Bro. Thomas, & his daughter Mrs Ben White left us, & went to London. Lord Stawell sent me from the great Lodge in the Holt a curious bird for my inspection. It was found by the spaniels of one of the keepers in a coppice, & shot on the wing. The shape, & air, & habit of the bird, & the scarlet ring round the eyes, agreed well with the appearance of a cock pheasant; but then the head & neck, & breast & belly, were of a glossy black: & tho’ it weighed 3 ae 3 1/2 oun., the weight of a large full-grown cock pheasant, yet there were no signs of any spurs on the legs, as is usual with all grown cock pheasants, who have long ones. the legs & feet were naked of feathers; & therefore it could be nothing of the Grous kind. In the tail were no long bending feathers, such as cock pheasants usually have, & are characteristic of the sex. The tail was much shorter than the tail of an hen pheasant, & blunt & square at the end. The back, wing-feathers, & tail, were all of a pale russet, curiously streaked, somewhat like the upper parts of an hen partridge. I returned it to the noble sender with my verdict, that it was probably a spurious or hen bird, bred between a cock pheasant and some demestic fowl. When I came to talk with the keeper who brought it, he told me, that some Pea-hens had been known last summer to haunt the coppices & coverts where this mule was found. *Hen pheasants usually weigh only 2 ae 1 oun. My advice was that his Lordship would employ Elmer of Farnham, the famous game-painter, to take an exact copy of this curious bird. — His Lordship did employ Elmer, & sent me as a present a good painting of that rare bird.
Posted by sydney on Oct 2nd, 1790