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remarked here, that, in viewing objects with a telescope of this kind, it is not the object itself, but its image A'f B', that is seen.
Having thus briefly explained the chief properties of the astronomical telescope, we shall, under the bead of next month, offer a few remarks relative to the apparatus attached to it for the purpose of sendering the observations more complete and accurate than they could be made with the instrument in the simple state in which it has been described.
[To be continued.]
The Naturalist's Diary
For FEBRUARY 1823.
The sounding way
No passenger invite.
Wild scenes of WINTER! what can you disclose
Can frozen grandeur, snows, or solid floods,
N. Georgia Gazette. In this and the following month tom-tits are seen hanging on the eaves of barns and thatched outhouses, particularly if the weather be snowy and severe. It is difficult to comprehend by what means many of our small and insectivorous birds are preserved during some of our hard and long winters, unless they have powers of abstinence greater than we are sensible of. The little blue tom-tit (parus cæruleus) more frequently perishes in severe winters than any bird that we are acquainted with: they lay many eggs, and numbers are thus produced to supply the annual waste: he will pick a bone in our yards with great adroitness, or scraps of meat at the butcher's stall, but this seems rather the result of necessity than of choice; for when other food becomes attainable, he still may procure meat. The chief sustenance of the tom-tit is insects, which he will hunt out with indefatigable perseverance, and draw from their asylums by many stratagems: he peeps into the nail-holes of our walls for the spider and the chrysalis of the cabbage butterfly; yet a supply of such food is very precarious, and always, in the winter season, of difficult attainment; consequently a great mortality ensues. This bird roosts under the eaves and in the little holes of our hay-stacks, where we often find him dead, killed by hunger or cold, or both conjointly:
In chinks and holes
in one year.
And this poor little animal, besides, has the misfortune, with many others equally inoffensive, to be included in the catalogue of injurious birds, rewards being given for its destruction. We have seen, in the churchwardens' charges for a very small parish, money paid for seventeen dozen of tom-tits' heads,
In the course of this month all nature begins, as it were, to prepare for its revivification; and animate and inanimate nature seem to vie with each other in opening the way to spring. About the 4th or 5th, the woodlark (alauda arborea), one of our earliest and sweetest songsters, renews his note; the thrush sings, and the yellow-hammer is heard; the chaffinch sings, and the readbreast continues to warble.
The ROBIN, 'Twas winter, and the icy scene
Gleamed with the rosy tint of morn ; Dead was the verdure of the green,
And leafless was the spangled thorn ;
A little minstrel, blithe and gay,
and stole the time away. Upon his downy breast he wore
A brilliant badge of crimson hue, And lingered round my cottage door,
As loath to bid the cot adieu.
À welcome visitor was he,
For him my window-sill was spread, With tributes to his minstrelsy,
Some scattered crumbs of hoarded bread : And much I loved my little guest,
I loved to hear his early song ;
And wished he might his stay prolong.
And, lo! upon å luckless morn, I saw the bird with breast of down
Lie dead beneath the spangled thorn.'
Now 'neath the moss of yonder mound,
All tuneless, lies my once-loved guest,
Upon the bird of crimson breast. Rooks (corvus frugilegus) now revisit their breeding-trees and arrange the stations of their future nests; an important business, attended with great bickering and contention, the warfare of the rookery continuing till the females are settled on their eggs. The regularity observed by these creatures in their returns from the morning excursion is admirable ; and they who have an opportunity of attending to them will find it regulated, in regard to time, with great precision, though they often feed at many miles distant from their roost. In calm evenings they return in large bodies, high in the air, with a steady, quiet motion; at other times they scud away near the earth in small parties, on rapid wing, influenced probably by the state of the atmosphere, though it does not appear to indicate any certain condition or change. The daw (a bird probably on the increase) mingles with them, and, thus united, they constitute a large body. But the rook itself has probably of late years decreased in numbers: their haunts have been disturbed by the changes in our manners and ideas; our old-fashioned halls' are modernized; perhaps the 'dull aunts' do not now exist,- and the habitations of the croaking rooks' are cut down at a hint from the timber-merchant. In some counties very few rookeries remain, where they once regularly pointed out the farm, the grange, or the court-house.
Turkey-cocks now strut and gobble. Partridges (tetrao perdix) begin to pair; the house-pigeon has young; field-crickets open their holes; and woodowls hoot: gnats play about, and insects swarm under sunny hedges; the stone-curlew (otis ædicnemus) clamours; and frogs (rana temporaria) croak. By the end of February, the raven (corvus corax) has generally laid its eggs, and begun to sit. Moles
(talpa europeus) commence their subterraneous operations.-See T.T. for 1814, p. 49, and T.T. for 1818, p. 43.
About this time the green-woodpecker (picus viridis) is heard in the woods, making a loud noise.
Bullfinches return to our gardens in February, and, though timid half the year, are now fearless and persevering. On the mischief effected by these birds at this
season, see T.T. for 1821, p. 50. But few flowers appear in this month: the dwarfbay (daphne mezereon) puts forth its highly fragrant pale lilac flowers in profusion, often entirely concealing the branches: an occasional variety is found with white flowers. The mezereon is most readily and easily propagated by merely covering the red berries, as they fall off under the plant, with earth. The laurustinus (viburnum tinus) is in flower, and the great henbit (lamium amplexicaule) graces the sunny bank with its purple blossom; while the mulberrycoloured catkins of the alder (betula alnus) give an air of cheerfulness to the otherwise bare and desolate scene. Such was the extraordinary mildness of the last winter (1822), that the crocus was in blossom on the 2d, and the snowdrop on the 3d of February; the anemone hepalica on the 18th.
On observing a Blossom on the 1st of February, 1796.
Ev'n now the keen north-east is on its way. The principal objects worthy of attention in the vegetable kingdom, in the present month, are the various species of mosses, which are, many of them, in full bloom, exhibiting, like some evergreens, their flowers and fruit at the same time.-See our last volume, pp. 51, 52,