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across the drives, where the guns should be posted at sixty yards' distance from one another; or, if the springfalls are quite open, they may walk them in line. As the rabbits are put up, they cut in and out of the rides or runs, and require great quickness of eye to catch them before they are lost to sight. The guns must be carried on the arm full-cocked; and great care must be taken not to shoot the terriers as they are hunting close upon the scut of the rabbit. I once shot a very valuable dog in this way, with the rabbit actually in his mouth. This was as the rabbit was coming out of a hush, and the dog so close upon her, that, as she sprang through, the terrier did the same, and received my charge in his breast, killing both dog and rabbit. It is needful to shoot well before the rabbit, as they run so quickly by you, that if you do not take this precaution you are sure to shoot behind them. The knack is easily acquired by a quick eye and hand, but a slow man bad better not attempt what he will be certain to fail in.
Terriers of all kinds are employed in this kind of sport, with or without ferrets. In the illustration given in the second book are examples of those most commonly used, consisting of the smooth black-and-tanned dog with a slight cross of the bull to make him stand the severity of the work which he has to accomplish; the Dandie Dinmont, which is an excellent rabbit dog; and the Scotch terrier.
SHOOTING FLAPPERS-INLAND WINTER SHOOTING-MARINE
VARIETIES OF WILDFOWL
The varieties of wild fowlwhich are occasionally shot on the rivers, ponds, lakes, and coasts of this country, are so great as to defy anything more than a bare enumeration in a book like the present. Some few, however, of the more common kinds may be cursorily alluded to, and the remainder summed up in a bare catalogue of names.
The following terms are in use among wildfowl shooters :A flock of widgeon is termed “a company;" of swans, cranes, and curlews, “a herd;" of teal, “a spring;” of geese, “a
" gaggle;" of ducks, “a badelynge;" of mallards, "a sord;" of coots, “a covert;" of sheldrakes, "a dopping.”
The Wild MALLARD and DUCK (Anas boschas) is supposed to be the original of our tame ducks, which have changed their colours in many cases and have also increased in size. The Rouen variety is, however, very much like the wild duck in colour, and there can be little doubt that it is really a domesticated Anas boschas. There is, however, one point in which they differ, and that a most important one, which would almost lead to the belief that they are distinct in their origin. I allude to the fact that the wild duck pairs, while the tame duck is polygamous. It is scarcely necessary to describe minutely the appearance of this bird, as it differs little from the tame duck known as “the Rouen,” except in size. The drakes are twenty-four inches long, while the ducks measure only twenty-two. They feed on grain and grass seeds, worms, young frogs, insects, and fish. The nest is made of grass, lined with down, from the breast of the parent bird, and is placed on the ground, either on the banks
of some inland water, or often at a considerable distance from it. A double hedgerow is a favourite place for their nidification, and instances are recorded of a pollard tree having been chosen for the purpose. The duck lays about fifteen or eighteen eggs, which are of a greenish white colour, two inches and a quarter long, by one inch seven lines broad. The young
ducks take the water soon after they are hatched, but they are at least two months old before they can fly. At this time they are called “flappers,” and are shot, on account of their delicacy, for the purposes of the table. They are generally to be found on the brooks and rivers frequented by them about the latter part of July, varying from the 15th to the 31st, according to the season. Besides the wild ducks bred in Great Britain, great numbers migrate to our rivers and coasts in the winter season.
WIDGEON (Mareca Penelope) come next to the wild duck in size and importance to the sportsman. They very rarely breed here, but migrate to us from the north of Europe in large flocks, which begin to come over in the end of September and beginning of October, and leave us in March and April. They resemble the wild duck in most of their habits, and like it are monogamous. A whistling noise is made by them which may be heard for some distance, and marks their presence to those who have once heard it. The inland waters of this country are seldom frequented by this bird, which is found in large flocks on the coast, where it forms one of the chief objects of search by the puntsman. In the adult male the bill is brownish black, tinged with lead colour; iris dark brown; a green streak passes backwards from the eye ; forehead and top of the head a creamy white; cheeks and back of the neck a rich chesnut; upper parts greyish white, crossed with irregular lines of black; upper tail coverts freckled with grey ; tail pointed and nearly black; wing coverts white, tipped with black; primaries uniformly of a dark brown; secondaries the same, but their outer webs form a green speculum tipped with black ; tertials have their outer webs edged with white; chin and throat black ; lower part of the neck pale reddish brown ; sides and flanks marked with transverse lines of brown on a white ground; breast, belly, and vent white; under tail coverts black; legs and toes dark brown. Length eighteen inches. The females and young males have the bill bluish black; iris brown; head and neck light brown, tinged with red, and speckled with dark brown ; feathers of the back dark brown on the centre of each, with paler edges slightly tinged with red; wings and tail like those of the male; the whole under surface white. The nest is made among
rushes or sedge, and the female lays from six to eight eggs, which are of a creamy white, two inches and an eighth in length, by an inch and a half.
