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any species for several days in that thick-wooded valley (near the crossing), and supposed all the Swallows had gone South. Though both of these probably inhabit that region, I am not sure that those seen were of either species, as they had a strange look, and flew too high to be shot or closely observed. They were white beneath, with the tail a little forked, and may possibly have been Bank Swallows.
CEDAR BIRD (Ampelis cedrorum). The Cedar Birds were very abundant in the open pine woods of the main Rocky Mountains, and evidently had nests in August, as they were scattered, and commonly seen searching for insects among the pine foliage, etc. Also common at Cour d'Aleñe Mission. I saw nothing of the larger Waxwing, which I have since found as far South as Fort Mohave, N. W., January 10th, 1861.
TOWNSEND'S FLYCATCHER (Myiadestes Townsendii). I saw only the specimen preserved, which I shot at the eastern base of the pass over the Caur d’Aleñe Mountains. It was there pursuing insects from bush to bush in a small prairie or "opening,” silent, and in every respect resembling the Pewee and other birds of that family in habits. I have remarked the same of Phainopepla nitens of Southern California, a bird closely related to this, and in habits very unlike the Waxwings, at least in winter. The Shrikes, however, resemble these birds more than the Waxwings or the Vireos, with which Baird associates them. The tarsal scales would remove both, and the Waxwings also, from the order of Oscines, and I never heard them sing. (No. 103 is in plumage apparently young, and undescribed.)
SHRIKE (Collyrio excubitoroides? or elegans?). Both in 1853 and this year, I saw Shrikes on the Columbia Plain in October, which seemed to me to be quite different from C. borealis, and to resemble C. excubitoroides which abounds through the plains of Nebraska and across Oregon to California. They were so wild that I could not get near them, and in habits, flight, etc., resembled the latter. C. elegans was furnished to Swainson by the Hudson Bay Company, and was most probably therefore killed north of the Columbia river. No specimen exactly like it has been lately obtained.
NORTHERN SHRIKE (C. borealis). I shot a specimen, the only one I saw, at Fort Dalles, October 15th,- early in the season for it to appear even in that latitude. It was savagely attacking Jays and Magpies, driving them before it, but it did not kill any birds while I observed it.
VIREO (Vireo olivaceus? V. Bartramii Swainson?). I found this species quite common from the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains to that of the Bitterroot Range, and in habits found it exactly like the eastern olivaceus. As it is larger than that mentioned by Swainson, his specimen was very probably, as Baird suggests, of the next species, especially since this is found unchanged at Fort Bridges, Utah.
WARBLING VIREO (V. gilvus). Rather less common than the preceding in the Rocky Mountains, though very common west of the Cascade Range. I noticed nothing new in its habits. - To be continued.
AN AFTERNOON IN NICARAGUA.
BY WILLIAM H. DALL.
WHEN the agent of the Central American Transit Company announced to us, that on account of the low water, we might be detained a day or two at Greytown, we did not consider ourselves unfortunate by any means. A collecting party was quickly organized, and, after partaking of fried plantains and "tortillas,” with a cup of coffee from the hands of a señorita very much the color of the beverage just mentioned, each one started out prepared to make the best of the six hours of daylight remaining, by dispersing into the bushes in search of specimens of all kinds. Previous, how
ever, to our departure, a person showed us a bottle of whiskey, which he asserted contained the most poisonous reptile extant. On examination it proved to be a specimen of a very beautiful snake, banded with red, black, white and cream-color, and of a genus (Elaps? euryzanthus Ken.) which is perfectly harmless. In vain we pointed out the jaws, totally destitute of fangs, and almost toothless, and were again assured that it was the far-famed "coral snake," of which the bite was inevitably followed by a bloody sweat, and death in most awful agonies. Not wishing to waste time in discussing the point, we separated, each striking into the heavy growth of bushes back of the town, or following the sandy beach to the entrance of the lagoon, now no longer a harbor.
