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SHORT COMMUNICATIONS,

Remarks on the mode of collecting Land and Fresh-water Shells,—There is, perhaps, no portion of the Fauna of our country of greater interest and more easily collected than the land and fresh-water shells, requiring but little exertion foi their capture. The land species are to be found abundantly, (particularly after rain, when they ramble forth to feed upon moistened herbage) in hedges, on banks, trees, walls and palings, among moss, under stones, &c., but more especially among the rejectamenta of rivers, when the tide has swept many of the smaller species from the banks, and deposited them again on its receding. In dust collected from various places, such as the tops of old walls, where the leaves of ivy or other plants have formed a bed by their decay, many curious and minute species may also be found.

Those of fresh water are to be found either in slow or running streams, in still waters, on aquatic plants, in mud, in ditches adhering to stones, &c. &c. It has been found necessary, on account of the minute character of some of the species of fresh-water shells, to make use of a net formed either of wire-gauze, or the article denominated

lenoe, to the depth of an inch or more, to collect them. This net being fixed to an iron ring at the end of a staff, can with the greatest facility be made use of in those situations where shells abound. When it is required to search for those species which are generally slightly buried in the mud, or at the bottoms of ponds and ditches, such as the different species of Pisidium, the method to be adopted is to skim the surface of the mud so that it may easily enter the net, and by bringing the net to the surface of the water, and gradually moving it from side to side, the superfluous mud will be washed through the meshes of the gauze, leaving the small shells intermingled with pebbles &c. in the net. In this collection it is easy to distinguish the shells from the superfluous matter by means of a lens, and with the assistance of a small pair of forceps, they may be removed from the mass and placed in any convenient receptacle.

Having thus collected both land and fresh-water shells, with their inhabitants alive, it is necessary to destroy and ex

the animal, in order to clean the shell for the cabinet. To accomplish this, they must be placed in boiling water, and after remaining in it for the space of ten minutes, decant

GOSHAWKS IN THE POSSESSION OF THE LATE MR. HOY. 603

and add cold water. The extraction of the animal is the next step, and for this purpose a pin or needle (for the smaller species) is to be introduced into the shell, and the animal taken out. The shell must then be well washed with water; if it be of a delicate texture, a camels' hair pencil may be used with much advantage to clear away any small particles of dirt that may adhere to the interior.

The shell being cleaned and the species ascertained, the preparation employed for fixing them to the card, is a mixture of gum, sugar, and starch, which has been found to answer the purpose

better han plain gum, as being more tenacious.—Daniel Cooper, Surgeon, A.L.S., Curator B.S.L., &c.—82, Blackfriars Road, London, Oct. 16, 1839.

Notice of some Goshawks in the possession of the late Mr. Hoy. In the early part of the month of September last, Mr. Hoy visited London on his way to his residence at Stoke Nayland, in Suffolk; he had been on the continent in order to obtain some goshawks, for the purpose of hawking, to which sport he was much attached; and, I believe few persons better understood the nature, habits, and the modes of training and using birds of prey, than himself. He mentioned to me long since, that he kept several hobbies (Falco subbuteo) about his residence, giving them their full liberty the whole summer, and allowing them to range about the country as they pleased, but always using them to come to him every day at three o'clock to be fed ; at which time he would walk into a field adjoining the house, and, by whistling or waving a glove in the air, although the birds were not before visible, they might be seen coming towards him with great rapidity, and alight one after another upon his arm to take their meal, after which they would fly off, and perhaps not be seen until the following day. Sometimes at a distance of three or four miles from the house, he has seen one or more of them, and by making the usual sign, they would alight upon his hand; but it was necessary to confine them before the season of migration, or they would leave and not return, after they had become wild-as was proved by trying the experiment. During the short stay Mr. Hoy made in September last, I called upon him for the purpose of seeing the goshawks : there were four of them, three males and one female,—the female, a bird of the year, was the largest and most powerful bird of the species I ever saw ; Mr. Hoy told me she could secure with ease a full-grown hare.

With regard to using these birds, Mr. Hoy informed me that their habits, mode of flight, &c., were much better suited to an enclosed district like Stoke Nayland, than those of the peregrine

falcon. When used or taken into the field, the wing of a bird, or the thin end of an ox tail, is generally held in the hand to engage their attention, which they are constantly biting and tearing without being able to satisfy their appetites, as that would render them unfit for work. They do not require to be hooded, but have bells attached to their legs, (for the purpose of giving notice of their situation when they alight, which would otherwise be difficult to ascertain), and a leather strap by which they are held; it is also necessary to have spaniels to hunt up the birds, upon the appearance of which, the hawk flies from the hand with incredible swiftness direct at the game, taking it generally in the first attempt, but should he fail, he will perch on some elevated situation, and remain . until the game is again started, and is rarely known to miss a second time; when the hawk has captured the game, he is rewarded with a small piece of meat, or a pigeon's head, to induce him to give up the prey : if the hawk be allowed to range at pleasure, by whistling it will return with a swiftness truly astonishing, and firding it cannot stop suddenly to settle without striking you with great force, it will glide past, form a circle round you, and alight with the greatest ease, and in the most gentle manner, upon the hand.-A. D. Bartlett.-Nov. 20th, 1839.

