Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/409

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

land, he assured us, was poor in every respect, soil, woods, game; that the Seal fisheries had been less productive these last years than formerly. On these islands, about a dozen in number, live one hundred and sixty families, all of whom make their livelihood by the Cod, Herring, and Mackerel fisheries. One or two vessels from Quebec come yearly to collect this produce of the ocean. Not a bird to be found larger than a Robin, but certainly thousands of those. Père Brunet said he lived the life of a recluse, and invited us to accompany him to the house where he boarded, and take a glass of good French wine. During our ramble on the island we found the temperature quite agreeable; indeed, in some situations the sun was pleasant and warm. Strawberry blossoms were under our feet at every step, and here and there the grass looked well. I was surprised to find the woods (by woods I mean land covered with any sort of trees, from the noblest magnolia down to dwarf cedars) rich in Warblers, Thrushes, Finches, Buntings, etc. The Fox-tailed Sparrow breeds here, the Siskin also. The Hermit and Tawny Thrushes crossed our path every few yards, the Black-capped Warbler flashed over the pools, the Winter Wren abounded everywhere. Among the water-birds we found the Great Tern (Sterna hirundo) very abundant, and shot four of them on the sandridges. The Piping Plover breeds here—shot two males and one female; so plaintive is the note of this interesting species that I feel great aversion to killing them. These birds certainly are the swiftest of foot of any water-birds which I know, of their size. We found many land-snails, and collected some fine specimens of gypsum. This afternoon, being informed that across the bay where we are anchored we might, perhaps, purchase some Black Fox skins, we went there, and found Messieurs Muncey keen fellows; they asked £5 for Black Fox and $1.50 for Red. No purchase on our part. Being told that Geese, Brents, Mergansers, etc., breed eighteen miles from here, at the