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.
and much commoner, being generally found planted about their fiatookas.  It seldom grows higher than five feet, though sometimes to eight, and has a vast number of oval compressed nuts, as large as a pippin, sticking immediately to the trunk, amongst the leaves, which are not eat.  There is plenty of excellent sugar-cane, which is cultivated; gourds, bamboo, turmeric, and a species of fig, about the size of a small cherry, called matte, which, though wild, is sometimes eat.  But the catalogue of uncultivated plants is too large to be enumerated here.  Besides the pemphis decaspermum, mallococca, maba, and some other new genera, described by Dr Forster,[170] there are a few more found here, which, perhaps, the different seasons of the year, and his short stay, did not give him an opportunity to take notice of.  Although it did not appear, during our longer stay, that above a fourth part of the trees, and other plants, were in flower; a circumstance absolutely necessary to enable one to distinguish the various kinds.

[Footnote 170:  See his Characteres Generum Plantarum.  Lond. 1776.]

“The only quadrupeds, besides hogs, are a few rats, and some dogs, which are not natives of the place, but produced from some left by us in 1773, and by others got from Feejee.  Fowls, which are of a large breed, are domesticated here.

“Amongst the birds, are parrots, somewhat smaller than the common grey ones, of an indifferent green on the back and wings, the tail bluish, and the rest of a sooty or chocolate brown; parroquets, not larger than a sparrow, of a fine yellowish green, with bright azure on the crown of the head, and the throat and belly red; besides another sort as large as a dove, with a blue crown and thighs, the throat and under part of the head crimson, as also part of the belly, and the rest a beautiful green.

“There are owls about the size of our common sort, but of a finer plumage; the cuckoos mentioned at Palmerston’s Island; king-fishers, about the size of a thrush, of a greenish blue, with a white ring about the neck; and a bird of the thrush kind, almost as big, of a dull green colour, with two yellow wattles at the base of the bill, which is the only singing one we observed here; but it compensates a good deal for the want of others by the strength and melody of its notes, which fill the woods at dawn, in the evening, and at the breaking up of bad weather.

The other land-birds are rails, as large as a pigeon, of a variegated grey colour, with a rusty neck; a black sort with red eyes, not larger than a lark; large violet-coloured coots, with red bald crowns; two sorts of fly-catchers; a very small swallow; and three sorts of pigeons, one of which is le ramier cuivre of Mons. Sonnerat;[171] another, half the size of the common sort, of a light green on the back and wings, with a red forehead; and a third, somewhat less, of a purple brown, but whitish underneath.

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