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main as long as the crops are left standing, or are in sheaves. But when they are carried away, the partridges return to the wheat fields and the patches of grass which border them.
"The reason of this is plain: the wheat has been sown before the winter; weeds and grass have had time to spring up in profusion; insects are more numerous, and the young birds find there at once food and shelter. Oats, barley, peas, and vetches are not sown until about the months of March or April; and when these crops are cut, the short stubble scarcely shows anything but bare earth; weeds have had but little time to grow, and the bird finds nothing among them either to hide itself in or feed on; it is therefore very natural that the young birds should run back to the spots which they had first inhabited.
"You come on a covey of young partridges; your dog points; they all rise at the same instant; they seem to obey a sort of command, for their wings turn towards the same side as they rise, and they fly in the same direction. Old birds seldom separate, and it is very difficult then to overtake them. But young birds are like inexperienced recruitsbad hands at manoeuvring; they are frightened at the noise of the fowling-piece, and scatter themselves on every side. Divide the young birds then; as soon as they rise, fire at a little distance. They will separate, and you can pick them out one after another, as it will be much easier to get near them. Eager to unite again, the divided little birds utter a cry which serves as a rallying note. The sounds kirrh-lei, kirrh-lei are heard at short intervals. This cry, harsh and guttural, can be distinguished afar off, and resembles somewhat the creaking of an ungreased cart-wheel.
"The old birds make use of the same note in the evening and early in the morning, perhaps to recall their absent companions, or, it may be, to salute the setting and the rising sun.
"There is a pretty description in one of your poets (I forget his name) of partridge-shooting. Other sports are mentioned likewise, and there is a great deal about fishing. You must know it;" and Lavalette looked at me.
I nodded assent. I remembered the passage he alluded to. Here it is at least I think so:
"See how the well-taught pointer leads the way:
The scent grows warm; he stops; he springs the prey:
The fluttering coveys from the stubble rise,
And on swift wing divide the sounding skies;
And death in thunder overtakes their flight."
This must be the passage Lavalette meant, as it was of partridgeshooting he spoke not; of taking them with the net. The following lines from another poet are descriptive of the latter mode:
"When milder autumn summer's heat succeeds,
"I said I was acquainted with another species of partridge. It is one, originally from North America, which we are beginning to naturalize in France. It was introduced in the reign of Louis XVI. Many of them were to be found in the domain of Rambouillet at that period; but, during the revolution, the Royal preserves were pillaged, and the birds all killed. We are now again making efforts to acclimatize them. These attempts have not been without success, and everything promises that our fields will soon be enriched with a numerous breed of these American guests.
"This bird holds the middle place between the partridge and the quail. It is smaller than the first, and larger than the second. In form it resembles both; but its plumage is deeper coloured, and its flight more rapid and irregular. What renders this new acquisition so valuable is its wonderful fecundity. The female lays twenty-four eggs, and this usually twice, bringing forth two coveys! The male bird divides with her the trouble of hatching, and, when he is not on the nest, occupies himself in guiding and protecting the preceding young brood.
"These birds, habituated to the winters of North America, which are a great deal more severe than in our climate, have nothing to fear from our temperature. They are not exposed, like our native partridges, to see their coveys destroyed in the reaping and mowing seasons, as they do not lay their eggs either among the corn or in the meadows: their nests are almost always constructed among the bushes and briars, where the sickle of the reaper or the scythe of the mower is not likely to trouble them.
They can easily be reared in aviaries or pheasant walks, and multiply in this state of slavery as freely as if at liberty.
"These birds are now to be fonnd in the Crown lands, and are mentioned among the game killed by His Majesty in the forest of Rambouillet on the 6th of October, 1854. Several individuals have likewise let go pairs on their grounds.
"This American partridge is by some people designated as the American quail; but, if in its form a resemblance may be traced to that bird, it has neither its wandering nor pugnacious habits.
"And this brings us to the quail-to those pretty travellers which arrive every year to fill the nets of our fowlers.
"The quail-in Greek ortyx, in Latin coturnix, in Spanish codorniz, in Italian quaglia-belongs, as well as the partridge, to the order of gallinaceous birds. In its plumage it very much resembles the partridge, but it is smaller. However, there are very small partridges and very large quails, so that the size alone does not form the distinction.
