A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15.

The sea-bears are not so large, by far, as the lions, but rather larger than a common seal.  They have none of that long hair which distinguishes the lion.  Theirs is all of an equal length, and finer than that of the lion, something like an otter’s, and the general colour is that of an iron-grey.  This is the kind which the French call sea-wolfs, and the English seals; they are, however, different from the seals we have in Europe and North America.  The lions may, too, without any great impropriety, be called over-grown seals; for they are all of the same species.  It was not at all dangerous to go among them, for they either fled or lay still.  The only danger was in going between them and the sea; for if they took fright at any thing, they would come down in such numbers, that, if you could not get out of their way, you would be run over.  Sometimes, when we came suddenly upon them, or waked them out of their sleep, (for they are a sluggish sleepy animal), they would raise up their heads; snort and snarl, and look as fierce as if they meant to devour us; but as we advanced upon them they always run away, so that they are downright bullies.

The penguin is an amphibious bird, so well known to most people, that I shall only observe, they are here in prodigious numbers, so that we could knock down as many as we pleased with a stick.  I cannot say they are good eating.  I have indeed made several good meals of them, but it was for want of better victuals.  They either do not breed here, or else this was not the season; for we saw neither eggs nor young ones.

Shags breed here in vast numbers; and we carried on board not a few, as they are very good eating.  They take certain spots to themselves, and build their nests near the edge of the cliffs on little hillocks, which are either those of the sword-grass, or else they are made by the shags building on them from year to year.  There is another sort rather smaller than these, which breed in the cliffs of rocks.

The geese are of the same sort we found in Christmas Sound; we saw but few, and some had young ones.  Mr Forster shot one which was different from these, being larger, with a grey plumage, and black feet.  The others make a noise exactly like a duck.  Here were ducks, but not many; and several of that sort which we called race-horses.  We shot some, and found them to weigh twenty-nine or thirty pounds; those who eat of them said they were very good.

The oceanic birds were gulls, terns, Port Egmont hens, and a large brown bird, of the size of an albatross, which Pernety calls quebrantahuessas.  We called them Mother Carey’s geese, and found them pretty good eating; The land-birds were eagles, or hawks, bald-headed vultures, or what our seamen called turkey-buzzards, thrushes, and a few other small birds.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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