I procured the pair represented in the plate, on a fine evening, nearly at sun-set, at the end of August, on the banks of the Delaware river, in New Jersey, a few miles below Camden. When I first observed them, they were bopping and skipping from one low bush to another, and among the tall reeds of the marsh, emitting an often-repeated tweet at every move. They were chasing a species of spider which runs nimbly over the water, and which they caught by gliding over it, as a Swallow does when drinking. I followed them for about a hundred yards, when, watching a fair opportunity, I shot both at once. The weather was exceedingly sultry; and although I outlined both by candle-light that evening, and finished the drawing of them next morning by breakfast time, they had at that early hour become putrid, so that their skins could not be preserved. On opening them I counted upwards of fifty of the spiders mentioned above, but found no appearance of any other food. The sexual distinction was very apparent, and the brace proved a pair. They were not in the least shy, and in fact seemed to take very little notice of me, although at times I was quite close to them. These being the only individuals I ever met with, I am of course unable to say where the species breeds, or what are its migrations.
The plant on which they are placed grew abundantly on the spot where I procured them; and as they had just alighted on it when I shot them, it being moreover a handsome species, I thought it best to attach it to them.
WILSON's account of this bird is as follows: "This is a new species, first discovered in the State of Connecticut, and twice since met with in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia. The different specimens I have shot correspond very nearly in their markings; two of these were males, and the other undetermined, but conjectured also to be a male. It was found in every case among low thickets, but seemed more than commonly active, not remaining for a moment in the same position.
"Length five inches and three quarters; extent eight inches; whole upper parts a rich yellow-olive; wings dusky brown, edged with olive; throat dirty white or pale ash; upper part of the breast dull greenish-yellow; rest of the lower parts a pure rich yellow; legs long, slender, and of a pale flesh-colour; round the eye a narrow ring of yellowish-white; upper mandible pale brown, lower whitish; eye dark hazel.
"Since writing the above, I have shot two specimens of a bird, which in every particular agrees with the above, except in having the throat of a dull buff-colour, instead of a pale ash. Both of these were females; and I have little doubt but they were of the same species with the present, as their peculiar activity seemed exactly similar to the males above described."
The males thus described by WILSON, however, I am inclined to think were young birds in their second plumage.
This species forms a connecting link between Sylvicola and Trichas, having the long pointed wings of the former, and the general appearance of the latter, which it resembles, especially in its tail, which is neither emarginate nor marked with the white spots seen on that of almost all the other Sylvicolae, but which do not exist in the genus Trichas. Some of the Sylvicolae are, in like manner, assimilated to Myiodoctes, and others to Vermivora. Of the former may be mentioned, Sylvicola Auduboni and S. coronata; of the latter, S. Blackburniae.
CONNECTICUT WARBLER, Sylvia agilis, Wils. Amer. Orn., vol. v. p. 64.
SYLVIA AGILIS, Bonap. Syn., p. 84.
CONNECTICUT WARBLER, Sylvia agilis, Nutt. Man., vol. i. p. 399.
CONNECTICUT WARBLER, Sylvia agilis, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. ii. p. 227;vol. v. p. 81.
Wings long, with the first quill longest, and exceeding the first secondary by eleven-twelfths of an inch; middle toe and claw longer than the tarsus; tail of moderate length, nearly even, with acuminate feathers. Male olive-green above; a ring of yellowish-white round the eye; the head, neck, all around, and part of the breast ash-grey, the sides greyish-green; the rest of the lower parts bright yellow. Female olive-green above, yellow beneath, the sides of the neck and a band across the breast tinged with brown.
Male, 5 3/4, 8.
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Very rare. Migratory.
GENTIANA SAPONARIA, Willd. Sp. Pl., vol. i. p. 1388. Pursch, Flor. Amer. Sept., vol. i. p. 185.--PENTANDRIA DIGYNIA, Linn. --GENTIANEAE, Juss.
Stem round, smooth; leaves oblongo-lanceolate, three nerved; flowers sessile, tufted, terminal and axillar; corolla quinquefid, campanulate, ventricose, with the divisions obtuse, the internal plaits with toothed segments. It grows in meadows and woods, from Canada to Carolina, flowering in August and September.