Professor Ansted includes it in his list, but only marks it as occurring in Guernsey. There is one specimen in the Museum.
102. PEEWIT. Vanellus vulgaris, Bechstein. French, "Vanneau huppe."—The Peewit is a common and rather numerous autumn and winter visitant to all the Islands, though I have never seen it in such large flocks as in some parts of England, especially in Somerset. Those that do come to the Islands appear to take very good care of themselves, for I have always found them very difficult to get a shot at, and very few make their appearance in the market. Though generally a winter visitant, I have seen occasional stragglers in summer. On the 9th July this year (1878), for instance, I saw one fly by me in L'Ancresse Bay; this was either a young bird, or, if an adult, was not in breeding plumage, as I could clearly see that the throat was white—- not black, as in the adult in breeding plumage. A few days afterwards, July 19th, another—or, perhaps, the same—was shot by some quarry-men on the common; this was certainly a young bird of the year, and I had a good opportunity of looking at it. In spite of occasional stragglers of this sort making their appearance in the summer, I have never been able to find that the Peewit breeds on any of the Islands; but, by the 9th of July, stragglers, both old and young, might easily come from the opposite coast of Dorsetshire, where a good many breed, or from the north of France.
Professor Ansted includes the Peewit in his list, but only marks it as occurring in Guernsey. There is no specimen in the Museum at present.
103. GREY PLOVER. Squatarola helvetica, Linnaeus. French, "Vanneau pluvier."—The Grey Plover is a regular but by no means numerous visitant to the coast of all the Islands during the winter months, but I have never found it in flocks like the Golden Plover. A few fall victims to the numerous gunners who frequent the shores during the autumn and winter, and consequently it occasionally makes its appearance in the market, where I believe it often passes for a Golden Plover, especially in the case of young birds on their first arrival in November; but for the sake of the unknowing in such matters, I may say that they need never be deceived, as the Grey Plover has a hind toe, and also has the axillary plume or the longish feathers under the wing black, while the Golden Plover has no hind toe and the axillary plume white: a little attention to these distinctions, which hold good at all ages and in all plumages, may occasionally save a certain amount of disappointment at dinner time, as the Grey Plover is apt to taste muddy and fishy, and is by no means so good as the Golden Plover.
It is included in Professor Ansted's list, but only marked as occurring in Guernsey. There are two specimens in the Museum, both in winter plumage. Indeed, I do not know that it even remains long enough in the Channel Islands to assume, even partially, the black-breast of the breeding plumage, as it so often does in England.
104. GOLDEN PLOVER. Charadrius pluvialis, Linnaeus. French, "Pluvier dore."—A common winter visitant to all the Islands, arriving about the end of October or beginning of November, and remaining till the spring, sometimes till they have nearly assumed the black breast of the breeding-season; but I do not know that the Golden Plover ever breeds in the Islands, at all events in the present day.
Professor Ansted includes the Golden Plover in his list, and marks it as occurring in Guernsey and Sark. There is one specimen in the Museum, probably killed rather late in the spring, as it is assuming the black breast.
105. DOTTEREL. Eudromias morinellus, Linnaeus. French, "Pluvier guignard."—The common Dotterel is a rare occasional visitant to the Channel Islands, occurring, however, on both the spring and autumn migration, as Mr. MacCulloch says he has a note of a Dotterel killed in May, 1849; he does not say in which of the Islands, but probably in Guernsey; and I have a skin of one, a fine full-plumaged bird, according to Mr. Couch, who forwarded me the skin, a female by dissection, killed in Herm on the 26th of April, 1877. Another skin I have is that of a young bird of the year, killed in the autumn, I should think early in the autumn—August or September; and the Rev. A. Morres, who kindly gave me this last one, has also a skin of one killed at the same time; both of these were Guernsey killed.
The Dotterel is included in Professor Ansted's list, and by him marked as having occurred in Guernsey and Sark. I should think Alderney a more likely place for the bird to have occurred than Sark, but I have not been able to gain any information about its occurrence there; neither the carpenter bird-stuffer nor his sporting friend had a skin or any part of the bird. There is no specimen now in the Museum.
106. RING DOTTEREL. AEgialitis hiaticula, Linnaeus. French, "Grand pluvier a collier," "Pluvier a collier."—The Ring Dotterel is very common in all the Islands in places suited to it. Some remain throughout the summer, and a few of these, but certainly very few, may breed in the Islands; the great majority, however, of those that frequent the coast in the winter are migrants, arriving in the autumn and departing again in the spring. Some, however, appear to arrive very early, and cannot have bred very far off, perhaps on the neighbouring coast of France or Dorset. I have the following note on the subject in the 'Zoologist' for 1866, which gives the time of their arrival pretty correctly. During the first two or three weeks after my arrival—that was on the 21st of June, 1866—I found Ring Dotterels excessively scarce even on parts of the coast, where, on other visits later in the year, I had found them very numerous. Towards the middle of July, however, they began to frequent their usual haunts in small parties of six or seven, most probably the old birds with their young. These parties increased in number to twenty or thirty, and before my departure, on the last day of July, they mustered quite as thickly as I had ever seen them before. On another summer visit to Guernsey, from the 3rd to the 19th of June, 1876, I did not see any Ring Dotterel at all, though at the time Kentish Plover were common in most of the bays in the low parts of the Island. The Ring Dotterel must therefore have selected some breeding-place separate from the Kentish Plover, probably not very far off; but I do not believe it breeds at all commonly in the Islands. This agrees very much with what I saw of the Ring Dotterel this year (1878); there were a few in L'Ancresse and one or two other bays, but none in Grand Havre, close to which I was living, and I very much doubt if any of those I saw were breeding. Neither Colonel l'Estrange nor I found any eggs, though we searched hard for them both in '76 and '78; neither did we find any eggs either in Herm or Alderney.
Professor Ansted includes the Ring Dotterel in his list, but marks it as only occurring in Guernsey. There is a specimen in the Museum.
107. KENTISH PLOVER. AEgialitis cantianus, Latham. French, "Pluvier a collier interrompu." I have always looked upon the Kentish Plover as only a summer visitant to the Islands, never having seen it in any of my visits in October and November; but Mr. Harvie Brown mentions ('Zoologist' for 1869) seeing some of these birds in January, at Herm, feeding with the Ring Dotterel, but he says they always separated when they rose to fly. If he is not mistaken, which my own experience inclines me to think he was, we must look upon the Kentish Plover as partially resident in the Islands, the greater number, however, departing in the autumn. Until this summer (1878) I have been unsuccessful in finding the eggs of the Kentish Plover, though I have had many hard searches for them; and they are very difficult to find, unless the bird is actually seen to run from the nest, or rather from the eggs, for, as a rule, nest there is none, the eggs being only placed on the sand, with which they get half buried, when they may easily be mistaken for a small bit of speckled granite and passed by. In the summer of 1866, a friend and myself had a long search for the eggs of a pair we saw and were certain had eggs, as they practised all the usual devices to decoy us from them, till my friend, actually thinking one of the birds to be badly wounded, set his dog at it; after this all chance was over: this was in a small sandy bay, called Port Soif, near the Grand Rocques Barracks. I mention this as I am certain these birds had eggs or young somewhere close to us, and this was the farthest point towards Vazon Bay from the Vale I found them breeding. The sandy shores of Grand Havre and L'Ancresse Bay seemed to be their head breeding-quarters in Guernsey. Though I only found one set of eggs in Grand Havre, I am sure there were three or four pairs of birds breeding there; the two eggs I found were lying with their thick ends just touching each other and half buried in sand; there was no nest whatever, not even the sand hollowed out; they were in quite a bare place, just, and only just, above the high-water line of seaweed. I should not have found these if it had not been for the tracks of the birds immediately round them. In L'Ancresse Bay I was not equally fortunate, but there were quite as many pairs of birds breeding there. In Herm the shell-beach seems to be their head breeding-quarters, and there Mr. Howard Saunders, Colonel l'Estrange and myself found several sets of eggs, generally three in number, but in one or two instances four: these were probably hard-sat; in one instance, with four eggs, the eggs were nearly upright in the sand, the small end being buried, and the thick end just showing above the sand. In no instance in which I saw the eggs was there the slightest attempt at a nest; but Colonel l'Estrange told me that in one instance, in which he had found some eggs a day or two before I got to Guernsey, quite the end of May, he found there was a slight attempt at a nest, a few bents of the rough herbage which grew in the sand just above high-water mark having been collected and the nest lined with them. I have not found any eggs in Alderney, but I have no doubt they breed in some of the sandy bays to the north of the Island occasionally, if not always, as I have seen them there in the breeding-season, both in 1876 and in 1866. This summer (1878) I was so short a time in that Island that I had not time to search the most likely places, but Captain Hubbach wrote me—"I do not think the Kentish Plover remained here to breed this year, although I saw some about in April."
Professor Ansted includes the Kentish Plover in his list, but only marks it as occurring in Guernsey. There is one specimen, a male, in the Museum.
