There is a remarkable hill on the downs near Lewes in Susses, known by the name of Mount Carburn, which over-looks that town, & affords a most engaging prospect of all the country round, besides several views of the sea. On the very summit of this exalted promontory, & amidst the trenched of its Danish camp, there haunts a species of wild Bee, making it’s nest in the chalk soil. When people approach the place, these insects begin to be alarmed, & with a sharp & hotile sound dash, & strike round the heads & faces of intruders. I have often been interrupted myself while contemplating the grandeur of the scenery around me, & have thought myself in danger of being stung:– and have heard my Brother Benjamin say, that he & his daughter Rebecca were driven from the spot by the fierce menaces of these angry insects. In old days Mr Hay of Glynd Bourn, the Author of Deformity, & other works, wrote a loco-descriptive poem on the beauties of Mount Carburn.
My Bantam chickens, which have been kept in the scullery every night for fear of the rats, that carried away the first brood from the brew-house, went up last week to the beam over the stable. The earnest & early propensity of the Gallinae to roost on high is very observable; & discovers a strong dread impressed on their spirits respecting vermin that may annoy them on the ground during the hours of darkness. Hence poultry, if left to themselves & not housed, will perch, the winter through on yew-trees & fir-trees; & turkies & Guinea-fowls, heavy as the are, get up into apple trees; pheasants also in woods sleep on trees to avoid foxes: — while pea-fowls climb to the tops of the highest trees round their owner’s house for security, let the weather be ever so cold or blowing. Partridges, it is true, roost on the ground, not having the faculty of perching; but then the same fear prevails in their minds; for through apprehensions from pole-cats, weasels, & stoats, they never trust themselves to coverts; but nestle together in the midst of large fields, far removed from hedges & coppices, which the love to haunt in the day; & where at that season they can skulk more secure from the ravages of rapacious birds. As to ducks, & geese, their aukward splay web-feet forbid them to settle on trees: they therefore, in the hours of darkness & danger, betake themselves to their own element the water, where amidst large lakes & pools, like ships riding at anchor, they float the whole night long in peace & security.
As I have questioned men that frequent coppices respecting Fern-owls, which they have not seen or heard of late; there is reason to suspect that they have withdrawn themselves, as well as the fly-catchers, & black-caps, about the beginning of this month. Where timber lies felled among the bushes, & coverts, wood-men tell me, the fern-owls love to sit upon the logs of an evening: but what their motive is does not appear.
Dr Chandler’s Bantam sow brought him this last summer a large litter of pigs, several of which were not cloven-footed, but had their toes joined together. For tho’ on the upper part of the foot there was somewhat of a suture, or division; yet below in the soles the toes were perfectly united; and on some of the hind legs there was a solid hoof like that of a colt. The feet of the sow are completely cloven. Mr Ray in his Synopsis animalium quadrupedum, takes on notice of this singular variety; but Linnaeus in his Systema Naturae says, “Varietas frequens Upsaliae Suis domestici semper monunguli: in ceteris eadem species.”