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bitants as three species, and had different names accordingly bestowed upon them. The eggs of each, too, were pointed out among a number collected. The bridled guillemot is said to be abundant at Spitzbergen.
Little is known of this bird as a British, and still less as an Irish species. We must look particularly to such naturalists as visit the breeding-places of guillemots to supply us with information, both respecting the U. lacrymans and U. Brunnichii.*
Uria Brünnichii, Sabine.
The only record of this bird as Irish appears in Ainsworth's description of the caves of Ballybunian on the coast of Kerry, to which Colonel Sabine contributed a brief note on the birds he had met with there in the month of July 1833. This species is simply stated to have been "recognized in flight.” From almost any other person such a note would be of little value; but it will be remembered that to Colonel (then Captain) Sabine, ornithologists are indebted for placing the species, as such, on a fixed basis in his “Memoir on the Birds of Greenland,' published in the Transactions of the Linnæan Society (vol. xii. p. 538). It was remarked by him to be in abundance in Davis's Straits, and occasionally in Baffin's Bay.
Dr. Harvey, of Cork, about the 1st of February, 1850, received a guillemot, from Youghal, that he is inclined to consider U. Brunnichii. His description of it is :
" Length of bill from forehead 2 inches, from rictus 27 inches.. Circumference of bill at angle (which is farther forward than in the common species), 14 inch ; that
* Mr. R. J. Montgomery suspects that either of these may be found at the island of Lambay, off the Dublin coast, as the people there speak of a second kind closely resembling the common guillemot (June 1849).
of a common one measured at the same time barely an inch. It is much mottled with black and white on the flanks, and very black where that colour prevails.”
Sir William Jardine remarks, that “ Brunnich's guillemot is easily distinguished from the common species by the thicker form of the bill, and the greater angle of the mandible, and also by the much deeper tint of the head and neck, and indeed of the whole plumage.”—Brit. Birds,' vol. iv. p. 218.
This guillemot has been met with at the Shetland (Sir James C. Ross) and Orkney islands (Macgillivray) and on the coast of Caithness.*
THE BLACK GUILLEMOT.
Uria grylle, Linn. (sp.)
Is found around the coast, and is permanently resident.
Its breeding-haunts—generally in lofty marine cliffs-are much of the same character as those of the common guillemot, though sites of different kinds are chosen for its nests: both species are often found together at the same locality ; but the black, everywhere known to me, in much more limited numbers than the other. It breeds at the places named under the latter species. About twelve pair are said to frequent the Gobbins annually. About Carrick-a-rede I remarked them in June 1842. At Rathlin, Dr. J. D. Marshall informs us that—“ This bird frequents the southern or Ushet extremity of the island-a place totally devoid of any other sea-fowl—and the shores which immediately front Ballycastle, where I found them, in number about thirty, flying backwards and forwards among the rocks, where they had established themselves. I saw only one pair on the northern shores, and could not ascertain whether they bred there or not. At their breeding-haunts on the southern shore they were very wary, and could scarcely be approached; but the day I visited the immediate vicinity of the spot alluded to, was so stormy and the sea ran so high, that I dared not keep the boat closer to the rocks, in order to examine their breeding-places more particularly. The black guillemots were easily distinguished from all the others by the dark plumage, and the white spot on the wings.”
* It is in a list of rare birds--some of them the rarest in the British catalogneobtained in the county of Caithness by Mr. Eric Sinclair of Wick, and published by Mr. James Wilson, in his 'Voyage Round the Coasts of Scotland and the Isles,' vol, ü, p. 179.
Nnumbers annually resort to the cliffs at Horn Head, and deposit their eggs “under stones out of sight and reach.” They are stated by persons best informed on such subjects to remain there all the year. They breed at the Bills Rock off Achil.* The Rev. G. Robinson, who visited the western coast in the summer of 1844 in company with Dr. C. Farran, found these birds to be common in Birterbuy Bay (Galway), where his companion reckoned above sixty in company. The fishermen state that they remain during the year, and appear to be “ bay birds," being seldom seen on the open sea. Their nests are placed on some of the rocky isles at or near the entrance of the bay. When rearing their young, they fly up the bay, continue fishing until sufficient food is procured, and then return to the nestlings with their burthen ;-in an incredibly short time they are again busily engaged at the same occupation : this coming and going is continued throughout the day.
