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 two first sorts were found together on the beach; the large ones keeping by themselves, and walking in small flocks amongst the others, which were more numerous, and were sometimes seen a considerable way up the sides of the hills.  The third sort were only found by themselves, but in great numbers, on the outer shores of the harbour.  They were breeding at this time; and they lay on the bare stones only one white egg, larger than that of a duck.  All the three sorts of penguins were so tame, that we took as many as we pleased with our hands.”

“The shags of this place are of two sorts; the lesser cormorant or water-crow, and another, which is black above, with a white belly, the same that is found in New Zealand, Terra del Fuego, and the island of Georgia.”

“We also met with here the common sea-gull, sea-swallow, tern, and Port Egmont hen; the last of which were tame and numerous.”

“Another sort of white bird, flocks of which flew about the bay, is very singular, having the base of the bill covered with a horny crust.[129] It is larger than a pigeon, with the bill black and the feet white, made like those of a curlew.  Some of our people put it in competition with the duck as food.”

[Footnote 129:  The sheath-bill.  See Pennant’s Genera of Birds, p. 43.]

“The seine was hauled once, but we found only a few fish about the size of a small haddock, though quite different from any we knew.  The snout is lengthened, the head armed with some strong spines, the rays of the back-fin long, and very strong, the belly is large, and the body without scales.  The only shell-fish are a few limpets and muscles; and amongst the stones a few small star-fish and sea-anemonies were found.”

“The hills are of a moderate height; yet many of their tops were covered with snow at this time, though answering to our June.  Some of them have large quantities of stones, irregularly heaped together at their root, or on their sides.  The sides of others, which form steep cliffs toward the sea, are rent from the top downward, and seem ready to fall off, having stones of a considerable size lying in the fissures.  Some were of opinion that frost might be the cause of these fissures, which I shall not dispute; but how others of the appearances could be effected, but by earthquakes, or some such severe shocks, I cannot say.”

“It appears that rain must be almost constant here, not only from the marks of large torrents having rushed down, but from the disposition of the country, which, even on the hills, is almost an entire bog or swamp, the ground sinking at every step.”

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