This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
The Willow Warbler or Willow Wren (Phylloscopus or Sylvia trochilus), Fig. 44, is olive-green above, throat and chest white, with a yellowish tinge, while the belly is pure white. Its average length is 5 in. It is the first of Sylvinae or True Warblers to arrive in Britain during March. It frequents woods and thickets, pleasure grounds and gardens, and is active and busy from "morn till eve" in searching for and devouring insects; meanwhile enlivening the groves with song.
The nest of the willow warbler is made in a low bush, oval or roundish in its form, and is entered by a little hole at the side. The eggs are five to seven in number, grey-white in colour, spotted with red. The young are fed with aphides and small caterpillars, the fledgelings and parents devouring countless numbers of insect pests. The willow wrens leave Britain in October.
Fig. 44. - The Willow Warbler or Willow Wren.
The Common White-throat or Nettle Creeper (Sylvia cinerea), included in the Sylviadae or Warblers, averages 5½ in. in length, and is reddish-brown in colour on the upper parts, white on the throat, and brownish white below. It arrives in England about the end of April, the males arriving first. It frequents the garden and shrubbery, hedgerows, copses and woods, enlivening the parts visited with its powerful and sweet song. The nest is built in open bushes, small, and mostly among brambles, or on a stump covered with overgrowth. The eggs, four or five, are of a greyish colour and thickly spotted with brown. The food consists of flies, caterpillars, and other insects, the young being fed on "soft" larvae, chiefly caterpillars. In September the common white-throat takes its departure from Britain.
The Lesser White-throat or Brake Warbler (Sylvia or Curruca undata) is about 5 in. in length, dark grey in colour above, and the under-surface white, with a pinkish tint. It arrives in England to-wards the end of April, frequenting coppices, shrubberies and gardens, prying and searching everywhere and constantly for food, which consists of insects, chiefly small caterpillars. The nest is built amongst brushwood; eggs, four or five, green with white, speckled with brown spots. The young are fed with "soft" larvae, chiefly small caterpillars. The lesser white-throat leaves the British Islands in September.