Looking Back

Published on 13 March 2014 in Other

One hundred and fifty years ago: ‘Capture of the Bohemian Waxwing in Bedfordshire.–On the 23rd of January last [1847], a very beautiful male Bohemian Waxwing {Bombycilla garrula) was shot at Luton, in Bedfordshire. He was an adult bird, and in very good plumage. The weather was at that time very severe, and the ground covered with snow. When first seen, he was feeding on the berries of a mountain ash, in a garden close adjoining the street, and though a crowd of boys gathered round, he evinced no fear or shyness, and did not move till he had been pelted with stones. He then flew to a neighbouring laburnum-tree, where he was killed.’ {Zoologist 5: 1777) One hundred years ago: ‘Quite recently a specimen of Pallas’s Willow Warbler, Phylloscopus proregulus (Pall.), was forwarded to me for examination . . . This bird, which was obtained at Cley-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, on Oct. 31st last [1896], affords another instance of the fact that most of the recent additions to our British avifauna are visitants from the East, chiefly from Northern Asia . . . we may therefore look for the Siberian Chiffchaff, P. tristis, Blyth, Eversmann’s Warbler P. borealis, Blasius, the Bright-green Willow Warbler, P. nitidus, Blyth, here as all these Warblers have been obtained on Heligoland.’ {Zoologist Ser. 4, vol. 1: 5, January 1897) Twenty-five years ago, in January 1972: ‘For the greater part of its 65-year history British Birds has been singularly fortunate in the continuity of its editorial direction. Its

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