Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/418

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366
AUDUBON

ated under a rock in the grass, and made of a quantity of dried grass, forming a very decided nest, at least much more so than in our Middle States, where the species breed so very abundantly. Wild Geese were seen by our party, and these birds also breed here; we saw Loons and Eider Ducks, Anas obscura[1] and the Fuligula [Œdemid] americana.[2] We came to our anchorage at twenty minutes past twelve. Tom Lincoln and John heard a Ptarmigan. Toads were abundant. We saw some rare plants, which we preserved, and butterflies and small bees were among the flowers which we gathered. We also saw Red-breasted Mergansers. The male and female Eider Ducks separate as soon as the latter begin to lay; after this they are seen flying in large flocks, each sex separately. We found a dead Basking Shark, six and a half feet long; this fish had been wounded by a harpoon and ran ashore, or was washed there by the waves. At Eastport fish of this kind have been killed thirty feet long.

June 18. I remained on board all day, drawing; our boats went off to some islands eight or ten miles distant, after birds and eggs, but the day, although very beautiful, did not prove valuable to us, as some eggers from Halifax had robbed the places ere the boats arrived. We, however, procured about a dozen of Alca torda, Uria troile, a female Eider Duck, a male Surf Duck, and a Sandpiper, or Tringa,—which, I cannot ascertain, although the least[3] I ever saw, not the Pusilla of Bonaparte's Synopsis. Many nests of the Eider Duck were seen, some at the edge of the woods, placed under the rampant boughs of the fir-trees, which in this latitude grow only a few inches above the surface of the ground, and to find the nest, these boughs had to be raised. The nests were scooped a few inches deep in the mossy, rotten substance

  1. Dusky Duck.
  2. Scoter Duck.
  3. The Least or Wilson's Sandpiper, Tringa (Actodromas) minutilla.—E. C.