STRANGE FACTS OF FISH LIFE
waters the result of his immediate growth
in these waters, outside the narrow rings of
his parr life, is indicated by two or three
broad rings. These broad rings are formed
in consequence of the immediate rapid
increase in size of the smolt as a result
of his more abundant food supply.
One more weary winter, and he decided
to return to the place of his birth. This,
of course, raises the question : Do salmon
return to the river in which they were
The examination of marked fish points
to the fact that salmon, as a rule, do return
Photo: Dr. Francis IVard, F.Z.S.
Greatly magnified section of the Salmon scale, showing the centre which marks
the fish's first year as a parr, and its subsequent growth in the sea, to the end
of its third summer.
During his first year in the sea the fish
continues to add broad rings of growth,
which gradually approximate each other as
the winter approaches, and this process is
repeated year by year so long as the salmon
remains in the sea.
The scale next shows that our fish
during the summer of 1920 fed to his
heart's content ; look at the size of the
rings of growth.
During the winter of 1920-21 he was
obviously on low diet. But in the spring
and summer of 1921 he was back again on
a good menu, though his feeding ground
was not so satisfactory as in the previous year.
to the river from which they originally
came ; this is because these fish do not
roam far into the sea. When the time
comes round for them to spawn, the river
from which they have descended is probably
the nearest fresh water.
It is also possible to tell at what age a
fish returned to fresh water to spawn. This
is shown by a scar or spawning mark on the
scale, which takes the same crescentic shape
as the rings of growth.
The spawning mark is formed in conse-
quence of the fact that when a fish has
spawned it loses weight and its skin shrinks,
but the scales cannot shrink, and so the
THE PAGEANT OF NATURE
rhoio: Dr. hran,is ll'ard, I-.Z.S.
The Salmon Alevin at the end of six weeks after* hatching loses
its yolk-sac and becomes a " Fry." By the autumn the fry has
% increased to a length of some three inches
Thousands of fish
have been examined
in fresh water, and
have been found to
contain no food in
the stomach or any
evidence of digested
food in the alimen-
Further, after a
fish has been in
fresh water for some
time, the lining of
the stomach is in a
showing that food has
not been taken for
a well-mended kelt,"
edges fray. When the scale again grows But the kelt,
the frayed edge leaves a permanent scar. even after a long sojourn in fresh water,
Salmon seldom spawn more than twice in is often in such a " pink of condition "
their lives, and they have not, up to the that it is impossible to think that the
present, been found to return after eight or fish has not fed.
nine years of age. Either salmon do not In consequence of the systematic mark-
spawn after this age, and, therefore, do not ing of smolts and other stages of the
return to fresh water, or eight or nine years salmon during recent years by attaching
is their natural span of life. silver plates or wire to the dorsal fin much
An article on the salmon would be valuable information concerning the life
incomplete without an attempt to answer history of the fish has been secured. But
that oft-repeated question : " Do salmon even now it is only partially known, and
feed in fresh water ? " Fresh run fish do there is still much to be learnt of that
not. " Kelts " fish that have spawned period of the salmon's life which is passed
most certainly do.
in the sea.
I'hoto : Dr. 1-ramis ri'arj, F.Z.S.
And is then known as a Parr. Salmon Parr dart about our rivers with brown trout,
and are often killed in ignorance of their identification. These little fish, when two or
three inches in length, are brilliantly coloured.
When the ba
were all satisfied the Willow Wren sat on the bramble-bough
and went on with his plaintive little song.
VI. Good-bye to Spring
IT was a lovely morning in June ;
not a cloud in the sky, and only
the gentlest of warm breezes
stirring the reeds. All the wild
things had been up and about since
early dawn, hunting, breakfasting,
singing and chattering, and seeing
to their own domestic affairs.
Now there was a hush throughout
the land as if all were weary with
the strenuous morning's work.
Even Spring that hard -worked
fairy, was tired that morning. Her
busiest time was over. The year
now was fully awake, and every-
thing was growing and flowering
and nesting and mating in the full
tide of life.
