Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/420

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368
AUDUBON

same size, white, and with the same hoarse note, were to be seen, but they had no nests; these, I am inclined to think (at present) the bird called Larus argentatus (Herring Gull), which is simply the immature bird of Larus marinus.[1] I am the more led to believe this because, knowing the tyrannical disposition of the L. marinus, I am sure they would not suffer a species almost as powerful as themselves in their immediate neighborhood. They fly altogether, but the white ones do not alight on the rocks where the Marinus has its nests. John watched their motion and their cry very closely, and gave me this information. Two eggs of a Tern,[2] resembling the Cayenne Tern, were found in a nest on the rocks, made of moss also, but the birds, although the eggs were nearly ready to hatch, kept out of gunshot. These eggs measured one and a half inches in length, very oval, whitish, spotted and dotted irregularly with brown and black all over. The cry of those Terns which I saw this afternoon resembles that of the Cayenne Tern that I met with in the Floridas, and I could see a large orange bill, but could not discern the black feet. Many nests of the Great Tern (Sterna hirundo) were found—two eggs in each, laid on the short grass scratched out, but no nest. One Tringa pusilla [minutilla], the smallest I ever saw, was procured; these small gentry are puzzles indeed; I do not mean to say in nature, but in Charles's[3] Synopsis. We went ashore this afternoon and made a Bear trap with a gun, baited with heads and entrails of codfish, Bruin having been seen within a few hundred yards of where the lure now lies in wait. It is truly interesting to see the activity of the cod-fishermen about us, but I will write of this when I know more of their filthy business.

  1. A mistake, which Audubon later corrected. The Herring Gull is of course quite distinct from the Black-backed. The former is of the variety called by me Larus argentatus smithsonianus, as it differs in some respects from the common Herring Gull of Europe.—E. C.
  2. Perhaps Forster's Tern, Sterna forsteri.—E. C.
  3. Charles Lucien Bonaparte.