108. TURNSTONE. Strepsilas interpres, Linnaeus. French, "Tourne pierre," "Tourne pierre a collier." The cosmopolitan Turnstone is resident in the Channel Islands; throughout the year its numbers, however, are much increased in the autumn by migrants, many of which remain throughout the winter, leaving the Islands for their breeding-stations in the spring. Some of those that remain throughout the summer I have no doubt breed in the Islands, as I have seen the old birds about with their young and shot one in July; and on the 8th of June, 1876, I saw a pair in full breeding plumage in L'Ancresse Bay; I saw them again about the same place on the 16th: these birds were evidently paired, and I believe had eggs or young on a small rocky island about two or three hundred yards from the land, but there was no boat about, and so I could not get over to look for the eggs. Col. l'Estrange obtained some eggs on one of the rocky islands to the north of Herm, which certainly were not Tern's eggs as he supposed, and I believe them to have been Turnstone's; unluckily he did not take the eggs himself, but the boatman who was with him took them, so he did not see the bird go off the nest. This last summer (1878) I was in hopes of being more successful either in Guernsey itself or in Herm, or the rocks near there, but I did not see a single Turnstone alive the whole time I was in Guernsey. I think it very likely, however, I should have been successful in Herm, as I visited it several times both by myself and with Col. l'Estrange and Mr. Howard Saunders; our first visit was on June the 21st, when we did not see a single Turnstone; but this was afterwards accounted for, as on a visit to Jago, the bird-stuffer, a short time afterwards, I found him skinning a splendid pair of Turnstones which had been shot in Herm a few days before our visit on the 17th or 18th of June; the female had eggs ready for extrusion; I need not say I did not exactly bless the person who, in defiance of the Guernsey Sea Birds Act, had shot this pair of Turnstones, as had they been left I have no doubt we should have seen them, and probably found the eggs, and quite settled the question of the Turnstone's breeding there. I have long been very sceptical on this subject, but now I have very little doubt, as I think, seeing the birds about, paired, in Guernsey in June and the pair shot in Herm, the female with eggs in June, pretty well removes any doubt as to the Turnstone breeding in the Islands, and I do not see why it should not, as it breeds quite as far south in the Azores, and almost certainly in the Canaries. Mr. Rodd, however, tells me he does not believe in its breeding in the Scilly Islands, though it is seen about there throughout the year, as it is in the Channel Islands. Mr. Gallienne, in his remarks on Professor Ansted's list, merely says, "The Turnstone is found about the neighbourhood of Herm throughout the year." It occurs also in Alderney in the autumn, but I have not seen it there in the breeding-season.
Professor Ansted includes it in his list, but only marks it as occurring in Guernsey. There are a male and female, in breeding plumage, in the Museum, and also one in winter plumage.
109. OYSTERCATCHER, Haematopus ostralegus, Linnaeus. French, "Hiutrier pie."—The Guernsey Bird Act includes these birds under the name 'Piesmarans,' which is the name given to the Oystercatcher by all the French-speaking fishermen and boatmen, and which I suppose must be looked upon only as the local name, though I have no doubt it is the common name also on the neighbouring coast of Normandy and Brittany. The Oystercatcher is resident all the year, and breeds in all the Islands; I think, however, its numbers are considerably increased in the autumn by migratory arrivals; certainly the numbers actually breeding in the Islands are not sufficient to account for the immense flocks one sees about in October and November. There seem, however, to be considerable numbers remaining in flocks throughout the summer, without apparently the slightest intention of separating for breeding purposes, as I have often counted as many as forty or fifty together in June and July. The Oystercatcher breeds in Guernsey itself about the cliffs. Mr. Howard Saunders, Colonel l'Estrange and myself found one very curiously placed nest of the Oystercatcher on the ridge of a hog-backed rock at the bottom of the cliff, near the south end of the Island; it was not much above high-water mark, and quite within reach of heavy spray when there was any sea on: we could distinctly see the eggs when looking down from the cliffs on them, and the two old birds were walking about the ridge of rock as if dancing on the tight-rope; how they kept their eggs in place on that narrow ridge, exposed as it was to wind and sea, was a marvel. The Oystercatcher breeds also in both the small Islands, Jethou and Herm, on almost all the rocky islands to the north of Herm, in Sark and Alderney, and on Burhou, near Alderney, where I found one clutch of three of the most richly marked Oystercatcher's eggs I ever saw: these, as well as another clutch, also of three eggs, were placed on rather curious nests; they were on the smooth rock, but in both cases the birds had collected a number of small stones and made a complete pavement of them, on which they placed their eggs; there was no protection, however, to prevent the eggs from rolling off. Both in Burhou as well as on the Amfroques and other rocks to the north of Herm, the eggs of the Oystercatchers, as well as of the other sea-birds breeding there, had been ruthlessly robbed by fishermen and others, who occasionally visit these wild rocks and carry off everything in the shape of an egg, without paying any respect to the Bird Act, which professes to protect the eggs as well as the birds.
Professor Ansted includes the Oystercatcher in his list, but only marks it as occurring in Guernsey and Sark. There is an Oystercatcher and also a few of the eggs in the Museum.
110. CURLEW. Numenins arquata, Linnaeus. French, "Courlis," "Grand courlis cendre."—A good many Curlews are to be found in the Islands throughout the year, but I do not believe any of them breed there; I have seen them in Guernsey, Jethou, Herm and Alderney, all through the summer, but always in flocks on the mud and seaweed below high-water mark, whenever they can be there, searching for food, and quite as wild and wary as in the winter. I have never seen them paired, or in any place the least likely for them to be breeding. I know Mr. Gallienne, in his remarks to Professor Ansted's list, says, "Although I have never heard of the eggs of either the Curlew or Whimbrel being found, I am satisfied they breed here (I think at Herm), as they stay with us throughout the year." I cannot from my observation agree with this supposition of the Curlew breeding in the Islands; nor can I agree with the statement made by a writer in 'Cassel's Magazine' for June or July, 1878, that he found a young Curlew in the down on one of the Islands near Jethou, probably from the description 'La Fauconniere.' The writer of this paper in 'Cassel's Magazine' was evidently no ornithologist, and must, I think, have mistaken a young Oystercatcher, of which several pairs were breeding there at the time, for a young Curlew; his description of the cry of the old birds as they flew round was much more like that of the Oystercatcher than the Curlew. All of the boatmen also, with whom I have been about at various times, agree that the Curlews do not breed in the Islands, though they are quite aware that they remain throughout the year, and as many of them, in spite of the Guernsey Bird Act, are great robbers of the eggs of the Gulls, Puffins, and Oystercatchers, all of which they know well, they would hardly miss such a fine mouthful as the egg of the Curlew if it was to be found. No doubt the number of Curlews is largely increased in the autumn by migratory visitors, which remain throughout the winter and depart again in the spring: though numerous during autumn and winter, they are very wild and wary, and, as everywhere else where I have had any experience of Curlews at that time of year, very difficult to get a shot at; consequently very few find their way into the market.
The Curlew is mentioned in Professor Ansted's list, but only marked as occurring in Guernsey and Sark. There are two specimens in the Museum.
111. WHIMBREL. Numenius phaeopus, Linnaeus. French, "Courlis corlieu."—A good many Whimbrel visit all the Islands during the spring migration, and a few may stay some little time into the summer, as I have seen them as late as June, but, as far as I have been able to make out, none breed there; a few also may make their appearance on the autumn migration, but very few in comparison with those which appear in the spring, and I have never seen any there at that time. Purdy, one of the Guernsey boatmen, who is pretty well up in the sea and shore birds, told me the Whimbrel occurred commonly in May, but not on the autumn migration. He added that it was known there as the "May-bird," and was very good to eat, and much easier to shoot than a Curlew, in which he is quite right.
Professor Ansted includes the Whimbrel in his list, and marks it only as occurring in Guernsey and Sark. There are two specimens in the Museum.
112. REDSHANK. Totanus calidris, Linnaeus. French, "Chevalier gambette."—An occasional but never numerous visitant to all the Islands, on both spring and autumn migrations; none appear to remain through the summer. I have, however, a Redshank in full breeding plumage, killed in Guernsey as late as the 23rd of April.
Professor Ansted includes the Redshank in his list, but only marks it as occurring in Guernsey. There are two specimens in the Museum.
113. GREEN SANDPIPER. Totanus ochropus, Linnaeus. French, "Chevalier cul blanc."—The Green Sandpiper is an irregular, very scarce (not so numerous indeed as the Redshank) visitant on the spring and autumn migration. I have seen what was probably a family party about Vazon Bay, in Guernsey, quite at the end of July, but I do not believe this bird ever breeds in the Islands: those I saw were probably the parents and young brood of an early-breeding pair, on their return from some not very distant breeding-ground. Such parties seem only to pay the Islands a very short visit on their return from their breeding-ground; at least I have never seen a Green Sandpiper in the Islands as late as October or November; it may, however, occasionally occur in the winter, as I have a specimen from Torbay killed in December.
Professor Ansted does not include the Green Sandpiper in his list, though he does the Wood Sandpiper, giving, however, no locality for it. I have never seen this latter bird in the Islands, however; nor have I been able to find that one has ever passed through the hands of any of the local bird-stuffers, and I cannot help thinking a mistake has been made; as both birds may, however, occur, and they are something alike, I may, for the benefit of my Guernsey readers, mention that they may immediately be distinguished; the axillary plume or long feathers under the wing, in the Green Sandpiper, being black narrowly barred with white; and in the Wood Sandpiper the reverse, white with a few dark bars and markings; the tail also, in the Green Sandpiper, is much more distinctly and boldy barred with black and white. Alive and on the wing they may be immediately distinguished by the pure white rump and tail-coverts of the Green Sandpiper, which are very conspicuous, especially as the bird rises; the white on the same parts of the Wood Sandpiper is much marked with brown, and consequently never appears so conspicuously. There is one Green Sandpiper at present in the Museum, which there seems no reason to doubt is Guernsey killed.
