Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/194

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142
VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

birds from their nests, when they instantly occupy them and devour their eggs. After several ineffectual attempts to procure one of these marauders, I at length succeeded in shooting one which came within reach of my gun. This bird is called by Buffon, l'abbé-à-longue-queue; it is singularly beautiful and elegant; it has a black bill one inch and a quarter in length from the base; upper mandible gibbous; nostril, linear and situated in a curve; tongue cleft; front, crown, and nape dark brown; neck, cheeks, chin, throat, breast and belly, white; all the rest of the body dusky; wings, darker coloured; the two middle feathers of the tail, seven inches longer than the rest; legs, lead-colour; thighs, black; and feet of the same hue and webbed; length nineteen inches; extent of wing, thirty-nine inches; insides, amber brown.

On returning on board, an unicorn was observed upon the surface of the water, in a very unusual posture, exhibiting one of the lobes of its tail, while a fin occasionally moved; on getting nearer to it, it was distinctly seen to be lying on its side, and supporting by its fin a little one, which was suckling at the breast; both the parent and her offspring made their escape just before the harpooner could execute his design of causing a fatal separation between them. The colour of the water continued to deepen, as we proceeded to the westward, and an uncommon quantity of different medusæ was observed floating in it. Medusæ are considered