So she came down through the
reeds to the river and sat down by
the water-lilies where a little furry,
round -nosed water-vole was also
sitting enjoying the quiet June sun-
To the river, too, came the
children, chattering down the
winding pathway. On hearing them, j
the vole slipped quietly into the |
water, but Spring for once was not j
in a hurry, and let them gather i
round. Boodles climbed into her I
lap and Topsy sat by her side, j
while Popsi lay flat on the warm j
grass and looked up into her i
44 Well, children ! " said Spring, i
44 I am glad you found me to-day, j
for I shall not be here very much j
44 Oh ! " cried the children in I
chorus. 44 You haven 1 1 got to go i
away, have you ? "
44 Why, of course ! " said Spring, i
smiling a little. 44 You can't have \
me here all the year round ! "
44 Oh dear ! " cried Boodles. 44 I i
wish we could. Spring is so much I
the loveliest time of the year."
44 But you love Summer, when J
she comes, don't you ? " said
44 Why, Boodles ! " said
THE PAGEAHT OF NATURE
Topsy. " Just think of hot days by
the sea, when we can paddle and
bathe again. "
"I'd rather have Spring, with all
the birds making nests , ' ' said Popsi .
44 That reminds me," said Spring.
44 When you were looking for the
dragon the other day, did you
hear a willow -wren singing? "
" Come, then ! " said Spring,
and silently she led them through
the thick undergrowth.
" / see the nest ! " cried Popsi
suddenly as they crept on hands
and knees through the tangle.
44 Oh, such a darling little nest !
Look ! It has a little roof, and
a door in the side ! "
Photo : Frances Pit/.
A little round-nosed Water-vole was sitting on the bank enjoying the quiet
4 Yes ! " cried Topsy. ' We did
hear a sweet little warbly song."
44 Before you came there was a
little water-vole sitting here, and
he told me that this morning Mrs.
Willow -wren had hatched out four
little birds ! "
44 Oh ! Can't we go and look at
them ? " they cried, all together.
44 Well, I shall have to make you
invisible, I think, or the little
mother might be afraid to come
back ! "
44 We'll be just as quiet as
little mice ! " said Popsi.
On the ground, in a tangle of
weeds was the little domed nest of
the warbler. It was made of dry
grass and roots, and lined with
hair and feathers.
44 Where are the babies ? " asked
44 They must be asleep ! "
44 Now," said Spring, 44 I will
make you all invisible, and you
must lie very quiet, and then
perhaps we shall see the little
birds being fed."
Spring touched them, and the
children became one with reeds
THE PAGEANT OF NATURE
and bushes and splatter of sun-
| light. In the stillness a little song
was heard. It began with a long
high note, trickled down and down,
and died away, softly, sweetly,
into the air.
At once from the other side
came another note a sharp call,
and out of the nest -door popped
four little heads with big bobbly
eyes and wide-open mouths. The
lovely song of the father bird had
only soothed them to sleep, but
when mother called like that
then there was something worth
waking up for. Out came the little
heads, and in a flash the mother
was there with a caterpillar in her
Into the throat of the nearest it
went, and away the mother -bird
flew, while the four heads vanished
into the darkness of the nest.
11 Peep ! " Again came the call ;
again the heads appeared. This
time No. 2 swallowed the titbit,
and all was quiet as before. For
an hour the children lay and
watched. Sometimes the mother
would come with grubs or flies,
and sometimes the father, until at
last all were satisfied. Then the
willow -wren sat again on the
bramble -bough and went on with
his own little plaintive song.
At last the children could keep
still no longer. They jumped up
and looked round for the fairy
Nowhere was she to be seen !
Out of the glitter of noon, ringing
down a ray of sunshine, there came
a clear silvery voice :
*' Good-bye, children, good-bye !
My work is done for this year ;
when the roses come out, then
Summer comes in. ... Good-bye
.... Good-bye. . . ."
Photi: John J. II "aid.
Whenever mother called, out popped the four little heads
with mouths agape.
OoooQoooo90000popp9oooopooooocooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooaoooooopooooooooooooooooooooooOo e ooo
Photo : Henry h ving.
All along the hedgerow, at intervals by the side of the wood, Ragwort, in clumps of
vivid gold, contrasts well with the many types of flowering plants which form the
By TIGKNER EDWARDES
UNDER the sweet June sunlight the
cornfield lay like a calm inland sea
green wheat full grown, and in full
green ear, breast-high, and all of a height
as I took the narrow path through its
whispering, poppy-haunted deeps.