114. COMMON SANDPIPER. Totanus hypoleucos, Linnaeus. French, "Chevalier guignette."—The Common Sandpiper, or Summer Snipe as it is sometimes called, is a spring and autumn visitant, but never a numerous one, sometimes, however, remaining till the summer. One of Mr. De Putron's men told me he had seen one or two about their pond all this summer (1878), and he believed they bred there; but as to this I am very sceptical; I could see nothing of the bird when I visited the pond in June and July, and I fancy the birds stayed about, as they do sometimes about my own pond here in Somerset, till late perhaps in May, and then departed to breed elsewhere. The latest occurrence I know of was one recorded by Mr. Couch in the 'Zoologist' for 1874, as having been killed on the 3rd of October. Mr. Couch adds that this was the first specimen of the Common Sandpiper he had had since he had been in the Islands.
The Common Sandpiper is included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked as occurring in Guernsey and Sark. There is no specimen in the Museum.
115. BARTAILED GODWIT. Limosa lapponica, Linnaeus. French, "Barge rousse."—The Bar-tailed Godwit is a regular and sometimes rather numerous spring and autumn visitant. In May, 1876, a considerable number of these birds seem to have rested on the little Island of Herm, where the keeper shot three of them; two of these are now in my possession, and are very interesting, as though all shot at the same time—I believe on the same day—they are in various stages of plumage, the most advanced being in thorough breeding-plumage, and the other not nearly so far advanced; and the third, which I saw but have not got, was not so far advanced as either of the others. In the two which I have the change of colour in the feathers, without moult, may be seen in the most interesting manner, especially in the least advanced, as many of the feathers are still parti-coloured, the colouring matter not having spread over the whole feather; in the most advanced, however, nearly all the feathers were fully coloured with the red of the breeding-plumage. This red plumage remains till the autumn, when it is replaced, after the moult, by the more sombre and less handsome grey of the winter plumage. Though the Bar-tailed Godwit goes far north to breed, not breeding much nearer than Lapland and the north of Norway and Sweden, both old and young soon show themselves again in the Channel Islands on their return journey, as I shot a young bird of the year in Herm the last week in August. Most of the autumn arrivals, however, soon pass on to more southern winter quarters, only a few remaining very late, perhaps quite through the winter, as I have one shot in Guernsey as late as the 14th of December; this one, I need hardly say, is in full winter plumage, and of course presents a most striking difference to the one shot in Herm in May.
The Bar-tailed Godwit is included in Professor Ansted's list, but only marked as occurring in Guernsey. It is, however, as I have shown, perhaps more common in Herm, and it also occurs in Alderney. There is a series of these in the Museum in change and breeding-plumage.
The Blacktailed Godwit is also included in Professor Ansted's list, but I have never seen the bird in the Islands or been able to glean any information concerning it, and there is no specimen in the Museum.
116. GREENSHANK. Totanus canescens, Gmelin. French, "Chevalier gris," "Chevalier aboyeur."—The Greenshank can only be considered a rare occasional visitant. I have never shot or seen it myself in the Islands, but Miss C.B. Carey records one in the 'Zoologist' for 1872 as having been shot on the 2nd of October of that year, and brought to Mr. Couch's, at whose shop she saw it.
The Greenshank is included in Professor Ansted's list, but there is no letter to note which of the Islands it has occurred in. There is no specimen in the Museum.
117. RUFF. Machetes pugnax, Linnaeus. French, "Combatant," "Combatant variable."—The Ruff is an occasional but not very common autumn and winter visitant; it occurs, probably, more frequently in the autumn than the winter. Mr. MacCulloch writes me, "I have a note of a Ruff shot in October, 1871." This probably was, like all the Guernsey specimens I have seen, a young bird of the year in that state of plumage in which it leads to all sorts of mistakes, people wildly supposing it to be either a Buff-breasted or a Bartram's Sandpiper. Miss C.B. Carey records one in the 'Zoologist' for 1871 as shot in September of that year; this was a young bird of the year. Miss C.B. Carey also records two in the 'Zoologist' for 1872 as having been shot about the 13th of April in that year; these she describes as being in change of plumage but having no ruff yet; probably the change of colour in the feathers was beginning before the long feathers of the ruff began to grow; and this agrees with what I have seen of the Ruff in confinement; the change of colour in the feathers of the body begins before the ruff makes its appearance.
Professor Ansted includes the Ruff in his list, and only marks it as occurring in Guernsey. There is no specimen in the Museum at present.
118. WOODCOCK. Scolopax rusticola, Linnaeus. French, "Becasse ordinaire."—The Woodcock is a regular and tolerably common autumnal visitant to all the Islands, arriving and departing about the same time as in England,—none, however, remaining to breed, as is so frequently the case with us. There might be some good cock shooting in the Islands if the Woodcocks were the least preserved, but as soon as one is heard of every person in the Island who can beg, borrow, or steal a gun and some powder and shot is out long before daylight, waiting for the first shot at the unfortunate Woodcock as soon as there should be sufficient daylight. In fact, such a scramble is there for a chance at a Woodcock that a friend of mine told me he got up long before daylight one morning and went to a favourite spot to begin at; thinking to be first on the ground, he sat on a gate close by waiting for daylight; but so far from his being the first, he found, as it got light, three other people, all waiting, like himself, to begin as soon as it was light enough, each thinking he was going to be first and have it all his own way with the cocks. Besides the gun, another mode of capturing the Woodcocks used till very lately to be, and perhaps still is, practised at Woodlands and some other places where practicable in Guernsey. Nets are set across open paths between the trees, generally Ilex, through which the Woodcocks take their flight when going out "roading," as it is called—that is, when on their evening excursion for food; into these nets the Woodcocks fly and become easy victims.
Professor Ansted includes the Woodcock in his list, but only marks it as occurring in Guernsey and Sark. There is one specimen in the Museum.
119. SOLITARY SNIPE. Scolopax major, Gmelin. French, "Grande becassine."—I have never been fortunate enough to shoot a Solitary Snipe myself in the Channel Islands, neither have I seen one at any of the bird-stuffers; but that is not very likely, as the shooter of a Solitary Snipe only congratulates himself on having killed a fine big Snipe, and carries it off for dinner, but, from some of the descriptions I have had given me of these fine big Snipes, I have no doubt it has occasionally been a Solitary Snipe. Mr. MacCulloch also writes me word that the Solitary Snipe occasionally occurs.
It is included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked by him as occurring in Guernsey and Sark. There is no specimen at present in the Museum.
120. SNIPE. Gallinago gallinaria, Gmelin. French, "Becassine ordinaire."—The Common Snipe is a regular and rather numerous autumnal visitant to all the Islands, remaining through the winter and departing again in the spring, some few remaining rather late into the summer. I am very sceptical myself about the Snipe breeding in the Channel Islands in the present day, although I was told one or two were seen about Mr. De Putron's pond late this summer, and were supposed to be breeding there; however, I could see nothing of them when there in June and July, although, as I have said before, Mr. De Putron kindly allowed me to search round his pond for either birds or eggs. Mr. MacCulloch, however, thinks they still breed in Guernsey, as he writes to me to say, "I believe that Snipes continue to breed here occasionally; I have heard of them, and put them up myself in summer." If they do, I should think the most likely places would be the wild gorse and heath-covered valleys leading down to the Gouffre and Petit Bo Bay, as there is plenty of water and soft feeding places in both; I have never seen one there, however, though I have several times walked both those valleys and the intervening land during the breeding-season, and I should think all these places were much too much overrun with picnic parties and excursionists to allow of Snipes breeding there now. Should the Snipe, however, still breed in the Island, it would be as well to give it a place in the Guernsey Bird Act, as it is much more worthy of protection during the breeding-season than many of the birds there mentioned. Sometimes in the autumn I have seen and shot Snipe in the most unlikely places when scrambling along between huge granite boulders lying on a surface of hard granite rock, where it would be perfectly impossible for a Snipe to pick up a living; indeed with his sensitive bill I do not believe a Snipe, if he found anything eatable, could pick it off the hard ground. Probably the Snipes I have found in these unlikely places were not there by choice, but because driven from their more favourite places by the continual gunning going on in almost every field inland.
The Snipe is included in Professor Ansted's list, but only marked as occurring in Guernsey: it is difficult to say why this should be, when the Solitary Snipe and the Jack Snipe are marked as occurring in Guernsey and Sark, and all three are, at least, as common in Alderney as in the other two Islands. There is one specimen in the Museum.
121. JACK SNIPE. Gallinago gallinula, Linnaeus. French, "Becassine Jourde."—The Jack Snipe is a regular autumnal visitant to all the Islands, but never so numerous as the Common Snipe. A few may always be seen, however, hung up in the market with the Common Snipes through the autumn and winter.
Professor Ansted includes it in his list, and marks it only as occurring in Guernsey and Sark. There is no specimen at present in the Museum.
122. KNOT. Tringa canutus, Brisson. French, "Becasseau canut," "Becasseau maubeche."—Common as the Knot is on the south and west coast of England during autumn and winter, it is by no means so common in the Channel Islands. I have never shot it there myself in any of my autumnal expeditions. Miss C.B. Carey records one, however, in the 'Zoologist' for 1871, as having been shot on September the 23rd of that year; and Mr. Harvie Brown mentions seeing a solitary Knot far out on the shore at Herm in January, 1869. These are the only occasions I am certain about, although it probably occurs sparingly every year, but I have never seen it even in the market, and were it at all common a few certainly would have occasionally found their way there.