Mr. Robinson informs me, that they were generally wild, and would not admit the approach of a boat within sixty yards without taking flight, which was their invariable mode of escape. When pursued, they always flew towards the open sea, and by his managing to keep to the sea-side of them while in the bay, they were obliged to fly within shot of his boat, from which he killed fifteen on the 1st of August. All except one were old birds, in which the white feathers of the winter plumage were beginning to appear near the tail. When flying from the bay each had generally a
* Lieut. Reynolds, R.N., 1834.
fish in its bill ;-a spotted blenny (Blennius gunnellus) was found in the stomach of one.
Early in July 1834, we met with the black guillemot, about the largest of the Isles of Arran, off Galway Bay, and on the coast of Clare. Mr. T. F. Neligan, when mentioning its breeding on the Kerry coast in 1837, where it then was and still is numerous, added, that, in a nest containing two eggs, which he had found, the male bird was captured, and exhibited two patches bare of feathers, caused by his incubation.* The species has been shot near Valentia Island in winter. On the coast of Cork it breeds at the Reannies, &c., in company with the common guillemot and razorbill;t-on the cliffs of Ardmore (Waterford), and others in the south, it builds; also at Bray Head, county Wicklow. On my visiting (with Mr. R. Ball) the island of Ireland's Eye, off Howth, in April 1835 and early in July 1837, and crossing to Lambay Island on the 5th of June, 1838, several were seen :—they nidify at both islands. When flying, the white patch on the wing is very conspicuous.
The late Mr. J. Montgomery noted this species as “ beginning to arrive after the breeding season at the bay of Strangford on the 29th of July, 1822 : they were all in black plumage [therefore adults], not a grey or speckled one being amongst them.” It was added, that “when rising on wing, this bird assists itself by striking the water rapidly with its feet.” Specimens killed almost every year, at various times during the winter, on the marine loughs of Larne, Belfast, and Strangford, have come under my own observation.* They were all in the plumage of the Greenland dove, being that of winter ; but when crossing the bay from Carrickfergus to Bangor, on the 29th of January, 1835, I remarked one in its black summer attire,+ as well as two more in that already named as proper to the season. On the 16th of August, 1848, an old bird, shot on the bay within a quarter of a mile of Belfast, was in full winter plumage. Dr. Fleming, in his ‘History of British Animals,' remarks, that he has “ observed the birds with black plumage about the end of February,” and “ by the end of March, they are common in this, their summer dress” (p. 135).
* Mr. Audubon remarks-" The black guillemot, to cover her three eggs [this number he found in all of the many nests that came upder his observation on the American coast), and to warm them all at once, plucks a space bare quite across her belly. * * * The males [of the black, common, and Brunnich's guillemot, as well as of the razorbill] incubate as well as the females, although the latter are more assiduous" (vol. ii. p. 145). This author, commencing at p. 148, gives a very good description of the habits, &c., of the black guillemot, marred, however, by the introduction of extraneous matter.
† Mr. R. Warren, jun. ;-who has never seen more than three or four pair there in a day.
Mr. R. J. Montgomery wrote to me after visiting Lambay in June 1849, that they build on the south side of the island, where there are no cliffs, but that he was unable to find their eggs.
The stomach of one of these birds, shot in Belfast Bay about the middle of September, was filled with the remains of Crustacea. The only portions that could be determined positively, owing to the state of decomposition in which they were, belonged to the hermit crab (Pagurus Bernhardus) of large size.
Mr. Selby remarks, that " in the northern parts of Scotland and its isles this is a numerous species, but becomes of rarer occurrence as we approach the English coast, where indeed it is but occasionally met with; and although Montagu has mentioned it as resorting to the Farn Islands, I can safely assert that this has not been the case for the last twenty-five or thirty years” (p. 427):—the work was published in 1833. Mr. Macgillivray, describing it as a British bird, states, that “ all the breedingplaces are to the north of the Tweed and Solway.” Sir William Jardine also notices “ the coasts of the south of Scotland being near to its southern range in Britain,”# but mentions at the same time his having met with the species at the Isle of Man (where he believed it to be breeding), and the record of its occasional occurrence on the southern coast of England. It is interesting, there
* Sometimes called sea-pigeon at Larne and at Lambay, and parrot at Roundstone (Mr. J. Nimmo).
+ On the 12th of February, 1849, Mr. R. Warren, jun., shot one of these birds in complete breeding plumage, and saw another in the same state in Cork Harbour.
I ‘Brit. Birds,' vol. iv. p. 221. At Islay, I saw some of these birds which were shot there at the end of December 1848.