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The Naturalist on the Thames   By: (1858-1906)

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First Page:

[Illustration: FOX FLUSHING PHEASANTS. From a drawing by Lancelot Speed. ]

THE NATURALIST ON THE THAMES

BY

C.J. CORNISH, F.Z.S.

PREFACE

Having spent the greater part of my outdoor life in the Thames Valley, in the enjoyment of the varied interests of its natural history and sport, I have for many years hoped to publish the observations contained in the following chapters. They have been written at different intervals of time, but always with a view to publication in the form of a commentary on the natural history and character of the valley as a whole, from the upper waters to the mouth. For permission to use those which have been previously printed I have to thank the editors and proprietors of the Spectator , Country Life , and the Badminton Magazine .

C.J. CORNISH.

ORFORD HOUSE, CHISWICK MALL.

CONTENTS

THE THAMES AT SINODUN HILL

THE FILLING OF THE THAMES

THE SHELLS OF THE THAMES

THE ANTIQUITY OF RIVER PLANTS

INSECTS OF THE THAMES

"THE CHAVENDER OR CHUB"

THE WORLD'S FIRST BUTTERFLIES

BUTTERFLY SLEEP

CRAYFISH AND TROUT

FOUNTAINS AND SPRINGS

BIRD MIGRATION DOWN THE THAMES

WITTENHAM WOOD

SPORT AT WITTENHAM

SPORT AT WITTENHAM ( continued )

A FEBRUARY FOX HUNT

EWELME A HISTORICAL RELIC

EEL TRAPS

SHEEP, PLAIN AND COLOURED

SOME RESULTS OF WILD BIRD PROTECTION

OSIERS AND WATER CRESS

FOG AND DEW PONDS

POISONOUS PLANTS

ANCIENT THAMES MILLS

THE BIRDS THAT STAY

ANCIENT HEDGES

THE ENGLISH MOCKING BIRD

FLOWERS OF THE GRASS FIELDS

RIVERSIDE GARDENING

COTTAGES AND CAMPING OUT

NETTING STAGS IN RICHMOND PARK

RICHMOND OLD DEER PARK

FISH IN THE LONDON RIVER

CHISWICK EYOT

CHISWICK FISHERMEN

BIRDS ON THAMES RESERVOIRS

THE CARRION CROW

LONDON'S BURIED ELEPHANTS

SWANS, BLACK AND WHITE

CANVEY ISLAND

THE LONDON THAMES AS A WATERWAY

THE THAMES AS A NATIONAL TRUST

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

A FOX FLUSHING PHEASANTS

WILD DUCK

A FULL THAMES

SHELLS OF THE THAMES

A FLOWERY BANK

BURR REED AND FLOWERING RUSH

A MONSTER CHUB

BUTTERFLIES AT REST

A TROUT

OTTERS

A WATERHEN ON HER NEST

A DABCHICK

A BADGER

FOX AND CUB

EWELME POOL

A NIGHTJAR AND YOUNG ONE

A REED BUNTING

PEELING OSIERS

BOTLEY MILL

EEL BUCKS

ORCHIS

WATER VIOLET AND WILD IRIS

A NETTED STAG

BREAM AND ROACH

A GRAMPUS AT CHISWICK

SMELTS

THE LOBSTER SMACK INN, CANVEY ISLAND

THE STEPPING STONES AT BENFLEET

HAULING THE NETS FOR WHITEBAIT

FISHING BOATS AT LEIGH

THE NATURALIST ON THE THAMES

THE THAMES AT SINODUN HILL

Fresh water is almost the oldest thing on earth. While the rocks have been melted, the sea growing salter, and the birds and beasts perfecting themselves or degenerating, the fresh water has been always the same, without change or shadow of turning. So we find in it creatures which are inconceivably old, still living, which, if they did not belong to other worlds than ours, date from a time when the world was other than it is now; and the fresh water plants, equally prehistoric, on which these creatures feed. Protected by this constant element the geographical range of these animals and plants is as remarkable as their high antiquity. There are in lake Tanganyika or the rivers of Japan exactly the same kinds of shells as in the Thames, and the sedges and reeds of the Isis are found from Cricklade to Kamschatka and beyond Bering Sea to the upper waters of the Mackenzie and the Mississippi. The Thames, our longest fresh water river, and its containing valley form the largest natural feature in this country. They are an organic whole, in which the river and its tributaries support a vast and separate life of animals and plants, and modify that of the hills and valleys by their course. Civil law has recognised the Thames system as a separate area, and given to it a special government, that of the Conservators, whose control now extends from the Nore to the remotest springs in the hamlets in its watershed; and natural law did so long before, when the valley became one of the migration routes of certain southward flying birds... Continue reading book >>




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