The Teal (Querquedula crecca) is the smallest of British ducks, but on account of the delicious flavour of its flesh, it is one of the most highly valued. Like the widgeon, though more frequently than that bird, it only occasionally breeds here, the immense flocks which are found in severe winters on our waters migrating from the north. These begin to appear in September, and leave in March or April. Its flight is rapid but uniform, so that a good shot may be sure of his mark. The nest is made among rushes, of a mass of vegetable matter lined with down and feathers, and usually contains eight or nine eggs, sometimes, but rarely, twelve. The male has the beak nearly black; iris hazel ; forehead, and a narrow band over the top of the head dark chesnut; a narrow line of buff extends backwards from the gape, and this dividing in front of the eye, passes above and below it to the nape of the neck; between these two lines is a patch of dark glossy green ; cheeks and sides of the neck below this patch chesnut ; upper parts white, barred with narrow transverse lines; wings brown in various shades ; a speculum of green, purple, and black on the secondaries, tipped with white; tail dark brown and pointed ; chin black; front of neck chesnut above, with spots of black on a white ground below; legs and toes brownish grey. Length fourteen inches and a half. The female has the whole of the head speckled with dark brown, on a ground colour of light brown ; after part of back and scapular dark brown, each feather having two transverse bars of buffy brown; wing like the male, but the speculum is blacker and without the shade of purple seen in the male; chin pale brown; lower part of the neck varied with two shades of brown in crescentic
marks; breast white; under parts dull white, spotted with dark brown.
The POCHARD or DUNBIRD (Nyroca ferina) is also a winter visitor, first coming over in October and leaving in March. It is a very shy bird, and frequents fresh water as well as our sea-coasts and bays. The flesh is of excellent flavour, and is highly prized for the table, resembling the famous canvas-backed duck of the United States, though but a humble imitation, in my opinion. The length of this duck is 194 inches. The male has a pale blue bill with a black point and base; iris red; head and upper part of neck rich chesnut; lower part of neck and upper part of breast deep black; back of a freckled grey; rump and upper tail coverts black; tail greyish brown ; lower breast and belly grey ; legs and toes blueish grey. The female has the bill all black; iris brown; head and neck dusky brown; lower part of neck and breast dark brown.
The PintailED DUCK (Dafila acuta) is also occasionally found on our internal waters, and is one of the first taken in the decoys in October. It is, however, chiefly a frequenter of our creeks and bays. It is not common in Wales, nor is it often met with on the south-western coast of Devon and Cornwall, but from Poole Harbour to Lymington it is frequently seen, and has obtained there the nanie of the seapheasant, from its peculiarly shaped tail. As its flight is extremely rapid, it is not a very easy shot, but it is not so shy and difficult of access as the widgeon. It forms its nest in rushes and strong herbage, where it lays seven or eight eggs of a greenish-white colour, two inches and one line in length by one inch five lines in breadth. In winter the adult male has the bill lead grey on the sides, the central ridge and base being of a brownish black; iris dark brown; head and neck dark brown, the feathers on the back of the neck being tinged with purple; upper parts a rich grey, formed by a mixture of fine lines of black and white; primaries greyish brown; secondaries black, with a speculum of dark green ; tertials elongated, black in the centre, with a white outer margin, and the inner one grey ; tail coverts ash grey; elongated tail feathers black; short ones dark brown, edged with white; a white stripe on the side of the neck,