Simeon Etty brought me two eggs of a Razor-bill from the cliffs of the Isle of Wight: they are large, & long, & very blunt at the big end, & very sharp & peaked at the small. The eggs of these birds are, as Ray justly remarks, “in omnibus hujus beneris majora quam pro corporis mole.” One of these eggs is of a pale green, the other more white; both are marked & dotted irregularly with chcolate-coloured spots. Razor-bills lay but one egg, except the first is taken away, & then a second, & on to a third. By their weight these eggs seem to have been sat on, & to contain young ones.
Farmer Corps brought me two eggs of a fern-owl, which he found under a bush in shrub-wood. The dam was sitting on the nest; & the eggs, by their weight, seemed to be just near hatching. These eggs were darker, & more mottled than what I have procured before.
Clouds, hail, shower, gleams. Sharp air, & fire in the parlor. Showers about. Garden-crops much retarded, & nothing can be planted. Farmer Bridger sends me three real snipe’s eggs: they are in shape, & colour exactly like those of the lapwing, only one half less. The colour of the eggs is a dull yellow, spotted with chocolate: they are blunt at the great end, & taper much till they become sharp at the smaller. The eggs, sent me for snipe’s eggs last year, seem to have been those of a fern-owl.
Benham skims the horse-fields. Rasps come in: not well flavoured. On this day a woman brought me two eggs of a fern-owl or eve-jarr, which she found on the verge of the hanger to the left of the hermitage, under a beechen shrubb. This person, who lives just at the foot of the hanger, seems well acquainted with these nocturnal swallows, & says she has often found their eggs in that place, & that they lay only two at a time on the bare ground. The eggs were oblong, dusky, & streaked somewhat in the manner of the plumage of the parent-bird, & were equal in size at each end. The dam was sitting on the eggs when found, which contained the rudiments of young, & would have hatched perhaps in a week. From hence we may see the time of their breeding, which corresponds pretty well with that of the Swift, as does also the period of their arrival. Each species is usually seen about the beginning of May. Each breeds but once in a summer; each lays only two eggs.