The distinctive marks of the quail are, that round the eye there is never any space devoid of feathers, as in the partridge, and that the beak is shorter and differently shaped. But it differs from it, above all, in its quarrelsome and unsociable character. Quails never stay together; the young ones, stronger than those of the partridge, only remain with the parent bird whilst they feel themselves helpless. As soon as they can fly they leave her and go, each one its own way.
"The ancients knew the belligerent propensities of this bird, and quail-fighting was a favourite amusement among the Athenians. They would not, however, eat it-delicate as it is-from the idea that it fed upon the white hellebore.
"There is so much of inconstancy in the nature of the quail, that it is only necessary to counterfeit the note of the female in order to lure all the males within hearing, even those which have already paired.
"Sometimes the male bird does not come alone to the quail-pipe; his jealous mate, who does not choose that he should quit her, throws herself likewise into the snare of the fowler. But what is most remarkable in this bird is the instinct which, at a certain period, teaches it to seek a change of climate. Every year, towards the beginning of April, the quails quit the shores of Asia and Africa, cross the Mediterranean, and alight upon our coasts.
"Since the days of Pliny numerous stories have been related touching their migration. But observations sufficiently precise to determine what wind brings them have never yet been made. Martinez d'Espinar says -and there are many other authors of like opinion-that they fly before the wind, and that when they are tired they repose on the waters, raising one wing and making use of it as a sail. It must be observed, however, that birds in general do not fly well before the wind; it blows up their feathers, ruffles them, and renders it impossible for them to take a long flight.
"A clever writer in the Journal des Chasseurs says that quails never migrate from Africa into Europe by a south wind; and that, if on their arrival the wind should change to the south, they rest upon the flat shores until it has shifted, and then retake their route.
"If a south wind should surprise them in their flight across the oceans, they are found to change their route immediately, and seek countries different from those to which they first directed their course. This explains the reasons why in some years these birds are not to be seen."
RAMBLES ALONG THE TROUT AND SALMON RIVERS AND LAKES IN THE SOUTH OF IRELAND.
"Tis sweet to view the limpid waters dance
Or in the sun's effulgence brightly glance,
As through the mead meandering they gush-
From out the willow or o'erhanging bush.
Armed with your pliant rod, to spend a happy day.
From Derry Castle upwards past Derry House, the residence of Francis Spaight, Esq., father of the present member for Limerick, we met few fish, but they were all large; indeed, on this shore we did not kill a trout under three pounds weight. After some debating I proposed, and it was agreed, that we should cross the lake at this point, and fish along the other shore to the Lusshoughs; fish round them into the bay of Mountshannondaley, and then pull home, about seven miles. The lake where we crossed was rather
narrow, being but little over a mile wide. On our arriving at the Tinnerana side we again set to work, and to say that we rose and hooked and killed continually would but faintly describe our sport. On some spots the lake was literally alive with splendid trout. They were rising so rapidly at the natural flies and at our artificial ones on the cross line and single rod, that it was one scene of excitement from the upper point of Tinnerana demesne, until we came to the Lusshoughs. We had eaten nothing since seven o'clock in the morning, and it was now three in the afternoon. Even all the pleasures attendant upon such a day's sport could not banish the cravings of hunger. The wolf was in our stomachs, and we voted the border of a wood, which here grew down close to the shore, as the spot best adapted for laying out and devouring our lunch.
I must here give the angler on this lake a hint in the economical line. Before I left Cork I purchased a round of beef, and got my niece to give it a gentle corning with salt and sugar. I also got her to make me about seven pounds of collared meat. The cost of both was only 13s. 1d., and they were quite sufficient, and to spare, for luncheon for our party of five and five boatmen, for three days. We took porter and spirits besides (but a small quantity of each), and bread. We chose a neat sheltered spot each day on which to lay out our table cloth. One of the party, generally the writer of this article, took the part of carver, and consequently the head of the t-table cloth. After we satisfied the keenness of our appetites, heightened by exercise and pure air from the mountains around us, we helped the boatmen to a substantial meal, giving them each a tumbler of porter during their lunch, and before they started a wine glass of whiskey to keep their heads cool and hands steady. The luncheon supplied by the hotel would be charged the same as a dinner, so that, instead of having three pounds to pay for our eating only on the lake, it amounted on the whole (porter and spirits included) to less than one-third that sum. So much for being a pupil of Joseph Hume, and studying economy. After lunch we again took to our boats, and rowed to the Lusshoughs, where again the sport commenced. The trout did not rise so rapidly as in the early part of the day, but at all events we completed the filling of the locker of the cot-as full as it could hold. Our number, when counted in the evening at our return to Killaloe, was forty-nine, and they weighed one hundred and sixty-three pounds. We took down the large gates of the hotel yard, and laid out the trout on them. They would have been capital stock in trade for a Billingsgate merchant.