There is a scent of summertide lovelier
even than the scent of June roses. When
the month is at its prime, and the wheat
stands thus at fullest growth with the fat
ears bending over languidly in the gentle
breeze, there comes a morning when the
air takes to itself a strange new fragrance
and a louder symphony than ever. The
scarlet poppies, lurking deep down in
the twilight of the corn, are always besieged
by bees, making an undercurrent of soft
sound for the chippering song of martin
and swallow just overhead, and the un-
ending carol of the larks far up in the
blue. But now the sunken bee-music has
come to the surface of the green lake of
wheat. The fat ears are in flower at last,
the wonderful June wheat-blossoming that
scarce anyone sees. Each ear has thrown
out an infinity of pale yellow tabs loaded
with fluffy pollen, and the bees are rioting
in these, rolling themselves in the impalp-
able dust, and sending it drifting away like
smoke on the sun-steeped air.
But it is the scent of the wheat-flower
that, midway through the wide green plane
of cornland, brings one's step to an instant,
wondering halt, and sets one luxuriously
inhaling. There is a startling quality, as
well as a charm, in its fragrance. For
it is exactly like the sharp tangy odour
of new-baked bread the lightest, purest
wheaten bread that ever came out of
mortal oven : fairy bread, it might almost
be, baked, as the story-books tell us, in
the glow of moonbeams magically con-
centrated, and set to cool in a marble grot
against Titania's feast.
THE PAGEANT OF NATURE
thing. No other growth of
summer deals out largess of
loveliness to every sense with
such royal munificence as the
common dog-rose. To liken
the beauty of any other grow-
ing thing to the squandered
beauty of June roses is to
compare with the incom-
parable. When the summer
is gone and winter winds are
harping again through bare
tree-tops and surging over
frozen fields, it will be the
scent of wild roses that abides
in the heart as symbol of high
summertide above all other
remembered, vanished things.
The June sun beats down
hot from a cloudless sky. All
along the old hedge that skirts
the wood, the sheen of the
roses makes a sort of pink
mist in the greenery. I can
see the white chalk path
trodden hard and smooth so
that it has a mirror- like power
of giving back the light
rippling away into the distance
like a thread of burnished
silver. It runs through a
tangled wilderness of flowers
heaped up on either hand,
white chervil and bramble-
bloom, vivid gold of ragwort,
stars of purple mallow shim-
Lovelier even than the scent of June mering like satin, yellow vetch climbing
roses, I said. But winning a path at high into the flanking thickets of roses,
length through the wavering jungle of the making a wreath of amber to every jewelled
wheat, and coming out by the old hedgerow spray.
under the beechen wood, I find it harder Clouds of midges dance in the torrid
to discriminate. Against the impenetrable sunbeams. Gorgeous red-admiral butter-
green of the wood, the old briar hedge flies flit on before me amidst a countless
lifts its towering battlements of pink horde of lesser winged creatures, little
blossom, giving back the morning sun blues and coppers, tortoiseshells, painted-
with such a soft yet dazzling splendour, ladies, bold veering fritillaries, hovering
and drenching the air with such a per- whites and clouded-yellows ; and all in-
fume that the breath catches in its burden- cessantly on the move in the brilliant light,
some sweetness and overpowering strength, so that looking down the woodside path
The wild rose is easily the first among is like gazing through a giant kaleidoscope
flowers of high summertide, paramount whose colours are for ever changing, for
alike in its form of simple beauty, its ever grouping themselves into new visions
utter wildness, the purity of its scent, of rainbow beauty the living, flying colours
To have come to the briar hedge in a adrift over a flower-diaper woven in every
comparing mood seems now a pitiful conceivable hue.
FM-oto : Henry Irving
Scarlet Poppies, lurking deep in the twilight of the corn
are always besieged by bees.
Here, under the lee of the beech wood, human soul. One drinks and drinks deep,
what little air was stirring out in the corn- desperately, again and again at the brim-
field has not strength enough to move
an aspen leaf. The heat and glow of the
summer morning seem to gather inten-
sity with every moment that passes. But
ming, exhaustless chalice of the season.
But there is a sort of growing fear in every
draught. There comes suddenly a moment
when one can, and will, drink no more. That
a few paces onward the air melts into moment came for me. I turned, and sped
quivering violet haze so that every distant
object has an outline as of a reflection in
deep into the cool dark corridors of the
wood, nor paused until a safe half-mile of
troubled waters. The far-off hills are but its shielding quietude -and stillness lay
vague crumbling zones of shadowy blue, behind.
scarce to be distinguished from the azure
of the sky beyond.