Professor Ansted includes it in his list, but only marks it as occurring in Guernsey. There is no specimen at present in the Museum.
123. CURLEW SANDPIPER. Tringa subarquata, Gueldenstaedt. French, "Becasseau cocorli."—The Curlew Sandpiper, or Pigmy Curlew as it is sometimes called, can only be considered a rare occasional visitant to the Channel Islands. I have never seen or shot one there myself, but Mr. Couch records one in the 'Zoologist' for 1874 as having been shot near the Richmond Barracks on the 5th of October of that year. Colonel L'Estrange told me also that some were seen in a small bay near Grand Rocque in the autumn of 1877. It may, however, have occurred at other times and been passed over or looked upon as only a Purre, from which bird, however, it may immediately be distinguished by its longer legs and taller form when on the ground, and by the white rump.
It is not included in Professor Ansted's list, and there is no specimen in the Museum.
124. PURRE or DUNLIN. Tringa alpina, Linnaeus. French, "Becasseau brunette," "Becasseau variable."—The Purre is resident in all the Islands throughout the year in considerable numbers, which however are immensely increased in the autumn by migratory arrivals, most of which remain throughout the winter, departing in the spring for their breeding stations. Though resident throughout the year, and assuming full breeding plumage, I am very doubtful as to the Purre breeding in the Islands; I have never been able to find eggs, nor, as a rule, have I found the bird anywhere but on its ordinary winter feeding-ground, amongst the mud and seaweed between high and low water mark. The most likely parts to find them breeding seem to be some of the high land and heather in Guernsey and the sandy common on the northern part of Herm, near which place I saw a few this summer (1878) in perfect breeding plumage, and showing more signs of being paired than they generally do, and in parts of Alderney.
Professor Ansted has not mentioned it in his list. There are two specimens in the Museum, both in breeding plumage.
125. LITTLE STINT. Tringa minuta, Leishler. French, "Becasseau echasses," "Becasseau minute."—The Little Stint is only an occasional and never numerous autumnal visitant. I have seen one or two in the flesh at Mr. Couch's, killed towards the end of October, but I have never seen one alive or shot one myself.
It is included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked as occurring in Guernsey only. There is no specimen in the Museum.
126. SANDERLING. Calidris arenaria, Linnaeus. French, "Sanderling variable."—The Sanderling is a regular and rather early autumn visitant to all the Islands, as I have shot one as early as the end of August in Cobo Bay in Guernsey; this is about the time the Sanderling makes its first appearance on the opposite side of the Channel at Torbay. I have not met with it later on in October and November, but no doubt a few remain throughout the winter as they do in Torbay, where I have shot Sanderlings as late as the 27th of December; a few also probably visit the Islands on their return migration in the spring. The two in the Museum seem to bear out this, as one is nearly in winter plumage, and the other is assuming the red plumage of the breeding season, and could not have been killed before April or May.
The Sanderling is included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked by him as occurring in Guernsey and Sark.
127. GREY PHALAROPE. Phalaropus fulicarius, Linnaeus. French, "Phalarope gris," "Phalarope roussatre," "Phalarope phatyrhinque."—The Grey Phalarope is a tolerably regular and occasionally numerous autumnal visitant to all the Islands, not, however, arriving before the end of October or beginning of November. At this time of year the greater numbers of birds are in the varied autumnal plumage so common in British-killed specimens, showing partial remains of the summer plumage; but one I have, killed in November, 1875, was in most complete winter plumage, there not being a single dark or margined feather on the bird. This perfect state of winter plumage is by no means common either in British or Channel Island specimens, so much so that I do not think I have seen one in such perfect winter plumage before.
The Grey Phalarope is included in Professor Ansted's list, but no letters marking its distribution through the Islands are added, perhaps because it was considered to be generally distributed through all of them. There is no specimen at present in the Museum.
128. HERON. Ardea cinerea, Linnaeus. French, "Heron cendre", "Heron huppe."—A good many Herons may be seen about the Islands at all times of the year; those that remain through the summer, though scattered over all the Islands, are probably all non-breeding birds. I have seen them fishing along the shore in Guernsey, Herm, Alderney, and the rocky islands north of Herm, but I have never seen or heard of an egg being found in either of the Islands, nor have I ever seen anything that bore the most remote resemblance to the nest of a Heron. Mr. MacCulloch, however, writes to me as follows: "The Heron is said to breed occasionally on the Amfrocques and others of those small islets north of Herm." Mr. Howard Saunders, Col. L'Estrange, and myself, however, visited all these islets this last breeding season (1878), and though we saw Herons about fishing in the shallow pools left by the tide, we could see nothing that would lead us to suppose that Herons ever bred there, in fact, though Herons have been known to breed on cliffs by the sea; the Amfroques and all the other little wild rocky islets are apparently the most unlikely places for Herons to breed on. In Guernsey itself, however, it is more likely that a few Herons formerly bred, and that there was once a small Heronry in the Vale. As Mr. MacCulloch writes to me, "There is a locality in the parish of St. Samson, at the foot of Delancy Hill, in the vicinity of the marshes near the Ivy Castle, formerly thickly wooded with old elms, which bears the name of La Heroniere. It may have been a resort of Herons, but I am bound to say the name may have been derived from a family called 'Heron,' now extinct." It seems to me also possible that the family derived their name from being the proprietors of the only Heronry in Guernsey. In the place mentioned by Mr. MacCulloch there are still a great many elm trees quite big enough for Herons to build in, supposing they were allowed to do so, which would not be likely at the present time. The number of Herons in the Channel Islands seems to me to be considerably increased in the autumn, probably by wanderers from the Heronries on the south coast of Devon and Dorset; on the Dart and the Exe, and near Poole.
The Heron is included in Professor Ansted's list, but only marked as occurring in Guernsey. There is no specimen at present in the Museum.
129. PURPLE HERON. Ardea purpurea, Linnaeus. French, "Heron pourpre."—The Purple Heron is an occasional accidental wanderer to all the Islands. Mr. MacCulloch writes me word, "I have notes of that beautiful bird, the Purple Heron, being killed here (Guernsey) in May, 1845, and in 1849; also in Alderney on the 8th May, 1867." Curiously enough Mr. Rodd records the capture of one, a female, near the Lizard, in Cornwall, late in April of the same year. When at Alderney this summer (1878) I was told that a Heron of some sort, but certainly not a Common Heron, had been shot in that Island about six weeks before my visit on the 27th of June. Accordingly I went the next morning to the bird-stuffer, Mr. Grieve, and there I found the bird and the person who shot it, who told me that it rose from some rather boggy ground at the back of the town—that he shot at it and wounded it, but it flew on towards the sea; and as it was getting rather late he did not find it till next morning, when he found it dead near the place he had marked it down the night before. It was in consequence of going to look up this bird that I found the Greenland Falcon before mentioned, which had been shot by the same person. These are all the instances I have been able to collect of the occurrence of the Purple Heron in the Channel Islands.
It is, however, included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked as occurring in Guernsey, probably on the authority of one of the earlier specimens mentioned by Mr. MacCulloch. There is no specimen at present in the Museum.
130. SQUACCO HERON. Ardeola cornuta, Pallas. French, "Heron crabier."—I have in my collection a Guernsey-killed specimen of the Squacco Heron, which Mr. Couch informed me was shot in that island in the summer of 1867, and from inquiries I have made I have no doubt this information is correct. Mr. MacCulloch also writes to me to say, "A Squacco Heron was shot in the Vale Parish on the 14th of May, 1867, no doubt the one Couch sent to you." This was duly recorded by me in the 'Zoologist' for 1872, and is, I believe, the first recorded instance of its occurrence in the Channel Islands.
It is not mentioned in Professor Ansted's list, and there is no specimen in the Museum.
131. BITTERN. Botaurus stellaris, Linnaeus. French, "Heron grand butor," "Le grand butor."—Bitterns were probably at one time more common in Guernsey than they are at present, drainage and better cultivation having contributed to thin their numbers, as it has done in England; and Mr. MacCulloch tells me that in his youth they were by no means uncommon. Of late years, however, they have become much more uncommon, though, as he adds, specimens have been shot within the last three or four years. They seem now, however, to be confined to occasional autumnal and winter visitants. Mr. Couch says ('Zoologist' for 1871):—"On the 30th December, 1874, after a heavy fall of snow, I had a female Bittern brought to me to be stuffed, shot in the morning in the Marais; and on the 2nd of January following another was shot on the beach near the Vale Church. I had also part of some of the quill-feathers of a Bittern sent to me for identification by Mrs. Jago, which had been killed in the Islands the last week in January, 1879." These are the most recent specimens I have been able to get any account of. The bird-stuffer in Alderney (Mr. Grieve) and his friend told me they had shot Bitterns in that island, but did not remember the date.
The Bittern is included in Professor Ansted's list, but only marked as occurring in Guernsey. There is no specimen in the Museum.
132. AMERICAN BITTERN. Botaurus lentiginosus, Montagu. French, "Heron lentigineux."—This occasional straggler from the New World has once, in its wanderings, reached the Channel Islands, and was shot in Guernsey on the 27th October, 1870, and was duly recorded by me in the 'Zoologist' for 1871; it is now in my collection. This is the only occurrence of this bird in the Channel Islands yet recorded; but as the bird occasionally crosses to this side of the Atlantic—several specimens having occurred in the British Islands—it may possibly occur in Guernsey or some of the Channel Islands again. It may, therefore, be as well to point out the principal distinctions between this bird and the Common Bittern last mentioned. Between the adult birds there can be no mistake: the longer and looser feathers on the fore part of the neck, which are slightly streaked and freckled with dark brown, may be immediately distinguished from the much shorter and more regularly marked feathers on the neck of the adult American Bittern. This distinction, however, is not perfectly clear in young birds; but, at any age or in any state of plumage, the birds may be immediately distinguished by the primary quill-feathers, which in the American Bittern are a uniform dark chocolate-brown without any marks whatever, while in the Common Bittern they are much marked and streaked with pale yellowish brown; this may be always relied on at any age or in any plumage.
