button to main menu  Clarke's Survey of the Lakes, 1787

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Page 190:-
kinds of buzzards, (viz.) the black buzzard,a bird larger than some of the eagles, but whose flight is dull and heavy, and is not so fierce as the eagle: what they live upon I cannot tell; I have robbed and visited their nests, which (like the eagle) are always in a rock, yet I never saw any provision for their young; they are certainly a very lazy bird. The brown buzzard is considerably less, but in all its actions and manner of building resembles the other; their voices too are alike, and resemble that of a cat when she is begging for provisions. The kite, (or glead) is a native of this country, and builds in trees, and, like both the aforementioned, has not more than two eggs at a time: they provide for their young, fish, flesh of any kind they can get, frog-spawn, snails, &c. They are a dull, heavy, inactive bird, with longer wings and tail than the buzzard. The tail seems to contribute much to their motion, for I have often observed them move forwards, up and down, without any perceptible motion of their wings.
I cannot help here relating what a Mr George Browne, attorney at law, from Troutbeck near Winandermere, and myself once saw. As we were riding along Ulswater side in Gowbarrow, near Ewe Cragg, we observed a kite in the air that had caught an eel, with which it was struggling, (for the eel we could perceive to be alive;) we rode after it, cracking our whips, and roaring as loud as we could; after some time it let the eel fall, which we took up alive: how this kite could catch such a fish I cannot tell, for it weighed fourteen ounces.
Ravens we have few, owing I suppose to the reward given for killing them; they build their nests in rocks, and lay four eggs. Hawks we have of all kinds I ever heard of, except the soar-hawk, and perhaps that too; but we have now no such name for any I have seen. The osprey I have seen: there was a nest a few years ago of this bird in Whinfield Park, they seem to be of the hawk kind, and are about the size and colour of a magpye; in what manner fish are charmed by them let others tell, for I cannot: I saw one fly into the rock at the giant's cave, and on its crossing the river there, the fish sprung to the top, and remained six or eight seconds as if intoxicated. The other birds are such as the rest of the kingdom in general produce, except the pheasant which we have not.
  red deer
Of quadrupeds. - The first is the red deer, which is bred upon the tops of the mountains in Martindale, and are exceeding wild, never being fed in Winter; they always seek for and abide in the highest places, and feed on herds; one always keeping watch in the day-time, which keeps snuffing and looking about: this is always a stag, and so delicate is their smell, that they will give notice of an enemy at 300 yards distance, if on the wind-side of them. In the Highlands of Scotland they tell you that it seldom happens that a man can get a shot at any of them, except the deer which is upon watch: if he is wounded with the shot, so that he is unable to follow the herd, he immediately turns upon the man, who throws himself upon his back, having his durk in his hand; the stag then cannot conveniently get at him with his horns, but tramples upon him with his feet, and when standing over him, the man frequently finds an opportunity to run his durk into the deer. If a stag is wounded, and yet able to follow the herd, he joins them, and does not shew the least pain or uneasiness, though he will sometimes fall down in sight of you; at others, if you can perceive him wounded, and have a dog to hunt him, he will be found hid in the heath or rocks as soon as ever he has got out of your sight: They will sometimes take several shots to kill them after the first wounding, but if you have a hound dog with you they will not turn.
The stag sometimes in harvest, in the dead of the night, leaves the mountains and comes into the corn-fields, lays himself down on one side to feed, and slides in that situation along a furrow to fresh places, not getting upon his feet, and thus with his body destroys more corn than he eats; if he stays two or three days, he so over-eats himself that he is easily run down. In 1786, one in Martindale did not run above two miles before a couple of hounds till he dropt down dead. In rutting time, if two stags meet that are each of them masters of herds *, a battle ensues, and dreadful is the conflict; they are next to the game-cock for agility; they walk round each other to get a push at the body if they can, but the other generally catches his adversary's head with his own, and such a clash of horns is then heard as would astonish any man; then they will push at each other like two bulls, then fetch a run like two rams; and so fixed are their eyes upon each other, that a person may sometimes get within twenty yards of them, and a good while before either of them discover him. Their engagement often lasts half an hour, and they frequently break their horns, sometimes near the head, or near the middle: which ever is conquered generally flies his country several miles, often crossing Ulswater, and never again returning; the other then reigns sovereign of both herds, and unites them as a conquered country to his own. The conquered stag hath been known to live many years quite alone: In the 1741, a deer which laid a considerable way out of the forest was complained of by farmers: the keeper, therefore, sent his servant John Brown, with a fox-hound called Rockwood to fetch him into the forest or kill him. The dog soon roused the deer, and run him upwards of 20 miles, when he came to How-Town, (see Plate IV.) as if to take the Lake: He did not, however, but running along-side of it three miles, crossed it at the foot, and ascended Dunmallard. He then crossed by Soulby-Fell and run towards Dacre, where Mr Hassel met him with his whole kennel of hounds, and they pursued him to Hutton John, where he was harboured: Rockwood soon roused him, and drove him full in the face of Mr Hassel's dogs, but they were unable to take him. He then, (to use my informer's words,) "run thro' the whole pack like a hare through a flock of sheep," though he had followed the deer
* See a poem written by Sir Robert Howard, called, The Duel of the Stags, which is a very natural description.
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