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in England. Partridges pair early in the spring : about the month of May, the female lays from fourteen to eighteen or twenty eggs, making her nest of dry leaves or grass upon the ground. The young birds learn to run as soon as hatched, frequently encumbered with part of the shell sticking to them ; and picking up slugs, grain, ants, &c'. While the corn is standing they have a secure retreat from their numerous enemies; but when the harvest is gathered in, they resort, in the daytime, to groves and covers. At night, however, they return to the stubble to avoid foxes, weasels, &c. and there nestle together. From man they have no means of escape ; for they are traced to their hiding-places by pointers, and are often inclosed in nets, and taken by whole coveys.
The shooting of partridges is well described in the following lively sketch :
“We now proceed beating each field with unrelaxing diligence : we try swathe oats or wheat, or barley stubble, then look the clover ; or turnips are more likely: in that, each piece of land we enter gives fresh hopes : we are sure they must be there ; but having beat this field and that, in vain, we have a better founded hope of finding in the next adjoining. Nor does expectation droop beneath repeated disappointment. At length the dogs are certain in the turnips, and we approach with ardour heightened by delay; the dogs stand immoveable as blocks of stone, and the heart beats with rapture at the approaching moment :
In his mid career, the spaniel struck
1 It is no uncommon thing to introduce partridges' eggs under the common hen, who hatches and rears thein as her own; in this case the young birds require to be fed with ants' eggs, which are their favourite food, and without which it is almost impossible to bring them up; they likewise cat insects, and, when full grown, feed on all kinds of grain and young plants.
As in the sun the circling covey bask
Through the rough stubble turn the secret eye. A partridge now rises with a rustling noise, and spreads its wings: my well-aimed gun quickly stops him in his flight, and kills him on the spot. This is the moment which a novice in the field would think the highest pitch of joy ; but he is mistaken: the pleasure ceases with the victory; the lifeless animal is negligently thrown into the bag, and all the eagerness of hasty charging is repeated, lest other birds should rise while I am unprepared.'
The affection of the partridge for her young is peculiarly strong and lively. She is greatly assisted in the care of rearing them by her mate: they lead them out in common, call them together, point out to them their proper food, and assist them in finding it by scratching the ground with their feet ; they frequently sit close by each other, covering the chickens with their wings like the hen. In this situation, they are not easily flushed ; and the sportsman, who is attentive to the preservation of his game, will care. fully avoid giving any disturbance to a scene so truly interesting. Should the pointer, however, come too near, or unfortunately run in upon them, there are few who are ignorant of the confusion that follows. The male first gives the signal of alarm by a peculiar cry of distress, throwing himself, at the same moment, more immediately into the way of danger, in order to deceive or mislead the enemy; he fies, or rather runs, along the ground, hanging his wings, and exhibiting every symptom of debility, in order to decoy the dog to a distance from the covey : the female flies off in a contrary direction, and to a greater distance, but, returning soon after by secret ways, she finds her scattered brood closely squatted among the grass; and, collecting them in haste, she leads them from the danger, before the dog has had time to return from his pursuit.
There are few plants in flower this month except saffron (crocus sativus) and ivy (hedera helix). Among the maritime plants may be named, the marsh glasswort (salicornia herbacea), and the sea stork's bill (erodium maritimum) on sandy shores ; and the officinal marsh-mallow (althæă officinalis) in salt marshes.
Herrings (clupea) pay their annual visit to England in this month, and afford a rich harvest to the inhabitants of its eastern and western coasts. Exclusive of the various methods of preparing this fish for sale, in different countries, an immense quantity of oil is ' drawn from it, forming a great and important commercial article among the northern nations. From Mr. Pennant's British Zoology, we extract the following interesting sketch of the general history of the herring and its supposed migrations. . .