The American Bittern is not mentioned in Professor Ansted's list, no specimen having been found in the Channel Islands till after the publication of his list, and of course there is no specimen in the Museum.
133. LITTLE BITTERN. Ardetta minuta, Linnaeus. French, "Heron Blongios."—I only know of one occurrence of the Little Bittern in the Channel Islands, and that was towards the end of November, 1876; and Mr. Couch writes to me as follows on the 3rd of December: "A very good Little Bittern was caught alive in the Vale Road; after being shot at and missed by two men, a young man in the road threw his pocket-handkerchief at it and brought it in to me alive." Mr. Couch also informed me, when he forwarded me the specimen, that it was a male by dissection. It is now in my collection, and is a young bird of the year. I am rather sorry that as Mr. Couch got it alive he did not forward it to me in that state, as, unless it had been wounded by the two shots, I have no doubt I should have been able to keep it alive and observe its habits and changes of plumage as it advanced towards maturity.
The Little Bittern is included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked as occurring in Guernsey. There is no specimen in the Museum.
134. SPOONBILL. Platalea leucorodia, Linnaeus. French, "Spatule blanche."—An occasional but by no means common visitant to the Channel Islands. I have been able to hear of but very few instances of its occurrence or capture of late years; Mr. Couch, however, writes me, in a letter dated November, 1873, that a Spoonbill was brought to him to stuff. In all probability this is the same bird recorded by Mr. Broughton in the 'Field' for October 25th, 1873, and in the 'Zoologist' for January, 1874. This is the only very recent specimen I have been able to trace; but Mr. Broughton in his note mentions the occurrence of one about twenty years before; and Mrs. Jago, who, when she was Miss Cumber, did a good deal of bird-stuffing in Guernsey, told me she had stuffed a Spoonbill for the Museum about twenty years ago. This is probably the other one mentioned by Mr. Broughton, and he may have seen it in the Museum; it is not there, however, now—either having become moth-eaten, and consequently thrown away, or lost when the Museum changed its quarters across the market-place. Mr. MacCulloch does not seem to consider the Spoonbill such a very rare visitant to the Channel Islands, as he writes to me, "The Spoonbill is not near so rare a visitor as you seem to think; specimens were killed here in 1844, and in previous years, and again in 1849, and in October, 1873. They are seldom solitary, but generally appear in small flocks. I forget whether it was in 1844 or 1849 that flocks were reported to have been seen in various parts of England, even as far west as Penzance. I think that in one of these years as many as a dozen were seen here in a flock." Mr. Rodd, in his 'List of the Birds of Cornwall,' does not mention either of these years as great years for Spoonbills, only saying, "Occasionally, and especially of late years, observed in various parts of the county; a flock of several was seen and captured at Gwithian; others have been obtained from the neighbourhood of Penzance, and also from Scilly."
The Spoonbill is included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked as occurring in Guernsey. There is no specimen at present in the Museum, the one stuffed by Miss Cumber having, as above mentioned, disappeared.
135. WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE. Anser albifrons, Scopoli. French, "Oie rieuse, ou a front blanc."—None of the Grey Geese seem common in Guernsey; neither the Greylag, the Bean, nor the Pink-footed Goose have, as far as I am aware, been obtained about the Islands, nor have I ever seen any either alive or in the market, where they would be almost sure to be brought had they been shot by any of the fishermen or gunners about the Islands. There is one specimen, however, of the White-fronted Goose in the Museum, which I have reason to believe was killed in or near Guernsey; and this is the only specimen of this Goose which, as far as I am aware, has been taken in the Islands.
The White-fronted Goose is included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked as occurring in Guernsey. The Greylag and the Bean Goose are also included in the list, the Greylag marked as occurring in Guernsey and Sark, and the Bean as only in Guernsey; but no information beyond the letter marking the locality is given as to either; and the only specimen in the Museum is the White-fronted Goose above mentioned, neither of the others being represented there now, nor do I remember ever having seen a specimen of either there.
136. BRENT GOOSE. Bernicla brenta, Brisson. French, "Oie cravant," "Bernache cravant."—The Brent Goose is a regular winter visitant to all the Islands, varying, however, in numbers in different years: sometimes it is very numerous, and affords good sport during the winter to the fishermen, who generally take a gun in the boat with them as soon as the close season is over, sometimes before. The flocks generally consist mostly of young birds of the year; the fully adult birds, however, though fewer in number, are in sufficient numbers to make a very fair show.
Professor Ansted includes it in his list, but only marks it as occurring in Guernsey and Sark; it is, however, quite as common about Herm and Alderney. There is no specimen at present in the Museum.
137. MUTE SWAN. Cygnus olor, Linnaeus. French, "Cygne tubercule."—I do not believe this bird has ever visited the Channel Islands in a thoroughly wild state, though it is pretty widely spread over Europe; its range, however, being generally more to the east than the Channel Islands. Mr. Couch, however, at page 4939 of the 'Zoologist' for 1874, records the occurrence of two Mute Swans on the 7th of September at the Braye Pond, where they were shot. He also says that "five others passed over the Island the same day; they were flying low, and, judging from their colour, were young birds." As no one in the Islands keeps Swans, these were most probably a family party that had strayed away from the Swannery at Abbotsbury, on the opposite coast of Dorset, where some three hundred and fifty pairs still breed annually. I have myself seen as many six hundred and thirty birds there, the hens sitting and the old males each resting quietly by the nest, keeping guard over the female and the eggs. The distance from the Abbotsbury Swannery, which is at the extreme end of the Chesil Beach, in Dorsetshire, to Guernsey is nothing great for Swans to wander; and they often, both old and young (after the young are able to fly), wander away from their home as far as Exmouth on one side and Weymouth Bay or the Needles on the other; and an expedition to Guernsey would be little more than to one of these places, and by September the young, which are generally hatched tolerably early in June (I have seen a brood out with their parents on the water as early as the 27th of May), would be perfectly able to wander, either by themselves or with their parents, as far as the Channel Islands, and, as at this time they rove about outside the Chesil Beach a good deal, going sometimes a long way out to sea, there is no reason they should not do so. It seems a great pity that these fine birds should be shot when they wander across channel to Guernsey, especially when it must be apparent to every one that they are really private property. If the present long close season is to be continued, the Mute Swan might well be added to the somewhat unreasonable list of birds in the Guernsey Sea-birds Act; at all events, Swans would be better worth preserving than Plongeons or Cormorants.
138. HOOPER. Cygnus musicus, Bechstein. French, "Cygne sauvage."—The Wild Swan or Hooper is an occasional visitor to the Channel Islands in hard winters, sometimes probably in considerable numbers, as Mrs. Jago (late Miss Cumber) told me she had had several to stuff in a very hard winter about thirty years ago; some of these were young birds, as she told me some were not so white as others. Mr. MacCulloch also says that the Hooper visits the Channel Islands in severe winters; and the capture of one is recorded by a correspondent of the 'Guernsey Mail and Telegraph' for 4th January, 1879, as having been shot in that Island a few days before; it is said to have been a young bird, grey in colour. The writer of the notice, while distinguishing this bird from the Mute Swan, does not, however, make it so clear whether it was really the present species or Bewick's Swan; from the measurement of the full length (5 ft. 3 in.) given, however, it would appear that it was the present species, as that would be full length for it, while Bewick's Swan would be about one-third less; some description of the bill, however, would have been more satisfactory. It would certainly have been interesting to have had some more particulars about this Swan, as this last severe winter (1878 and 1879) has been very productive of Swans in the south-west of England, the greater number of those occurring in this county of Somerset, however, curiously enough, having been Bewick's Swan, which is generally considered the rarer species. Though Swans have been so exceptionally numerous in various parts of England this winter, the above-mentioned is the only occurrence I have heard of in the Channel Islands.
The Hooper is included in Professor Ansted's list, but marked as only occurring in Guernsey. There are two specimens in the Museum, one adult and one young bird.
139. BEWICK'S SWAN. Cygnus minor, Keys and Blasius. French, "Cygne de Bewick."—I have very little authority for including Bewick's Swan in my list of Guernsey birds; Mr. MacCulloch, however, writes me word, "The Common Hooper has visited us in severe winters, and is certainly not the only species of wild Swan that has been shot here." In all probability the other must have been Bewick's Swan, which no doubt has occasionally occurred, perhaps more frequently than is supposed, though not so frequently as the Hooper. Probably the difference between the two is not sufficiently known; it may, therefore, be as well to point out the distinctions. Bewick's Swan is much smaller than the Hooper, but the great outward distinction is, that in the Hooper the yellow at the base of the bill extends to and includes the nostrils, whereas in Bewick's Swan the yellow occupies a very small portion of the base of the bill, not extending so far as the nostrils: this is always sufficient to distinguish the two, and is almost the only exterior distinction, but on dissection the anatomical structure, especially of the trachea, shows material difference between the two.
Professor Ansted includes Bewick's Swan in his list, and marks it as occurring in Guernsey. There is, however, no specimen at present in the Museum.
