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Read by the President, MR. THOMAS SOUTHWELL, F.Z.S., to the Members of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society at their Eleventh Annual Meeting, held at the Norfolk and Norwich Museum, April 5th, 1880.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN-Twelve months ago you did me the honour to elect me President of your Society, a position which I accepted with reluctance, feeling, that however much my long experience as Secretary might have made me acquainted with the routine of its proceedings, very different qualifications were required to ensure success in the higher office; and I feel that on more than one occasion the Society has been very inadequately represented by me, notwithstanding the kind support which I have invariably received from every individual member. Permit me to thank you for the forbearance which you have shown towards my many shortcomings during the past year, and to express a hope that my successor may have an equally pleasant and prosperous year of office. I cannot close my official connection with our Society, which has lasted eleven years, without a deep feeling of regret, and a thankful acknowledgment of the many privileges and advantages which I have enjoyed, directly and indirectly, as the result of the position which you have so long allowed me to occupy.

From the Reports presented by the Treasurer and Secretary you have heard that financially we are in a fair position, although with more funds at our command we could have made a better return to our non-resident members; but I trust that in looking over the Papers published by the Society during the eleven years of its existence, they will not think their small subscriptions uselessly applied. A slight increase in the number of members is also reported. It is with regret that I have to announce the death



during the past year of three of our original members: Mr. W. S. Boulton, Mr. A. M. F. Morgan, and Mr. John King. The latter gentleman never took an active part in the management of this Society, but has for the past fifty years been devoted to the study of the Geology of Norfolk; and although he has not, I believe, himself contributed to the geological literature of the county, his large and valuable collections of fossils, chiefly from the Chalk, as well as his great experience, have always been at the service of those engaged in the study, to whom they have proved of the greatest assistance. It is not only by the Naturalists' and Geological Societies that Mr. King will be missed-wherever a good work was to be done there his energy was untiring.

In reviewing the proceedings of the past year, I have to record that the Royal Microscopical Society has done us the honour of electing our President for the time being an ex-officio Fellow of that Society. We have also received a goodly number of additions to the library, some of which are of considerable value. Conspicuous amongst these are the publications of the Geological Survey of the Territories of the United States of America, received through Dr. F. V. Hayden. A list of the publications received will be found printed in the 'Transactions.'

Of the unpublished papers read before the Society, one by Mr. Bridgman in September, had reference to the Aculeate Hymenoptera. Although he complained of the badness of the season, he had some very good captures to report, and rare as well as beautiful specimens to exhibit.

In May, Lieut.-Colonel Leathes gave us a very interesting account of the various natural history phenomena observed by him during a voyage to India and back in H. M. Troop-ship 'Crocodile.' Many of Colonel Leathes' observations were very suggestive, and the discussion which followed the delivery of the address certainly was not the less interesting from the diversity of opinion which it elicited. It is very much to be desired that other members of the Society who have the opportunity of travelling abroad, would favour us in a like manner. Mr. Dix also, at the January meeting, gave us an account of the excursion to Horstead

Marl Staithe, which in consequence of the unpropitious weather was very thinly attended.

Amongst the printed papers will be found two on "Hawking in Norfolk" one by Professor Newton, and the other by Mr. J. E. Harting. This is a subject of more than local interest, and has been ably treated in each instance. A very interesting paper has also been contributed by Mr. H. D. Geldart, on the "Life and Works of Edward Blyth," a name familiar to most of us through the pages of the 'Zoologist,' and the 'Proceedings of the Zoological Society.' Mr. Geldart called especial attention to a paper published by Blyth in the Magazine of Natural History' for 1835, which seems to have attracted very little attention either at the time of its publication or since, and in which, like the elder Darwin, he has anticipated to a remarkable extent the views since elaborated by Charles Darwin and Wallace, as to variation in animals by Natural and Sexual Selection.

The Honorary Secretary gave us an account of his work amongst the Lepidoptera during the season of 1878, which will be read with interest.

Mr. Harvie-Brown's paper on "Bird Life in the Shiant Islands," and Dr. Heddle's on the "Geology and Mineralogy" of the same islands, will be read with interest both by ornithologists and geologists. We also print the usual ornithological summary by Mr. Stevenson, and the meteorological report by Mr. Quinton, both of which forming continuous records now extending over eleven years are especially valuable. The tenth section of the fauna and flora of the county, which will consist of the birds, we are compelled for want of space to defer till next year.

