Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/411

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359
THE LABRADOR JOURNAL

intersect the country in many directions. We saw large flocks of Velvet Ducks feeding close to the shores; these did not appear to be in pairs. The Gannet dives quite under the water after its prey, and when empty of food rises easily off the water.

June 14, off the Gannett Rocks. We rose at two o'clock with a view to proceed to the eastern extremity of these islands in search of certain ponds, wherein, so we were told, Wild Geese and Ducks of different kinds are in the habit of resorting annually to breed. Our informer added that formerly Brents bred there in abundance, but that since the erection of several buildings owned by Nova Scotians, and in the immediate vicinity of these ponds or lakes, the birds have become gradually very shy, and most of them now proceed farther north. Some of these lakes are several miles in circumference, with shallow, sandy bottoms; most of them are fresh water, the shores thickly overgrown with rank sedges and grasses, and on the surface are many water-lilies. It is among these that the wild fowl, when hid from the sight of man, deposit their eggs. Our way to these ponds would have been through a long and narrow bay, formed by what seamen call sea-walls. In this place these walls are entirely of light-colored sand, and form connecting points from one island to another, thus uniting nearly the whole archipelago. Our journey was abandoned just as we were about to start, in consequence of the wind changing, and being fair for our passage to Labrador, the ultimatum of our desires. Our anchor was raised, and we bid adieu to the Magdalenes. Our pilot, a Mr. Godwin from Nova Scotia, put the vessel towards what he called "The Bird Rocks," where he told us that Gannets (Sula bassana) bred in great numbers. For several days past we have met with an increased number of Gannets, and as we sailed this morning we observed long and numerous files, all flying in the direction of the rocks. Their flight now