All the life and light of the summer
Quietude of crooning pigeons and the
wood- top murmur of the gentle breeze. And
now another sound comes drifting down into
seem to be filtering down into this serene, the green forest twilight, a sound of many
sheltered haven. Not
a voice of full sum-
mertide is missing.
It is hard to count
the cuckoos, so many-
are sounding their
far and near. There
is a nightingale
literally in every
bush. Little willow-
wrens go by every
their silver castanets
together as they fly.
Thrush and black-
bird and robin are
singing such a
galaxy in concert that
their songs blend
inextricably into one
Colour that is still,
and colour that goes
on wings ; music that
glides from branch
to branch overhead,
and music that hugs
close to one secret
nook of blossom hour
by hour ; limitless
sunshine, and the
fierce breath of sum-
mer noon scorching
the cheek with its
volenre it i5 all too
V r '
much tor the average
photo: Henry inin s-
The Trailing Dog Rose displaying its cascade of blossoms down
the hed g e . No other g POwt h of summer deals out such largess
WILD ROSE BUSH
To many a wayfarer 1 by woodland paths, the Wild Rose
Photo : Henry Irving.
IN FULL BLOOM.
stands as the supreme symbol of high summertide.
THE PAGEANT OF NATURE
voices far up above the dense fan-tracery
of beech-leaves, as an invisible host of
rooks and daws sails by in the tranquil
blue squabbling opulently as they go.
But in a little while the rich, hoarse, drowsy
symphony has died away in the distance.
Photo: A. L. CMslett.
The Lesser Stitehwort, plentiful in the gloom of the summer
woods, despite a formal prettiness, brings content in contem-
plation of its neat white double stitches sewn star fashion,
over a pale green gown.
Again the ring-doves and the murmuring
breeze have the whole wood to themselves.
I look about me, stretching arms of indolent
relief, and marvelling how these two quiet
notes the steady undertone and the slow,
sweet, effortless chime serve only to accen-
tuate the woodland quietude and make its
instant solitariness the more complete.
This spirit which sometimes, at the first
full earnest of summer, impels one to leave
the sun-flooded, flower-garlanded fields and
lanes, and wander deep into the heart of
a wood, is not the mere natural human
penchant for coolness and shelter. In this
English land of ours one seldom has toe
much of the sun's heat. It is never a
land made weary by sun-
shine, wherein one pines
for the blessing of the
great rock's shadow. The
impulse is born rather of
a conviction of too over-
whelming good a vision
of oneself as a vessel of
well-being too dangerously
full. If you have tried to
keep step and step with
the upheaval, the sheer
of the earth's life during
the past weeks, you will
feel something within
yourself as of the strain
of new wine in old bottles.
Though this life is what
it is, and every man must
take his turn at the oar
over its grey tossing sea,
we cannot all dull the
heart's edge in cities. To
some of us is given the
task of watching the
summer in from the old
sane vantage-points. And
then, if you are of these
favoured yet burdened few,
there dawns a day at
length when the prodigal
magnificence of it all is no
longer to be borne. An
end has come to human
endurance, even of beauty.
You turn your back on the
sunshine, and go to rest
your little surfeited soul,
as I have done, in the dimness and quiet
of the nearest wood.
Measured and slow the voice of the ring-
dove dwells in the silence about me. The
west wind talks far above. Though scarce
a blink of the blue sky shows through the
matted wood-top, there are skeins of sun-
light like golden cobwebs festooning the
path ahead. The path itself is of a rich
dark brown, a solid paving made up of the
Photo: G. C. S. Ingrai
WHITE FIELD OR TRAILING ROSE.
liken the beauty of any other growing thing to the squandered beauty of June roses
to compare with the incomparable. The White Field Rose with its golden anthers is
scarcely less lovely than the pink Dog Rose.
THE PXGEfittT OF NATURE
Photo: John C. Mid.
Here, under the lee of the Beech wood, the unstirred heat-waves of a summer morning
seemed to gather intensity as the sun rose to high noon.
trodden leaf-fall of a decade lightened at
its verges by the cast beech-flowers gathered
like amber snow-drift by the way.
