Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/34

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

1849, Mr. J. L. Hurdis visited Gurnet Rock or 'Gurnet Head Rock' a small, precipitous, and nearly inaccessible outlying island, situated off Castle Harbor, and found there the nests of a shearwater in the crevices of the rocks. He concluded that he had found and identified the long lost cahow.

His identification has been accepted by Capt. S. G. Reid and other later writers on the ornithology of the Bermudas, apparently without any adequate consideration of the facts stated by the early writers from personal observation. It has been assumed by nearly all recent writers, though without any real evidence, that Gurnet (Head)

PSM V60 D034 Ruined fort on castle island bermuda.png

Ancient ruined fort a on Gurnet's Head of Castle Island; b, water cistern, still, holding water; c, catchment slope built of slabs of limestone; d, Gurnet Head Rock; e, entrance to Castle Harbor.

Rock was the particular place, or at least one of the places, where the cahow bred In old times. Perhaps this may be due to the name, but it was called 'Gurnet Head Rock,' because it lies off 'Gurnet Head' on Castle Island. The latter name was in use in 1619. Some of the early writers say that it bred on some of the smaller uninhabited islands, inaccessible to the wild hogs, without designating any particular one (see Strachy's narrative). Governor Butler and the Rev.. Lewis Hughes say that a boat could go to its breeding places and get a load of the bird and its eggs in a short time (see Strachy's account, above). This was apparently done only in the night. Therefore the islands visited