[The death of Mr. Hoy, whose contributions have often appeared in the Magazine of Natural History, took place about two months since, under peculiarly painful circumstan

He had placed a quantity of damp gunpowder in an oven, for the purpose of drying, and which he unfortunately omitted to remove. The result of this negligence was an explosion, which was expected to prove fatal to one of his servants; and the anxiety of mind naturally attendant upon so distressing an event, brought on an attack of fever which terminated fatally at his residence in Suffolk. M. Hoy devoted his time almost entirely to the cultivation of Ornithology, and was in the frequent habit of visiting the continental localities which are favourable for the resort of the British species during the season of incubation. He was in possession of a large share of valuable information relative to the indigenous birds of this country; and the readiness with which, at all times, he was willing to aid the enquiries of his fellow-naturalists, will render his loss a subject of sincere regret.-Ed.]

Note on the Chalk-Ventriculite figured in page 352.- The specimen is clearly the base of a Ventriculite, with the radicle-processes attached to an Echinus; for I cannot assent to the remark, “that the Ventriculite cannot have been

ces.

years

growing on a dead shell," --for the root of the Ventriculite is not at the smaller extremity, but at the larger. Flints of this shape are very common; the marking * shows the section of the stem of the enclosed zoophyte, the openings, o, are the hollows left by the radicleprocesses. I fear you will scarcely understand my meaning from this hurried scrawl; but I have so little leisure at my command, that I am compelled to write in great haste. O --G. A. Mantell.-Crescent Lodge, Clapham Common,

[Our best thanks are due to Dr. Mantell for kindly correcting an error into which we had fallen in our remarks on the Ventriculite, a tribe of fossils to which, as it is well known, he has most successfully given his attention.—Ed.]

Extract of a Letter from Miss Anning, referring to the supposed frontal spine in the genus Hybodus.—“In reply to your request I beg to say that the hooked tooth is by no means new; I believe that M. De la Beche described it fifteen since in the Geological Transactions, I am not positive; but I know that I then discovered a specimen, with about a hundred palatal teeth, and four of the hooked teeth, as I have since done several times with different specimens. I had a conversation with Agassiz on this subject; his remark was that they were the teeth by which the fish seized its prey,milling it afterwards with its palatal teeth. I am only surprised that he has not mentioned it in his work. We generally find the Ichthyodorulites with them, as well as cartilaginous bones.”-Mary Anning.-Lyme Regis, April 7, 1839.

[As Miss Anning speaks of 100 palatal teeth, she probably refers to the genus Acrodus, which may very possibly be furnished with an organ similar to the one possessed by Hybodus, as the genera are closely allied. Mr. De la Beche makes no allusion to its existence in the Geological Transactions.-Ed.]

On the disappearance of the Mus messorius, Shaw, (Harvest mouse); followed by a notice of Mus sylvaticus, Linn. (Field or Wood mouse) --These beautiful little red mice (Mus messorius) were three or four years ago very abundant, as I used to cause a notice to be given me when a rick in the neighbourhood was to be taken into the barn, as they take refuge in the lowest part of the rick, burrowing in the ground underneath ; and I have seen scores of the little tame crea

Vol. III.-No, 36. N. S.

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tures, for they are the most tame, although not the most familiar of all the tribe, the Myoxus avellanarius, Desm. not excepted, never attempting to bite even when hurt. The next sentence will exhibit them in a different light; I have known nine individuals of this species kept in confinement together; they were very voracious, eating any thing which was given to them : although plentifully supplied with a variety of food, the horrible little vermin were such cannibals in disposition, as to prefer eating each other, which they actually did till only one remained, the disposition of the creature thus being a striking contrast to its pretty outward exterior, and otherwise docile habits. These little animals seem to have been almost entirely destroyed by the dry summer and autumn of 1836, perhaps the subsequent and following winters may have contributed, but with all my endeavours, and searchings, and offered rewards, I had never been able to procure one after, and from every person who I supposed knew any thing about the matter, I received the same sort of answer, that they used to be plentiful, but they had not seen one for two or three years.This autumn, after incessant trouble, I have succeeded in procuring altogether five, old and young, one of which is now alive, very tame. but mistrustful, eating almost any thing; it is

very fond of a piece of apple, and has no objection to a little bit of meat, preferring most other things to bread. The whole genus of Mus appear to be of sanguine and selfish dispositions, even the Mus sylvaticus is not exempt from the latter charge. A nest of the Mus sylvaticus, Desm. (field or wood mouse) containing its builder with her progeny, was ploughed out: the man observing the little beast running very heavily and awkwardly, soon overtook and dispatched it, and was surprised to find two young ones clinging so tenaciously to the teats of their dam, as to obstruct her escape, and facilitate her destruction, nor after the death of their parent could they be removed without some force, demonstrating the affection of the young for the spring of life to be very strong, but the desire of escape in the dam stronger than parental affection.-Joseph Clarke.-Saffron Walden.-Oct. 1839.

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