Such, as we are informed by Mr. Howard Saunders, is the correct name of a delightful little songster that visited us at Stone Hall in the summer of 1836. It is the Western form of the Icterine Warbler, and is something like a Chiff-Chaff, differing, however, from that bird in having the under parts of a bright sulphur yellow.
For so small a bird it possesses a very powerful and exquisite song, rich in clear, thrush-like notes. It took up its station day after day in an ash tree by the side of a lane adjoining our house, and there warbled so sweetly that people who had once heard it used to return again and again to listen.
We watched it one day as it was dancing up and down the branch it was upon, fluttering its wings as we have also seen the Wood Warbler do while pouring forth its song, and singing as if in a very transport of joy. We have been asked “Why did you not shoot this bird so as to be sure as to your identification ?” but who could have had the heart to butcher so sweet a minstrel?
On the other side of the tree which the bird frequented was a dense woodcock cover, through which a small stream runs among a thicket of willows and furze. Here we searched repeatedly for the nest, feeling sure our little friend must have had a companion, but so thick was the cover we failed to find it, and we were also disappointed in not detecting our charming songster the following spring, although there were many, besides ourselves, keeping a watch for his appearance.