Had we two strong men in each boat, instead of a man and a boy in one, and an old man, his son and grandson in the other, we should have killed one hundred trout that day. I never saw them rise so fast, or take so well. We lost fifteen or sixteen flies from the cross line, none from the single rods. This is easily accounted for. The tackle for crossfishing was infamous. I wrote to Ellis, the fisherman, before I left London, stating about the time I would be with him, and inquired what tackle it was necessary for me to take. He replied by return of post, that he had everything necessary-rods, wheels, flies, and cross line-but that we should have to pay for the cross-fishing licence £1 6s. 8d. It turned out, however, that although his flies were very
fair, his wheels and rods were about the worst in the world. The former would not give an inch of line without a pressure of at least seven pounds; in fact, I had literally to drag the line from the wheel; under these circumstances to play a fish was out of the question, and we had to take chance, as we dragged them in by main force, whether the gut of the fly would hold. I saw a fish come up and take the next fly to the boat I was in. He could not be less than sixteen pounds weight; but before I could say "In him!" he went down; and with his own weight, and the strength of the gale which was blowing, and consequently dragging the fly from him, he broke the link of salmon gut, and took the fly. Reader: If you visit Killaloe, take your own tackle. Rods thick and short, not more than ten feet long, and the strongest cross-fishing salmon lines and wheels. It is better also to take your own flies. Those for the month of May I shall fully describe hereafter. May is the month for this lake. In June and July the weeds grow from the bottom in all the fishing grounds, and angling is then out of the question. There is often good fishing in September, but it cannot be depended on, so as to induce a fisherman to travel such a journey. But in May you can never be disappointed, unless, which is rarely the case in that month, the weather is calm. In such a case you may as well fish in a wash hand basin. The water in the lake is as clear as crystal. It is never discoloured, although supplied by a hundred streams and rivers. It rises like a tide after the September rains, often to a height of eight feet over low-water level. It keeps this height through the winter months, and falls gradually in spring. In the month of " Merry May" it is in its prime, and to the level at which the trout take best on the haunts, where they love to lie amongst the embryo weeds. There, at the bottom, the " grey and green drake flies" are bred, and about the 20th they rise to the surface, if the weather is at all mild.
The three days I spent in Killaloe were perhaps as good a sample of fishing weather as most sportsmen could desire. The party with me were not the only persons who could boast of sport. The following paragraphs, which I cut from the Nenagh Guardian, will prove that other anglers further up the lake and near that town were equally successful
GREAT TAKES OF TROUT ON THE SHANNON.-The reports of the enormous quantities of beautiful trout that are being daily taken on the Shannon, it appears, have reached the angling celebrities of London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, &c., as scarcely a steamer arrives in Killaloe but conveys numbers of gentlemen, in quest of piscatory sports, from those places. The best guarantee of the fishing is the numerous packages of fish that are every morning transmitted from Killaloe, Williamstown, and other stations on the Shannon, by the gentlemen anglers to their friends. The daily average from Killaloe for the last week exceeded 500 trout, some of which weighed 12lbs. and upwards. The lake fishing, from the abundance and quality of the trout, is the surprise of all.—Nenagh Guardian.
ANGLING ON THE SHANNON.-The fishing on Lough Derg has been very good this season. This week [the week I write about] Captain Holmes and James H. Slater, Esq., of Newick Park, Sussex, killed over two hundred pounds weight of trout, and four salmon. Last week Major Frend and Captain Holmes killed 58 fine trout and a salmon in two days. Some of the trout were over eight pounds in weight.-Ibid.
If to this I add that Mr.
(the writer of this article) and his