Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/422

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370
AUDUBON

ent. In habits this bird resembles the S. hirundo, and has nearly the same harsh note; it feeds principally on shrimps, which abound in these waters. Five young L. marinus were brought alive, small and beautifully spotted yet over the head and back, somewhat like a Leopard; they walked well about the deck, and managed to pick up the food given them; their cry was a "hac, hac, hac, wheet, wheet, wheet." Frequently, when one was about to swallow a piece of flesh, a brother or sister would jump at it, tug, and finally deprive its relative of the morsel in an instant. John assured me that the old birds were too shy to be approached at all. John shot a fine male of the Scoter Duck, which is scarce here. Saw some Wild Geese (Anser canadensis), which breed here, though they have not yet formed their nests. The Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) breeds also here, but is extremely shy and wary, flying off as far as they can see us, which to me in this wonderfully wild country is surprising; indeed, thus far all the sea-fowl are much wilder than those of the Floridas. Twenty nests of a species of Cormorant,[1] not yet ascertained, were found on a small detached, rocky island; these were built of sticks, sea-weeds, and grasses, on the naked rock, and about two feet high, as filthy as those of their relations the Floridians.[2] Three eggs were found in one nest, which is the complement, but not a bird could be shot—too shy and vigilant. This afternoon the captain and I walked to the Little Natasquan River, and proceeded up it about four miles to the falls or rapids—a small river, dark, irony waters, sandy shores, and impenetrable woods along these, except here and there is a small space overgrown with short wiry grass unfit for cattle; a thing of little consequence, as no

  1. No doubt the common species, Phalacrocorax carlo, as Audubon afterward identified it. See beyond, date of June 30.—E. C.
  2. That is, the species which Audubon named the Florida Cormorant, Phalacrocorax floridanus, now known to be a small southern form of the Double-crested Cormorant, P. dilophus.—E. C.