140. WILD DUCK. Anas boschas, Linnaeus. French, "Canard sauvage."—-The Wild Duck is an occasional autumn and winter visitant. I have never shot one myself in the Islands, but I have several times seen Guernsey-killed ones in the market. Though a visitant to all the Islands, I do not believe the Wild Duck breeds, at all events at present, in any of them; Mr. MacCulloch, however, writes me word "The Wild Duck formerly bred here;" and Mr. Gallienne, in his 'Notes' to Professor Ansted's list, says—"The Wild Duck formerly bred in Guernsey rather abundantly, but it seldom does so now. Last year a nest was found on one of the rocks near Herm." This would be about 1861. The rocks to the northward of Herm do not seem to me a likely place for the Wild Duck to breed; however, there are one or two places where they might possibly do so. A much more likely place would be in some of the reed beds in the Grande Mare, or even amongst the heather and gorse above the high cliffs on the south and east side of the Island,—a sort of place they are fond of selecting in this county, Somerset, where they frequently nest amongst the heather high up in the hills, and quite away from any water.
The Wild Duck is included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked as occurring in Guernsey and Sark. There is no specimen at present in the Museum.
141. PINTAIL. Dafila acuta, Linnaeus. French, "Pilet," "Canard pilet." The Pintail is an occasional autumn and Winter visitant, but never very common. I have one specimen, a female, killed in Guernsey in November, 1871, and this Mr. Couch told me was the only one he had had through his hands whilst in Guernsey; and Captain Hubbach writes me word that he shot one in Alderney in January, 1863. I have never seen it in the Guernsey market, like the Wild Duck and Teal.
Professor Ansted includes it in his list, but only marks it as occurring in Guernsey. There is one specimen, a male in full plumage, in the Museum.
142. TEAL. Querquedula crecca, Linnaeus. French, "Sarcelle d'hiver."—Like the Wild Duck, the Teal is a regular but never numerous visitant to all the Islands. A few make their appearance in the Guernsey market in October and November, and occasionally through the winter; but Teal do not, as a rule, add much to the Guernsey sportsman's bag. In November, 1871, a friend of mine told me that, after a long day's shooting from daylight till dark, he succeeded in bagging one Teal and one Woodcock. I was rather glad I was not with him on this occasion, but chose the wild shooting on the shore, where I got one or two Golden Plovers, and Turnstone and Ring Dotterel enough for a pie—and, by-the-bye, a very good pie they made.
Professor Ansted includes the Teal in his list, and marks it as occurring in Guernsey and Sark. There is no specimen in the Museum at present.
143. EIDER DUCK. Somateria mollissima, Linnaeus. French, "Canard eider," "Morillon eider."—The Eider Duck occasionally straggles to the Channel Islands in the autumn, but very seldom, and the majority of those that do occur are in immature plumage. I have one immature bird, killed in Guernsey in the winter of 1876; and that is the only Channel Island specimen that has come under my notice, and I think almost the only one Mr. Couch had had through his hands.
The Eider Duck is included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked as occurring in Guernsey. The King Eider is also included in the list, but no letter marking the distribution through the Islands is given, and no information beyond the mere name, so I should think in all probability this must have been a mistake, especially as I can find no other evidence whatever of its occurrence. There is no specimen of either bird in the Museum.
144. COMMON SCOTER. Oidemia nigra, Linnaeus. French, "Macreuse," "Canard macreuse."—The Scoter is a common autumn and winter visitant to all the Islands, generally making its appearance in considerable flocks; sometimes, however, the flocks get broken up, and single birds may then be seen scattered about in the more sheltered bays. Some apparently remain till tolerably late in the spring as Mr. MacCulloch wrote me word that a pair of Scoters were killed in the last week in April, 1878, off the Esplanade; he continues, "I had only a cursory glance of them as I was passing through the market in a hurry, and I am not sure they were not Velvet Scoters. The male had a great deal of bright yellow about the nostrils." Mr. MacCulloch, however, told me afterwards, when I asked him more about them, and especially whether he had seen any white about the wing, that he had not seen any white whatever about them, so I have but little doubt that they were Common Scoters, and he could hardly have failed to be struck by the conspicuous white bar on the wing, by which the Velvet Scoter, both male and female, may immediately be distinguished from the Common Scoter. As on the South Coast of Devon or Dorset, a few scattered Scoters—non-breeding birds, of course—remain throughout the summer. I have one, a male, killed off Guernsey on July 19th: this bird is in that peculiar state of plumage which all the males of the Anatidae put on from about July to October, and in which many of them look so like the females.
The Common Scoter is included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked only as occurring in Guernsey. The Velvet Scoter is also included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked as occurring in Guernsey; but there seems to be no other evidence of its having occurred in the Islands; and a mistake may easily have been made, however, as the Velvet Scoter occurs tolerably frequently on the south coast of Devon, though never in such numbers as the Common Scoter; it may, of course, occur in the Channel Islands occasionally. There is no specimen of either bird in the Museum.
145. GOOSANDER. Mergus merganser, Linnaeus. French, "Grand Harle."—The Goosander is a regular and tolerably numerous visitant to all the Islands, arriving in the autumn and remaining throughout the winter. The heavy-breaking seas of the Channel Islands do not appear to disturb the composure of these birds in the least, for once, on my voyage home on the 16th November, 1871, I saw a small flock of Goosanders off Herm, close to the steamer; they were swimming perfectly unconcerned in a heavy-breaking sea, which made the steamer very lively, dipping first one and then the other paddle-box into the water; as we got close up to them they rose, but only flew a short distance and pitched again in the white water. They seem to me to keep the sea better than the Red-breasted Merganser—at least, I have not seen them seek shelter so much in the different bays.
The Goosander is included in Professor Ansted's list, but only marked as occurring in Guernsey. There is no specimen in the Museum at present, though I think there used to be one, but I suppose it has got moth-eaten and been thrown away.
146. RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. Mergus serrator, Linnaeus. French, "Harle Huppe."—Like the Goosander, the Red-breasted Merganser is a regular and by no means uncommon autumn and winter visitant to the Channel Islands. It seems to me, as I said before, that these birds seek the more sheltered bays during wild squally weather more than the Goosanders do; not but what they can keep the sea well even in bad weather, but I have never seen or shot the Goosander close to the shore seeking smooth water, as I have done the Red-breasted Merganser. The greater number of Red-breasted Mergansers killed in the Channel Islands which I have seen have been either females or males that had not assumed the full adult plumage—in fact, in that state of plumage in which they are the "Dun Diver" of Bewick; full-plumaged adult males do, however, occur as well as females and young males, or males in a state of change.
Professor Ansted includes the Red-breasted Merganser in his list, but only marks it as occurring in Guernsey. There are two specimens in the Museum—a male in full plumage and a female or young male.
147. SMEW. Mergus albellus, Linnaeus. French, "Harle piette," "Harle etoile," "Petit harle huppe."—The Smew can only be considered an occasional accidental autumnal visitant, and the few that do occur are generally either females, young males, or males still in a state of change. I do not know of any instance in which a full-plumaged male has occurred in the Channel Islands.
It is mentioned in Professor Ansted's list, and marked as occurring in Guernsey only. There are two specimens in the Museum, both females or immature males, or, at all events, males which have not begun to assume their proper plumage after the summer change.
148. LITTLE GREBE. Podiceps minor, Gmelin. French, "Grebe castagneux."—The Little Grebe, or Dabchick, occurs occasionally in the Islands, mostly as an autumnal or winter visitant. I have occasionally seen freshly-killed ones hanging up in the market in November; I have, however, never seen it alive or shot it in the Islands. Mr. Couch, writing to me in December, 1876, told me that Mr. De Putron had told him that Little Grebes had bred in his pond in the Vale the summer before, and Mr. De Putron afterwards confirmed this; they can only breed there occasionally, however, as there were certainly none breeding there in 1878, when I was there.
The Little Grebe is included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked by him as occurring in Guernsey only. There are two specimens in the Museum and some eggs, which were said to be Guernsey, and probably were so, perhaps from the Vale Pond.
149. EARED GREBE. Podiceps nigricollis, Sundeval. French, "Grebe oreillard."—The Eared Grebe is an occasional autumnal visitant to the Islands, remaining on till the winter; it is never very numerous; in some years, however, it appears to visit the Islands in greater numbers than in others, as Mr. Couch mentions, at p. 4380 of the 'Zoologist' for 1875, that, amongst other grebes, four Eared Grebes were brought to him between the 4th and 13th of January. I do not know, however, that it ever occurs at any time of year except the winter and autumn; and I have never seen a Channel Island specimen in breeding plumage, or even in a state of change.
The Eared Grebe is included in Professor Ansted's list, but only marked as occurring in Guernsey. There is now no specimen in the Museum.
150. SCALAVONIAN GREBE. Podiceps auritus, Linnaeus. French, "Grebe cornu ou Esclavon."—The Sclavonian Grebe is a regular and rather numerous autumn and winter visitor to all the Islands. In rough weather it may be seen fishing about the harbour at Guernsey when it can find any protection from the rough seas that so often rage all round the Island, and which drive it to seek shelter either about the harbour or some of the more protected bays. I do not know that it has ever bred in the Islands, but there was a very fine specimen in full breeding-plumage at the late Mr. Mellish's, which I often saw there; and, on subsequent inquiry from his son, Mr. William Mellish, he wrote in 1878 to me to say, "The Sclavonian Grebe was killed by my brother Alfred at Arnold's Pond, just the other side of the Vale Church to the one on which you were." This Arnold's Pond is the one I have so often mentioned before as Mr. De Putron's. I have not been able to ascertain the exact date at which this bird was killed, but it must have been some time in the spring, as it was in full breeding-plumage. There is also one in full breeding-plumage in the Museum, so it must occasionally stay on some time into the spring. The young birds and adults in winter plumage, when it is the Dusky Grebe of Bewick, are very much like the Eared Grebe in the same state of plumage; but they may always be distinguished, the Sclavonian Grebe always being rather the larger and having the bill straighter, and making a more regular cone than that of the Eared Grebe, which is slightly turned up. In the full breeding-plumage there can be no possibility of confounding the two species.
