Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/423

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371
THE LABRADOR JOURNAL

cattle are to be found here. Returning this evening the tide had so fallen that we waded a mile and a half to an island close to our anchorage; the sailors were obliged to haul the boat that distance in a few inches of water. We have removed the "Ripley" closer in shore, where I hope she will be steady enough for my work to-morrow.

June 20. Thermometer 60° at noon. Calm and beautiful. Drew all day, and finished two Uria troile. I rose at two this morning, for we have scarcely any darkness now; about four a man came from Captain Billings to accompany some of our party to Partridge Bay on a shooting excursion. John and his party went off by land, or rather by rock and moss, to some ponds three or four miles from the sea; they returned at four this afternoon, and brought only one Scoter Duck, male; saw four, but could not discover the nests, although they breed here; saw also about twenty Wild Geese, one pair Red-necked Divers, one Anas fusca, one Three-toed Woodpecker, and Tell-tale Godwits. The ponds, although several miles long, and of good proportion and depth, had no fish in them that could be discovered, and on the beach no shells nor grasses; the margins are reddish sand. A few toads were seen, which John described as "pale-looking and poor." The country a barren rock as far as the eye extended; mosses more than a foot deep on the average, of different varieties but principally the white kind, hard and crisp. Saw not a quadruped. Our Bear trap was discharged, but we could not find the animal for want of a dog. An Eider Duck's nest was found fully one hundred yards from the water, unsheltered on the rocks, with five eggs and clean down. In no instance, though I have tried with all my powers, have I approached nearer than eight or ten yards of the sitting birds; they fly at the least appearance of danger. We concluded that the absence of fish in these ponds was on account of their freezing solidly every winter, when fish must die. Captain Billings