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derable numbers on the north-western extremity of the island, where the high and precipitous rocks afford them facilities for incubation. They were not, however, so plentiful as either the razorbills or puffins, but they frequented the same rocks indiscriminately. * * * The young guillemots I had frequent opportunities of examining; they were, when excluded from the shell, covered with a dark grey down of a whitish colour underneath.” The greatest haunt of these birds in the breeding season that I have visited is the extensive range of stupendous cliffs at Horn Head in Donegal, to which immense numbers resort. Situations for their nests are selected at various heights, some being low down near the sea. They are said to come here in March, and depart about “ Lammas” (12th August): their eggs are stated to be deposited in clefts of the rock as well as on the “open flags.” The rocks of Tory Island in this vicinity are also tenanted by these birds in summer. Between this island and Horn Head, two or three pair only were seen by Mr. G. C. Hyndman on the 8th of August, 1845; one pair was accompanied by their young, almost full grown.
At Achil, in June 1834, we learned that guillemots breed on the Bill's Rock off that island, and the limestone cliffs of Arranmore, off the entrance to Galway Bay, were found by ourselves to be tenanted by vast multitudes of them and razorbills. On the cliffs of Kerry they commonly breed, as they do on those of Cork, Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow, Dublin, &c., and the adjacent islands. In the month of July 1837, I observed them about the rocks of Ireland's Eye, off Howth; they breed at the neighbouring island of Lambay. When sailing up Dublin Bay on the morning of September 4, 1845, several of these birds and their young came under my notice.
A gentleman of my acquaintance, fishing in Belfast Bay, off Crawfordsburn, on the 28th and 29th of August, 1845, was much entertained by observing the habits of these birds and their young, of which he saw great numbers. The young were about one-third less than their parents, and uttered a shrill squeaking note, while that of the old was hoarse and guttural ;-like a
croak. They admitted of a very close approach. The old birds dived several times, and on each occasion brought up a fish, which was always given to the young. The latter rested quietly on the surface of the water, and never attempted to fish for themselves, but hurried forward rapidly to their parents when they brought up any prey. Two of these birds were accidentally taken on · hooks baited with herring fry.
The Rev. G. M. Black, writing from Annalong, on the coast of Down in November 1849, remarked: – “A guillemot (U. troile) was brought to me a short time since, which I at first thought had been wounded, as, when put down on the ground, it made no attempt either to walk or fly, but was very bold, striking hard with its bill. When I afterwards took it to the beach, within a few paces of the sea, the eager attempt to get into its proper element was very amusing, as aided both by legs and wings it shoved itself along in a most awkward way. On reaching the sea, it at once dived, rose fifty yards off, flapped its wings, and seemed well and happy; it is evident these birds cannot rise to the wing from the ground, though they make considerable flights from the sea.”
Guillemots have been found washed ashore dead on the beach of Belfast Bay, after tempestuous weather late in autumn, and throughout the winter. They were in all such cases, in autumn as well as winter, extremely poor in flesh; worn almost to skeletons.
Either these or razorbills or both (the species not being distinguished) are sometimes washed ashore, dead, at Carlingford Bay, in numbers during winter. In that season, of 1847-48, “twenty-five guillemots were found dead on the Bull sand-bank, Dublin Bay. There had been a gale from the north-east continuously for some days, about a week previously."*
These birds would seem to come in spring to our shores, from localities where they are little molested, as they are then much more easy of approach than after being accustomed for a short
time to the inconsiderate and wanton annoyance they experience here. At this time, or just before taking their station at their breeding-places, they appear far up Belfast Bay, sometimes about the quays of the town, and have been killed with oars and stones ; so late as April 26 (1838) they have been observed here. At the end of autumn again for a short time, as well as late in spring, they are seen far up the bay. On September 19, 1837, I obtained one (its irides were noted to be greyish-brown) in the plumage of Bewick's lesser guillemot, of which he gives an interesting account, showing it to have been an excellent and patient sitter for its picture. In the first week of October 1838, several were shot here; in 1840 they first made their appearance on the 4th of that month. A fine bird which I had weighed proved to be 2 lbs. 1 oz. In Strangford Lough I have remarked them at the beginning of October.
When about the entrance of Belfast Bay in winter, I have always observed some of these birds, and a few individuals killed there during that season have come under my notice. They have occasionally been brought from Dublin Bay to the city in winter; and, in the “Fauna of Cork,' are noticed as “resident.”