Of the shorter papers I would call especial attention to that on the occurrence of Emys lutaria in the river-bed at Mundesley, by Mr. H. B. Woodward, and to Mr. Plowright's discovery of two magnificent fungi at Brandon, viz., Boletus sulphureus and Helvella infula; the only other British locality of these two fine species being at Rothiemurchus in Inverness-shire, where, as at Brandon, they are also associated.

The months of June, July, and August, have this year, for the

first time, been entirely devoted to field meetings and excursions, and to our doings during this vacation I must ask you to allow me to devote a few minutes.

The sixth section of the tabulated objects of our Society enumerates amongst other means of prosecuting the "Practical study of Natural Science," the holding of field meetings and excursions; and, carrying out the letter of the law, we have visited since the formation of the Society many a charming nook together, and enjoyed in several instances the kind hospitality of our country. members. These meetings have also brought together many who would not otherwise have met, and I trust not a few friendships have thus been formed which will be of lasting benefit both to ourselves, and in the extension of the objects which we have in view. As a rule, I fear, these outings, however delightful in themselves, have not been very productive in scientific results. From purely geological excursions we are precluded, and botany is the only field which can be advantageously prosecuted on these occasions: thus it is the botanists who have always been most successful. During the past year, however, there has been one notable exception to this rule, to which I wish to call your especial attention. I refer to the visit paid by the Society to Cambridge on the 22nd May, by invitation of Professor Newton. On arriving at Cambridge we were met at the Railway Station by Professor Hughes, who very kindly conducted a section of the party over the celebrated coprolite pits at Barnwell. The remainder proceeded direct to the Zoological Museum, and were received by Professor Newton, who exhibited to us the ornithological portion of his museum, pointing out and expatiating upon many of the treasures contained in the rich collections. After showing us the most perfect skeleton existing of the Dodo of Mauritiusand of its cousin the Solitaire of Rodriguez, and saying that Réunion (formerly Bourbon) once had another and no doubt perfectly distinct Didine bird, which fact we know from the accounts left us by early navigators, though as yet not a fragment of its remains have been recovered, Professor Newton proceeded to observe that the existence of representative forms in Madagascar, and in what have of late been

called the Mascarene Islands (i.e. Seychelles, Mauritius, Réunion and Rodriguez), was not confined to this singular family of Didide, all of which are now extinct, but is continued to the present day. The proof of this assertion he illustrated by specimens from the collection of Madagascarian and Mascarene birds formed by his brother, Mr. Edward Newton, formerly Colonial Secretary at the Mauritius. Confining himself to examples of the great order Passeres, he showed us representative forms of four families-(1) Turdida in the genus Hypsipetes, (2) that which is commonly called Dicaide in the genus Zosterops, (3) the Muscicapidæ in the genus Terpsiphone (or Tchitrea), and (4) the Ploceide in the genus Foudia. Of the first he showed us that the different forms, though quite recognisable on close study, had so much general resemblance that it was almost impossible to make their distinctions plain at a distance. Very much the same objection, coupled with the small size of the birds, hindered him from dwelling on the second-the White-eyes; but the difference between the various forms of the third group, Terpsiphone, would be plain to all. Moreover, these taught another lesson. The female birds from (1) Mauritius and Réunion, (2) Madagascar, (3) Anjuan (one of the Comorros) and (4) Seychelles were seen to be much alike, of a more or less deep chestnut or bay colour, with a crown of glossy steel-blue; but an enormous difference was observable when their mates were compared. In the Mauritius and Réunion species (T. bourbonnensis) sexual distinctions were not very striking, the cock being but a little more brightly coloured than the hen. In the Madagascar species (T. mutata) a series of specimens showed that the cock after some time put on a plumage quite unlike that of the hen, or, it would be more proper to say two plumages, for there was reason to suspect that this sex in this species was "dimorphic," and that while some birds assumed a bridal attire in which white was the prevailing colour especially in the middle rectrices which are developed into long streamers, others had as much black as white in their dress. In the Anjuan bird (T. vulpina) the cock seemed never to assume black or much white; but, though growing long tail feathers, always preserved the foxy colouring which has given

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