A bit down in the dumps today as for the second day in a row I didn't get out with the birds and so to keep my troubled mind occupied amongst other things I did a search through some quite ancient books I have thanks to the treasure hunter Kathleen. From the first book 'Birds of Our Country' by Frank Finn, B.A., F.Z.S. and E.K.Robinson, F.Z.S. which curiously doesn't appear to have a publishing date but which I reckon is heading up to a hundred years old. I have copied the coloured plates below in the hope I'm not violating any copyright laws, if I am and I get caught I'll call upon my readership to help me out with the fine.
Illustrating a Cuckoo being fed by a Hedge Sparrow/Dunnock on the left, and the Whinchat, Stonechat, and Yellow Wagtail on the right. The colours may well not be quite true to life, probably a combination of the book and my 'fixing' in Picasa which incidentally is a pretty useful tool to have on your computer and highly recommended.
The colour plate above is from the book 'British Birds in their Haunts' by Rev. C. A. Johns, this book is certainly over a hundred years old and published in February 1909, a bit more of a chance this one is outside the copyright laws but what would I know about that. The illustrations are quite obvious and are of the Stonechat at the top then clockwise, Black Redstart, Redstart, and Whinchat. There's some interesting reading in these old books in that - for example - the Stonechat is referred to as, quote......We can scarcely pass through a furze-brake during the spring and summer months without having the presence of the Stonechat almost forced on our notice......unquote. How things change with time, since 1999 we had an upturn in the status of the Stonechat which lasted just five years from my experience and began to spiral downwards as the summer months became much more unsettled with too much wind and rain for breeding birds to have much if any chance of success in the attempts to raise young.
I couldn't resist posting this excellent image of the pair of American Wigeon courtesy of Paul Baker in BC Canada. Thanks Paul......