The Sclavonian Grebe is included in Professor Ansted's list, but only marked as occurring in Guernsey. There are two specimens in the Museum, one in full breeding-plumage and one in winter plumage.
151. RED-NECKED GREBE. Podiceps griseigena, Boddaert. French, "Grebe jou-gris."—I have never seen a Channel Island specimen of the Red-necked Grebe in full breeding-plumage as I have the Sclavonian, but it is a tolerably regular autumn and winter visitant, and in some years appears to be the more numerous of the two. Certainly in November, 1875, this was the case, and the Red-necked Grebe was commoner than either the Great-crested or the Sclavonian Grebe, especially about the Guernsey coast between St. Peter's Port and St. Samson's, where I saw several; and a good many were also brought into Mr. Couch's about the same time more than usual. One which I obtained had slight traces of the red about the throat remaining, otherwise this one was like the others which I saw in complete winter plumage.
The Red-necked Grebe is included in Professor Ansted's list, but only marked as occurring in Guernsey. There is one specimen in the Museum.
152. GREAT-CRESTED GREBE. Podiceps cristatus, Linnaeus. French. "Grebe huppe."—The Great-crested Grebe is a regular autumn and winter visitant to the Channel Islands, but not, I think, in quite such numbers as at Teignmouth and Exmouth and along the south coast of Devon. I have not shot this bird in the Channel Islands myself, nor have I seen it alive: but I have seen several Guernsey-killed specimens. These were all young birds or adults in winter plumage; and I have one, a young bird of the year, killed in the Guernsey harbour late in November, 1876.
It is included in Professor Ansted's list, but only marked as occurring in Guernsey. There is one specimen, a young bird of the year, in the Museum.
153. GREAT NORTHERN DIVER. Colymbus glacialis, Linnaeus. French, "Plongeon imbrim."—The Great Northern Diver is a common autumn and winter visitant to all the Islands, arriving early in November, perhaps even about the last week in October. The earliest date at which I have seen it myself was on the 9th November. A considerable majority of these autumnal visitants are young birds of the year, the rest being adults in winter plumage; but, as is the case on the south coast of Devon, a few occasionally remain so late on in the spring as to have fully attained the breeding-plumage. There is one Guernsey-killed specimen in perfect, or nearly perfect, breeding-plumage in the Museum, which I think was killed some time in May by Mr. Peter Le Newry, a well-known fisherman and gunner living in Guernsey, who procured a good many specimens for that establishment, but, unluckily, no note as to date or locality has been preserved; he told me he had killed this bird late in the spring, but could not when I saw him remember the exact date. It must not be supposed that because this bird occasionally remains in the Islands late into the spring, and assumes its full breeding-plumage before leaving, that it ever remains to breed or avails itself of the protection so kindly afforded to it and its congeners, as well as their eggs, by the Guernsey Bird Act.
The Great Northern Diver is included in Professor Ansted's list, but only marked as occurring in Guernsey. There are four specimens in the Museum in full breeding plumage and change.
154. BLACK-THROATED DIVER. Colymbus arcticus, Linnaeus. French, "Plongeon a gorge noir."—The Black-throated Diver is a much less common visitor to the Islands than either the Great Northern or Red-throated Diver; it does, however, occasionally occur in the autumn and winter; all the specimens that have been obtained are either immature or in winter plumage, and I do not know of a single instance in which it has been procured in full plumage as the Great Northern has. In the 'Zoologist' for 1875 Mr. Couch records the occurrence of a Black-throated Diver on the 19th of January of that year, and of another on the 30th of the same month; these are the most recent occurrences of which I am aware. No doubt the young Black-throated Diver may be occasionally mistaken for and passed over as the young Northern Diver; but it may always be known by its much smaller size, being intermediate between that bird and the Red-throated Diver, from which, however, it may always be distinguished by wanting the white spots on the back and wing-coverts which are always present in the winter plumage of the adult Red-throated Diver, and the oval marks on the margins of the feathers of the same parts in the young birds of the year.
The Black-throated Diver is included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked as only occurring in Guernsey. There is one specimen, an immature bird, in the Museum.
155. RED-THROATED DIVER. Colymbus septentrionalis, Linnaeus. French, "Plongeon a gorge rouge," "Plongeon cat-marin."—The Red-throated Diver is a regular autumn and winter visitant to the Islands, and rather the most common of the three Divers. As with the Northern Diver, it occasionally remains until it has nearly assumed its full breeding-plumage, but it does not occur so frequently in that plumage as it does on the south coast of Devon and Dorset; indeed I have never found either this bird or the Great Northern Diver so common in the Channel Islands as they are about Exmouth and Teignmouth, even in the ordinary winter plumage; probably the mouths of rivers were more attractive to them as producing more food than the wild open seas of the Channel Islands. Owing to its various changes of plumage, from age or time of year, the Red-throated Diver has been made to do duty as more than one species, and is the Speckled Diver of Pennant, Montagu and Bewick.
It is mentioned in Professor Ansted's list, but marked as only occurring in Guernsey. There is no specimen at present in the Museum.
156. GUILLEMOT. Alca troile, Linnaeus. French, "Guillemot a capuchon," "Guillemot troile."—The Guillemot is very common about the Channel Islands in Autumn and winter, but is seldom seen during the summer season except near its breeding stations, which, as far as my district is concerned, are very few. It does not breed in Guernsey, Sark, or Herm, or even on the rocky islands to the north of Herm. In Alderney, I am told, it has one small station on the mainland on the side nearest the French coast. I was told of this by the person who shot the Greenland Falcon, and by one or two of the fishermen on my last visit to that Island. I had not time then to visit the place, and on former visits I must quite have overlooked it. Captain Hubbach, however, kindly promised that he would visit the spot, and soon after I left, about the middle of June, 1878, he did so, and his account to me was as follows:—"I have been twice along the cliffs with my glass, but have not seen either a Guillemot or Razorbill. An old boatman here tells me that he took their eggs off the rocks at the French side of Alderney last year (1877), and that they bred there every year. He describes the eggs as 'the same blue and green and white ones with black spots that are on the Ortack Rock.'" This very much confirms what Mr. Gallienne says, in his notes to Professor Ansted's list—"The Razorbill and Guillemot breed on the Ortack Rock and on the cliffs at Alderney." This Ortack Rock is to the west of Alderney, between Burhou and the Caskets, and a considerable number of Guillemots and Razorbills breed there, but it is not to be compared as a breeding station for these birds with those at Lundy Island and South Wales. During the summer a few Guillemots, probably non-breeding birds, may be seen at sea round Guernsey, and one or two stragglers may generally be seen when crossing from Guernsey to Sark or Herm. I have never seen the variety called the Ringed Guillemot, Alca lacrymans, in the Channel Islands, but, as it may occasionally occur, it is as well to mention it, although it is now rightly considered only a variety of the Common Guillemot, from which it differs only in summer plumage, when it has a white ring round the eye, and a white streak passing backwards from the eye down the side of the neck: this distinction is not apparent in the winter plumage, nor is there any distinction between the eggs.
The Guillemot is included in Professor Ansted's list, but is only marked as occurring in Guernsey and Sark. There are two specimens in summer plumage in the Museum, and one in winter plumage.
157. LITTLE AUK. Mergulus alle, Linnaeus. French, "Guillemot nain."—The Little Auk can only be considered a rare occasional wanderer to the Channel Islands, generally driven before the heavy autumnal and winter gales. I only know of the occurrence of two specimens: one of these was recorded by Mr. Couch in the 'Zoologist' for 1875, as having been killed on the 30th January in that year; and I had a letter from Mr. Couch, dated the 20th December, 1872, in which he informed me that a Little Auk had been taken alive in Guernsey on the 17th of that month: this one had probably, as is often the case, been driven ashore during a gale, and, being too exhausted to rise, had been taken by hand.
The Little Auk is included in Professor Ansted's list, and marked as occurring in Guernsey and Sark. There is no specimen at present in the Museum.