Over this soft carpeting one goes as
silently as a stalking fox at night. A green
woodpecker, scrabbling in the dead leaves
a hundred paces onward, lets me come
almost upon him before he rises on the
wing with his hollow cry, half fear and
half sardonic mockery, and wheels away
through the tree-trunks, flying in long
sagging loops like a finch. At every turn
of the path I light upon something beautiful
or curious. Now it is a bevy of young
rabbits hobbling about an old ivied tree-
stole, and now a couple of hares chevying
each other and tumbling over together like
puppies at play. Stopping presently at
sound of a soft rustling in the wayside
grass and an intermittent anxious clucking,
I realize that a hen-pheasant is near by
with her young brood. I shall see nothing
of the little family, look as carefully as I
will. But I note the stealthy parting of
the grass-blades as the chicks follow the
receding call of the mother, until the track
of bending swathes and the care-ridden,
chiding voice fade away together into the
far deep of the wood.
Turning a little later into one of the
quietest and dimmest of the forest glades,
a sudden shrill scolding note breaks out
almost under my feet. There is a lightning
flourish of tawny fur across the path, and
straight up the nearest tree-trunk, where
it comes to rest on one of the overstretching
branches a spot of glowing quivering
colour caught in an errant sunbeam : a
frightened, very angry squirrel still scolding
volubly, and looking down upon me with
eyes of polished jet. There is no creature
of the wilds which resents human intrusion
on his solitude more vigorously and voci-
ferously than the true wild squirrel. Though
I wait an hour inert and mute below him,
he will still bide there aloft, watching me
with his beady bright eyes, his great bushy
cinnamon tail for ever lashing wrathfully.
Nor will he venture down again until all
sight and sound of me has vanished in the
far blue gloom of the forest glade.
But it is the small winged things that
love woodland quiet and obscurity, and
the still-life of flower and herbage, which
most attract me in my present sun-fugitive
Pleasant it is to look upon a single butter-
fly now, after the thousands that filled the
glowing world I traversed a while ago.
Slowly she flits along the shadowed way,
a pale white fleck trifling with the heads
of rosy campion and purple bugloss in her
course : ever onward without a pause, yet
seemingly without a purpose : a dim hover-
ing form, the mere wraith of a butterfly
a green- veined white, that would have
an arresting brilliance in the open, but
stands now for little else than sober after-
Stitchworfin the gloom of summer woods
and here it is in plenty brings one the
same healing content of heart, to look upon its
formal prettiness, neat white double-stitches
sewn star-fashion all over a pale green gown.
And the astonishing wood-spurge that, in
fair weather or foul, ever seems to give
out an intrinsic radiance of its own, stem
and foliage and crescented flower all the
same in colour and all suffused with the
same furtive yellow light.
But here is something which fits in more
completely than any with my inglorious,
sun-evading mood, and may well serve
effectually to quench it. To realize the
utter detachment, the sheer octogenarian
indifference, of the broomrape to all the
riotous, wantoning, madcap youth of the
world outside, one must go on hands and
knees to it in its dim corner, here where
the green woodland half-light and mur-
muring stillness are most profound.
It grows on a little plot of rabbit-nibbled
sward safe itself from harm, for no
creature will touch it a single leafless
spire of pale tobacco-brown, thronged with
tier above tier of flowers of the same sad
hue, each flower shaped like a thick, stubby
human hand half open, and in the clutch
of the hand a knot of dull amber beads.
It is hard to look for long upon the broom-
rape without getting a sudden eerie feeling,
a sort of whiff of the underworld, from its
uncanny parts, and an equally sudden desire
to be out among honest, open-air butter-
cups again. One goes back to the glittering
meadows, the rose-garlanded lanes, the glow-
ing cornlands, cleansed and ready for another
draught at the spring of real light and life.
Banked up against the briar hedge, the Dog Rose finds the sunlight in many a shady
corner by the wayside.
Our Wild Animals at Home
One of the most noticeable peculiarities of the Brown Hare is the marked difference
between the fore and hind limbs, the latter being nearly twice the length of the former.
9.-THE WAYS OF THE HARE
By W. S. BERRIDGE, F.Z.S.
HARE, a small four-footed animal,
with long ears and a short tail,
that moves by leaps and is re-
markable for its timidity, vigilance and
fruitf ulness. The first year it is called a