ashes THE WOMBAT.
of the hearth, and, in merey to his sufferings, · The Wombat (Phascolomys), like the poreu- , was killed. pide, is eaten and relished by some persons, but is Wombats are generally found on rocky places, fatter and coarser, with a strong rank flavour. especially the summits of mountains and gullies, It is a most harmless, helpless, inoffensive animal, where the haunts are mostly inaccessible. Their by no means agile, and falling an easy prey to its chief food consists of the roots of the grass tree, pursuers, if cut off from its retreat to the rocky and other plants; to procure which they leave hollows and crevices in which it lives, and which their rocky fastnesses at night, and visit neighit squeezes into through a smaller opening than bouriug marshy flats, where they scratch for their would be supposed capable of admitting its fat, living, like the porcupine and bandicoot. The squat body. Its head resembles that of the bad- skin of the wombat is so thick and tough, that the ger, but with a rounder snout. It has very small teeth of large dogs are seldom strong enough to eyes, strong, bristly whiskers, very short ears, penetrate it, and are not unfrequently absolutely short legs, short tail, and long, coarse grey hair. I pulled out in the effort, so that some of the hun
ters of the bush are in the habit of punishing their anecdote, which we believe to be authentic, will dogs for meddling with a wombat; and after a answer the query put by our correspondent:
Combat between a Horse and at Lion-A noble. few such lessons, the dogs content themselves with barking round the harmless creature when having a very vicious horse, which none of the
man, in the early part of the reign of Louis XV., they find one, and its stout natural coat befriends grooms or servants would ride, (several of them it like a suit of armour.-My Home in Tasmania. having been thrown, and one killed) asked leave
of his Majesty to have him turned loose into the A SEA-BIRD TAR INLAND,
menagerie against one of the largest lions. The During the first week of the month of Novem- tain day, was conducted thither. Soon after the
king readily consented ; and the animal, on a cerber, a stormy petrel was observed to alight upon arrival of the horse, the door of the den was a bold piece of rock at Bredon, in the county of drawn up, aud the lion, with great state and maLeicester, the central part of England. It was jesty, marched slowly to the mouth of it, when, evidently worn down by fatigue; but, being per- socinghis antagonist, he set up a tremendous
roar. The horse immediately started, and fell back; ceived by some boys, they threw some stones at his ears erected, his mane reised, his eyes sparkit, but could not make it quit the spot. At last a led, and something like a general convulsion stone, more direct of aim than the rest, hit and seemed to agitate his whole frame. After the first
emotion of fear had subsided, the horse retired to knocked it over. It was preserved, and is now in
a corner of the menagerie, where, having directed the possession of Mr. John Bostock, of Bredon his heels toward the lion, and having reared his Lodge.-1859.
head above his left shoulder, he watched with extrewe eagerucas, the motions of his enemy. The
liou, who presently quitted the den, sidled about ANSWERS TO QUERIES,
for more than a minute, as if meditating the mode BALAMANDERS (12. 203),--These are a class of of attack, when, having sufliciently prepared himreptiles pearly allied to the frog, from which they sell for the combut, he made a sniden spring at difter in having a longer body and tail, and four the horse, which defended itself by striking its legs of equal lengtha, so that in general contorma- . versary a most viclent blow on the chest. The tion they are more like lizards. They have flat several minutes inclined to give up the contest;
lion instautiy retreated, groaned, and seemed for tened heads, and jaws armed with numerous small pointed teeth, of which there are two rows
when, recovering from the painful effects of the in the palate. Like the frogs, their young first blow, he returned to the charge with unabated exist as tadpolos, having gills and tails flattened
violence, The mode of preparation fur this severtically.
cond attack was the same as the first. He sidled The land Salamanders inhabit the water only while they are in the tadpole state, but
from one side of the menagerie to the other for a some are altogether aquatic, and these are ena
considerable time, seeking a favourable opportubled to swim very quickly by means of their com- mity to seize his prey; during all which tiine the pressed tails. One romarkable fact connected horse still preserved the same posture, and still with the natural history of these reptiles, is their kept his head erect and turned over his shoulder. great tenacity of life, and the facility with whick The lion at length gave a second spring, with all they reproduce any part which may have been the strength and velocity he could exercise, when injured or destroyed. They liave been frozen up in the horse caught him with lis hoor under his ice, and afterwards recovered, and subjected to
under jew, which he fractured. Having sustained the action of great heat, without being killed: well as he was able, apparently in the greatest
a second repulse, the lion retreated to his den as hence the popular notion that the Salamander was indestructible by fire, which few but the very agony, moaning in a most lamentable manner. ignorant now entertain.
The horse was afterwards shot. There are five species of these reptiles known to headed, or Whale-headed Heron, or Stork of the
THE EGYPTIAN STORK (p. 295).-The Whiteexist in England; the largest being the common Nile, to which the scientific name of Baloniceps Salamander of Europe, called by naturalists Sala
Rex has been given by Mr. Gould, inhabits the mandris vulgaris; it attains the length of five or six inches, is of a blackish colour spotted with reedy marshes on the banks of the White Nile. yellow, and is generally found in moist places, consequently, far out of the track of ordinary tra
beyond the fourth degree of north latitude: it is, under stones, roots of trees, clods of earth, de, vellers, and hence a very rare bird ; most Europecoming out at night for food, which consists of ans have had po opportunity of seeing it hitherto. slugs, worms, insects, &c.
Thanks, however, to Mr. Petherick, British CouThe great Salamander of Japan, of which a fine sul at Chartoum, at the junction of the White specimen has recently reached this country, was and Blue Niles, the people of this country may first described by the Dutch naturalist Dr. Von easily gratify any curiosity which they may feel Siebold; its scientific name is Siebeluia maxima; with regard to this enormous stork, whose peliits present length is about two feet nine inches, can-like pouch gives to the head so ugly and disbut it is expected to grow much larger. This proportionate an appearance. This gigantic creature inhabits the streams and lakes among Balaniceps is said to have enormous capacity for the mountains of the Island of Niphon in Japan. devouring fish, and to be able, with its powerful It is rare in its native country, and this is the first bill, to crunch small crocodiles, crabs, &c. The specimen which has reached England alive; it is bird was first described by the Abyssinian trafed on eels, frogs, worms, &c.-H. G. A.
veller, Mansfield, in 1851; but little is yet known Honsa versus LION (p. 295.)-The following about its habits, &c.