158. PUFFIN. Fratercula arctica, Linnaeus. French, "Macareux."—The Puffin, or Barbelote as it is called by the Guernsey sailors and in the Guernsey Bird Act, is a regular and numerous summer visitant to the Islands, breeding in considerable numbers in many places. None breed, however, in Guernsey itself, or in any of the little rocky islands immediately surrounding it. Some breed on Sark and the islands about it, and a few also on Herm; but their great breeding quarters about these parts are from the Amfrocques to the north end of Herm. On every one of the little rocky islands between these places, and including the Amfrocques, considerable numbers of Puffins breed, either in holes in the soft soil which has accumulated on some of these islands, or amongst the loose rocks and stones; these latter, however, are the safest places for the Puffin, as, in spite of the Guernsey Bird Act, which protects the eggs as well as the birds, the Guernsey fishermen are fond of visiting these islands whenever they can for the purpose of what they call "Barbeloting;" and they soon lift up the loose earth with their hands and get at the eggs; but the Puffins, who have laid in holes in the rocks and amongst loose stones, are much better off, as a good big stone of two or three tons is not so easily moved. I visited all these little islands in the summer of 1878 with Mr. Howard Saunders, and we found all the Puffins who had had eggs in holes in the earth had been robbed almost without an exception; the others, however, were pretty safe. Besides these islands the Puffins breed in Alderney itself, and on Burhou, where, however, their eggs are robbed nearly as much as in the islands north of Herm, especially the eggs of those who choose holes in the soft earth. The Puffins do not seem to be very regular in their time of nesting; at least, when I was at Burhou on the 14th of June, 1876, I found quite fresh eggs, eggs just ready to hatch, young birds in the down, and young birds just beginning to get a few feathers and almost able to take to the water; it was fun to see one of these when he had been unearthed waddle off to the nearest hole as fast as his legs could carry him—generally, however, coming down every second or third step. The reason for the irregularity in hatching was probably owing to the first brood having been lost, the eggs probably having been robbed. During the breeding season the Puffins keep very close to their breeding-stations, and do not apparently wander more than a few hundred yards from them even in search of food; so that, unless you actually visit the islands on which they breed, you can form no idea of the number of Puffins actually breeding in the Channel Islands. The number of Puffins, however, at Burhou seem to me to have considerably diminished of late years, for in the summer of 1866, when going through the Swinge, we passed a great flock of these birds; "in fact, for more than a mile both air and water were swarming with them." This certainly was not the case in either 1876 or 1878, though there were still a great many Puffins there; probably the continued egg-stealing has had some effect in reducing their numbers. After the breeding-season the Puffins seem to leave the Channel Islands for the winter, as they do at Lundy Island and in the British Channel; they may return occasionally, as they do in the Bristol Channel, for a short time in foggy weather; but I have never seen a Puffin in any of my passages in October and November, or in any boating expedition at that time of year, and I have never heard any of the boatmen talk about Barbelotes being seen about in the winter. An unsigned paper, however, in the 'Star' for April 27th, 1878, mentions Puffins amongst other winter birds; but I very much doubt their making their appearance in the winter except as accidental visitants; there is one specimen, however, in the Museum, which, judging by the bill, must have been killed in the winter, or, at all events, to quote Dr. Bureau, "apres la saison des amours." Dr. Bureau, in a very interesting paper on this curious change, or rather moult, which takes place in the bill of the Puffin, and which has been translated into the 'Zoologist' for 1878, where a plate showing the changes is given, says that Puffins are cast ashore on the coast of Brittany during the winter, for he says they leave the coast, as I believe they do that of the Channel Islands, and the only indication of their continuing there is that dead birds are rolled on the shore after severe gales in the autumn and winter; and "these birds are clad in a plumage different to that worn by those we get in the breeding-season. In the orbital region, for instance, they have a spot, more or less large, of a dusky brown; they have not the red eyelids, nor the horny plates above and below the eye, nor have they the puckered yellow skin at the base of the bill, and, what is still more remarkable, the bill is differently formed; it is neither of the same size, shape, nor colour, and the pieces of which it is composed are not even the same. It is small sliced off (trongue) in front, especially at the lower mandible, wanting the pleat (ourlet) at the base, and flattened laterally on a level with the nostrils, where a solid horny skin of a bright lead-colour is replaced by a short membrane." The whole paper by Dr. Bureau on this subject is most interesting, but is much too long for me to insert here; the nature, however, of the change which takes place must be so interesting to many of my readers who are familiar with the Puffin in its breeding plumage, and who, in spite of the Bird Act, perhaps occasionally enjoy a day's "Barbeloting," that I could not help quoting as much of the paper as would be sufficient to point out the general nature of the change.
The Puffin is included in Professor Ansted's list, but marked as occurring only in Guernsey and Sark. There are two specimens in the Museum; one in the ordinary summer plumage, and one apparently in the winter plumage above described; but it is difficult to be quite certain on the subject, as it has been smeared over with bird-stuffer's paint, probably with the view of making it as like the ordinary summer plumage as possible.
159. RAZORBILL. Alca torda, Linnaeus. French, "Pingouin macroptere."—The Razorbill is not by any means numerous in the Channel Islands, but a few breed about Ortack, and, as has been said before, in Alderney, but nowhere else; and they are by no means so numerous as the Guillemot. It is resident throughout the year, though perhaps more common in the autumn than at any other time. Mr. Harvey Brown, however, mentions seeing a small flock swim by with the tide, at the north-end of Herm, in January. Mr. MacCulloch writes me word he has a note of a Razorbill Auk shot in Guernsey on the 14th February, 1847; this, of course, is only a young Razorbill of the previous year, which had not at that time fully developed its bill.
The Razorbill is included in Professor Ansted's list, but only marked as occurring in Guernsey. There are two Razorbills in the Museum, one in summer and one in winter plumage.
160. CORMORANT. Phalacrocorax carbo, Linnaeus. French, "Grand cormoran."—The Cormorant is by no means common in the Islands; I have never seen it about Guernsey, though I have seen one or two near Herm; I do not know that it breeds anywhere in the Islands, except at Burhou, and there only one or two pairs breed. I was shown the nesting-place just at the opening of a small sort of cavern; there was, however, only the remains of one egg that had been hatched, and probably the young gone off with its parents. I, however, received an adult bird and a young bird of the year, shot in the harbour at Alderney in August of that year, and those are the only Channel Island specimens of the Cormorant that I have seen.
Professor Ansted includes the Cormorant in his list, and marks it as occurring only in Guernsey and Sark. There is no specimen at present in the Museum.
161. SHAG. Phalacrocorax graculus, Linnaeus. French, "Cormoran largup."—The Shag almost entirely takes the place, as well as usurps the name, of its big brother, as in the Islands it is invariably called the Cormorant. The local Guernsey-French name "Cormoran" is applicable probably to either the Shag or the Cormorant. The Shag is the most numerous of the sea birds which frequent the Islands, the Herring Gull not even excepted, every nook and corner of the high cliffs in all the Islands being occupied by scores of Shags during the breeding-season. They take care, however, to place their nests in tolerably inaccessible places that cannot well be reached without a rope. The principal breeding-places are—in Guernsey, about the Gull Cliffs, and from there to Petit Bo, and a few, but not so many, on the rocks between there and Fermain, wherever they can find a place; none breed on the north or west side of the Island; in Jethou and Herm, and on the rock called La Fauconniere, a few also breed, but not so many as in Guernsey, and we did not find any breeding on the Amfrocques or the other rocks to the north of Herm. On Sark they breed in great numbers, mostly on the west side nearest to Guernsey, and on the Isle de Marchant or Brechou, especially on the grand cliffs on both sides the narrow passage which divides that Island from the mainland of Sark, and from there to the Coupee, and from there round Little Sark to the Creux Harbour on the south-east. On the east side, that towards the French coast, there are few or none breeding, the cliffs not being so well suited to them; a great number breed also on Alderney, on the high cliffs on the south and east, but none on Burhou. The Shags appear to breed rather earlier than the Herring Gulls; when I was in the Islands in June, 1876, almost all the Shags had hatched, and the young were standing by their parents on the rocks close to their nests. When I visited some of the breeding-places of the Shags on the 27th of May, 1878, neither Gulls nor Shags had hatched, but when I went to the Gull Cliff on the 20th of June I found nearly all the Shags had hatched, though none or very few of the Herring Gulls had done so; some of the young Shags had left the nests and were about on the water; others were nearly ready to leave, and several were little things quite in the down. Though it is generally easy to look down upon the Shags on their nests, and to get a good view at a short distance of the eggs and the young, it is, as a rule, by no means easy to get at them without a rope; in a few places, however, their nests are more accessible, and a hard climb on the rocks, perhaps with a burning sun making them almost too hot to hold, will bring you within reach of a Shag's nest; but I would not advise any one who tries it to put on his "go-to-meeting clothes," as the deposit of guano on the rocks will spoil anything; and only let him smell his hands after his exploit—they do smell so nice! One of the parents generally stands by the young after they are hatched, I suppose to prevent them from wandering about and falling off the rocks, as the positions of some of them seem very critical, there being only just room for the family to stand; the other parent is generally away fishing, only returning at intervals to feed his family and dry his feathers before making a fresh start; sometimes one parent takes a turn to stay by the young, and sometimes the other. The usual number of young appeared to be three, sometimes only one or two; but in these cases it is probable that a young one or two may have waddled off the rock, or got into a crevice from which the parents could not extricate it, accidents which I should think frequently happen; or an egg or two may have been blown from the nest, or egg or young fallen a victim to some marauding Herring Gull during the absence of the parents. The Shag assumes its full breeding-plumage and crest very early; I have one in perfect breeding-plumage, killed in February; and Miss C.B. Carey mentions in the 'Zoologist' having seen one in Mr. Couch's shop with its full crest in January. I do not quite know at what time the young bird assumes adult plumage, but I have one just changing from the brown plumage of the young to adult plumage. Many of the green feathers of the adult are making their appearance amongst the brown ones; this one I shot on the 26th June, 1866, near the harbour Goslin, at Sark, near a large breeding-station of Shags and Herring Gulls: if it is, as I suppose, a young bird of the year, it would show a very early change to adult plumage, but of course it might have been a young bird of the previous year; but, as a rule, young birds of the previous year are not allowed about the breeding-stations, any more than they are by the Herring Gulls.