I pushed into the jungle by a narrow foot-path winding among the trees, which, with the vines and even the grasses, appeared each one to vie with all others in the production of hooks, thorns and prickles. The mosquitoes, too, were by no means idle. The path soon brought me to the edge of a small lagoon, surrounded with trees and vines, and presenting a most beautiful scene. Here and there on the sunny side of a log, were small lizards with their sides brightly banded with metallic blue or green, chestnut and black. Everything was quiet, but a mellow humming, told of insect life hovering among the green leaves.
The most noticeable among the many plants which were growing in the water, was a gigantic Sagittaria, rising above the water six or eight feet; its beautiful pointed leaves and white flowers bearing a great similarity to the common Arrow-head of the Massachusetts ponds. Rich crimson orchids were to be seen growing in the branches of the higher trees; but, after considerable exertion, having dislodged one of them, I was disappointed by finding it coarse and unattractive on a nearer inspection. Leaves of a nymphaceous plant, like our yellow pond-lily, but no flowers, were seen on the surface of the water.
The mosquitoes soon put an end to my pleasure in surveying the beauty of this secluded spot, and I made my way with some difficulty between the wild pineapples, which, bearing no edible fruit, add a positive evil to their deficiency of good, by pushing in every direction their sharp, saw-like, and inflexible leaves.
Reaching an open spot I saw a beautiful bird balancing himself on a slender twig, and occasionally uttering a plaintive note, of no great melody, but far from disagreeable, as is the case with many tropical birds. His body was a rich chestnut brown, and the underside of the tail of a bright golden hue. A lucky shot added him to my collection. It was the Inca Bird (Ostenops Montezuma); the "Oro-pendula” or Golden-tail of the Spaniards. Another moment and a flash of fire seemed to pass from one bough to another; my gun was brought into requisition again, and I brought down a fine male Fire Bird (Ramphoceles passerina), probably one of the most beautiful of American birds. The body is of the most brilliant scarlet, and the wings and tail jet glossy black. Others of our party obtained another species (R. icteronata) almost equally beautiful, where the most brilliant yellow on the rump and back takes the place of scarlet; while still another (R. sanguinolenta) glories in a dress of the richest velvety maroon.
It was growing rather dark in the dense thicket, and I retraced my steps towards the beach. On my way I added several other interesting birds (Momoti) to my collection, and one, a dark-colored, sad-looking bird, which proved the greatest prize of all, being a new species, afterwards described by Mr. Lawrence as Spermophila badiiventris. Reaching the edge of the wood, I found a small brook between me and the sand. The banks being low, were covered for several rods on the farther side, with a succulent plant of the order Portulacacer, with round leaves about half an inch in diameter. I noticed little well-beaten paths, about one inch wide, running all through this bed of green, and stopped to discover if possible what made them. Some were wider than others, and on one of these I soon discovered a foraging party of ants. They were of two species, one being a rather small black ant, with weak jaws or nippers, and the other nearly twice that size, each bearing a formidable pair of prolonged mandibles or jaws, and as near as I could see there were no two with jaws of exactly the same size or shape. The small ones were evidently slaves. They were marched between two rows of scouts, and if a slave attempted to pass the line, he was speedily seized and put back, not very gently, into his place. I watched their motions with a great deal of interest. The "soldiers,” after searching till satisfied for a rich succulent leaf, bit it off and gave it to a slave, who immediately marched off with it in a contrary direction to the main body. Following the train for a rod or two, I came to the brook just where it had made an abrupt bend, with an eddy in it. Here the banks were rather high, a moderately brisk sea-breeze was coming from the shore, and just here a small tree about two inches in diameter had fallen across the brook. On this pole were myriads of ants going in different directions. Those above, each with a leaf in his mouth, were crossing to the wooded side. Those on the underside were empty-handed (or mouthed), and were coming from the woods. Here I noticed a curious thing. The leaf, being larger by far than its bearer, acted as a sort of sail to catch the wind, and I saw many an unfortunate slave-ant, after struggling with all its might to save its precious load, finally let it go in selfdefence, and immediately join the excursionists on the lower side of the pole, going back for another leaf. In the eddy before mentioned, there was at least a bushel of these leaves which had been blown away from their bearers. *