Mr. Selby is of opinion that “the colonies which had made the English coast their summer quarters, retire to more southern latitudes to pass the winter months. Their place in this country is but sparingly supplied by a few stragglers from the great bodies that, being bred in still higher latitudes, make the friths of Scotland and its isles, the limit of their equatorial migration”* (vol. ii. p. 422). This interesting view of the question is as applicable to Ireland as to Scotland, but, not being susceptible of proof, it must unfortunately remain a mere matter of speculation. The great body at least of old birds that breed upon the cliffs of Ireland
* When proceeding from East Tarbert to Greenock, on February 1, 1849, and about the entrance to Loch Fine, I saw a number of these birds, or razorbills, both singly and in pairs, and in one instance four in company. Guillemots they most probably were, but they did not come near enough on flight, or admit of such an approach when swimming, to enable me to determine their species. The headland of Oe, in Islay, and the Craig of Ailsa, may be mentioned as insular breeding-places of the guillemots known to me off the south-west of Scotland.
move with their young by easy stages southward to spend the winter. The author just quoted supplies a full and excellent account of the species, chiefly from observation at the Farn Islands, on the coast of Northumberland, one of its breeding-haunts. Mr. Laurence Edmonston gives an interesting notice of the young, and of the moulting, &c., of this bird and the razor-bill, as observed by him at Zetland.* The Bishop of Norwich, in his 'Familiar History of Birds,' treats very pleasingly of the guillemot at the South Stack, near Holyhead, one of its summer stations. Mr. Waterton devotes one of his agreeable essays (1st series, p. 153) to it, not only as observed in its breeding-haunt, but, when he was lowered down the rocks near Flamborough Head, to its nests, or rather to its eggs. Audubon (vol. iii. p. 143) descants very particularly on the loves of the guillemots, as witnessed by him during their migration, and graphically describes the species at the Murret Rocks, near Great Macatina Harbour : he mentions a boat returning thence, after a few hours' absence, to the ship in which he was, laden with 25,000 of their eggs.
THE BRIDLED GUILLEMOT.
„ lacrymans, Valenc.
Mr. R. Chute, of Blennerville (Kerry), shot one at Dingle. I Another was killed by a boating party off the Giant's Causeway
* Wernerian Memoirs, vol. v. part i. p. 22.
+ This word reminds me of the name muir-eun (pronounced murr-yan) bestowed on this species at Horn Head, and the meaning of which, according to an Irish scholar, is siinply sea-bird. Murre is the appellation by which the guillemot is known in Cork harbour (Mr. R. Warren, jun.), and the razorbill at Lambay. Frowl is said to be the name applied to the former bird in this island (Mr. R. J. Montgomery). I I noticed the circumstance in the ‘Annals of Nat. Hist.' for 1848, vol. i. p. 62,
in the summer of 1848, but was considered too much injured to be worth preservation.
Attention has been directed only of late years to this bird, either as a variety of the common guillemot, or as a distinct species. It differs, according to Gould, from the Uria troile in the “white mark which encircles the eyes and passes down the sides of the head.” This author names the coast of Wales as frequented by it, to which that of Cornwall, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, and Durham have been added in Yarrell's work. Devonshire may here be included, as one was procured at the end of January 1848 in Plymouth Sound by John Gatcombe, Esq. This gentleman having remarked the bird as apparently larger than the common guillemot (though both are described as similar in size), and as swimming in a different manner, followed in his boat, and shot it. Two others have since been obtained there, one of which, found dead soon after the first, had assumed summer plumage. In the Historia Naturalis Orcadensis,' published in 1848, and the ‘Proceedings of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club’ for the same year (p. 275), it is mentioned as occurring on the Scottish coast. Several are said, in the former work, to have been shot in Orkney, and one, in the latter, at the Bass Rock on July 25, 1840. The boatmen knew of only one or two being killed there, but said the species was not uncommon at the Isle of May.*
The best information on this bird that I have seen, and more especially in reference to its distinctness as a species, is that by Mr. Proctor (subcurator of the Durham University Museum), published in Yarrell's work (vol. iii. p. 460, 2nd edit.). It is the result of a visit to the breeding-haunt of the bird at Grimsey, an island about forty miles to the north of Iceland, where the U. lacrymans, U. troile, and U. Brunnichii were found breeding in their respective quarters : they were distinguished by the inha
new series. The letter containing this information was dated February 26, 1846 ; but when the bird had been killed was not stated.
* Mr. A. Hepburn; who gives a full description of the specimen obtained.