" The great winter rendezvous of the herring is within the arctic circle: there they continue many months in order to recruit themselves after the fatigue of spawning, the seas within that space swarming with insect food in a far greater degree than in our warmer latitudes. :This mighty army begins to put itself in motion, in the spring: we distinguish this vast body by that name, for the word herring is derived from the German, Heer, an army, to express their numbers. They begin to' appear off the Shetland Isles in April and May: these are only forerunners of the grand shoal which comes in June, and their appearance is marked by certain signs, by the numbers of birds, such as gannets and others, which follow to prey on them: but when the main body approaches, its breadth and depth is such as to alter the very appearance of the ocean. It is divided into distinct columns of five or six miles in length, and three or four in breadth, and they drive the water before them with a kind of rippling: sometimes they sink for the space of ten or fifteen minutes'; then rise again to the
on tsubay and creern shores only takes me which divideo
surface, and, in bright weather, reflect a variety of splendid colours, like a field of the most precious gems.
The first check this army meets in its march southward, is from the Shetland Isles, which divide it into two parts; one wing takes to the east, the other to the western shores of Great Britain, and .fill every bay and creek with their numbers : others pass on towards Yarmouth, the great and antient mart of herrings': they then pass through the British Channel, and, after that, in a manner disappear: those which take to the west, after offering themselves to the Hebrides, where the great stationary fishery is, proceed toward the north of Ireland, where they meet with a second interruption, and are obliged to make a second division : the one takes to the western side, and is scarce perceived, being soon lost in the immensity of the Atlantic ; but the other, which passes into the Irish sea, rejoices and feeds the inhabitants of the coasts that border on it'.'
Among the principal enemies of this fish may be numbered various species of whales, some of which are observed to pursue large shoals, and to swallow them in such quantities, that, in the stomach of a single whale, no less than six hundred herrings are said to have been found 2.
1 The reality of this migration, however, is doubted by Dr. Bloch and Dr. Shaw; these eminent naturalists concurring in opinion, that herrings, like mackerel, inhabit, during winter, the deep recesses of the ocean, or plunge beneath the soft mud at the bottom. . ? A large herring-fishery is carried on at Douglas, in the Isle of Man. Herrings are so abundant in the neighbourhood of Gottenburgh, that 20,000 barrels, on an average, are salted there every year, and about 400,000 are employed for making train oil: besides these, 50,000 barrels are consumed fresh in the country, or sent to Denmark. Allowing 1200 fish to each barrel, in this district alone, about 720,000,000 of herrings are caught in a season. In the year 1776, 56,000 barrels were sent to Ireland, and thence exported to the West Indies,
· Various of the feathered tribe now.commence their autumnal music :
The thrush, the blackbird, and the woodlark now
Of sylvan darkness with discordant moans. "Some curious particulars respecting the snake's slough, in this month, are recorded by Mr. White. * About the middle of September (says this attentive naturalist) we found in a field, near a hedge, the slough of a large snake, which seemed to have been newly cast. Froin circumstances it appeared as if turned the wrong side outward, and as drawn off backward, like a stocking or woman's glove. Not only the whole skin, but scales from the very eyes, are peeled off, and appear in the head of the slough like a pair of spectacles.' The reptile, at the time of changing his coat, had entangled himself intricately in the grass and weeds, so that the friction of the stalks and blades might promote this curious shifting of his exuviæ. Upon this account, Mr. Markwick observes, 'I have seen many sloughs or skins of snakes entire after they have cast them off ; and, once in particular, I remember to have found one of these sloughs so intricately interwoven among some brakes, that it was with difficulty removed without being broken.' . - Among the few insects that appear in this month, are the phalana russula, and the saffron butterfly (papilio hyale).
Pressed from th' exub'rant orchard's fruitful bound,
Pomona pours a sparkling tide, that vies • With the rich juices of the purple vine; ? Lo! russet Labour's busy train, both old
And young, shake numerous down the mellow fruit, · Streaked with a cheek as ruddy as their own.
The principal harvest of apples is about the end of this month; and the counties of Worcestershire,