Saturday 24 July 1915


On visiting the Kentish plover’s nest I found one of the eggs just chipping; the chick inside seemed to be in a very weak condition. Unfortunately I did not enter my finding on this nest in my journal on the day, but it was certainly before July 1st and by some dated sketches of the incubating bird I believe it was June 28th. This gives an extraordinarily long period for incubation. A possible explanation may be found in the fact that the nest was rather public and in consequence the brooding bird might have been subject to frequent disturbance. On one occasion I found the eggs quite chilled, which would naturally tend to retard the development of the embryo.


[note added later] The chick failed to escape from the shell. Below are sketches showing the manner in which it lies within the egg.



The sketch is one of four of the embryo viewed from different aspects. Underneath Ingram wrote ‘The head is curled round and tucked under the ‘elbow’ of the right wing, the bill projecting between this and the doubled-up right thigh. The neck is curled back through the two wings.’ He also sketched the pterylosis [arrangement of feathers] of a two-day old swallow, the victim of an ‘unfortunate accident’ and mistle thrushes, sparrows and starlings shot by a bird-boy in a cherry orchard at Ham Street.

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