Thursday, January 8, 2009

Flora and Fauna of Regency Britain - January

First I thought you might enjoy an extract from the naturists diary, remembering that during this period, it was gentlemen hobbyists who did most of the research.

The influence of snow on vegetation cannot be better summed up than by saying that, in the first place it protects the plant and its seeds from the violence of frost; in the second it furnishes them with a continual moisture; and in the third, makes a greater number of seeds to germinate. (See The Gentleman’s Magazine Vol. lxxxiv part 2 page 544.)

For January fauna I chose a couple of commonly seen creatures who might easily show up in a book set in this month.



"Come sweetest of the feather d throng
And soothe me with thy plaintive song
Come to my cot devoid of fear
No danger shall await thee here
No prowling cat with whisker d face
Approaches this sequester d place"


Edward Jenner, 1749 to 1823.


He is, as the picture indicates, speaking about the European robin. Or robin redbreast. A childhood favorite of mine.

The bird has become a symbol of Christmas, but this was not the case in the Regency. Our Naturist says January is when the robin begins to sing. Both the male and female sing during the winter, when they hold separate territories, the song then sounding more plaintive than the summer version. The robin song is quite lovely, very liquid, and sometimes mistaken for that of a nightingale.


Also to be seen in the winter is the weasel. The size of a large mouse, it remains brown through the winter months, i.e. does not turn white as it does in nore northern climes.

While its primary diet is rats and mice, it is not above trying to steal hens eggs.

They do not hibernate, and burrow under the snow looking for their prey during the worst weather.

That's all from me.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.