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Title: Essays on early ornithology and kindred subjects
Author: McClymont, James R.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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_200 copies printed_

[Illustration: Casuarius uniappendiculatus, _juv._]


M.A., Author of 'Pedraluarez Cabral'
'Vicente Añes Pinçon'

_With Three Plates_




  The Rukh of Marco Polo                                   3
  The Penguins and the Seals of the Angra de Sam Bràs      7
  The Banda Islands and the Bandan Birds                  15
  The Etymology of the Name 'Emu'                         21
  Australian Birds in 1697                                25
  New Zealand Birds in 1772                               32


  I.   CASUARIUS UNIAPPENDICULATUS, Blyth. (_juv._). _From
       an example in the British Museum of Natural History.
       By permission of the Director._                 Frontispiece

       _This plate should be compared with that
       opposite p. 22, which represents a cassowary
       with two wattles--probably an immature Casuarius
       galeatus,_ Vieill. _for that is the species which
       is believed to have been brought alive to Europe
       by the Dutch in 1597. An immature example of
       that species was not available for

       edition of_ Erste Schiffart in die orientalische
       Indien so die holländische Schiff im Martio 1595
       aussgefahren vnd im Augusto 1597 wiederkommen
       verzicht ... Durch Levinvm Hvlsivm. Editio Quinta.
       Getruckt zu Franckfurt am Mäyn durch Hartmann
       Palthenium in Verlegung der Hulfischen. Anno
       M.DC.XXV., _From a copy of the book in the British
       Museum. By permission of the Keeper of Printed
       Books._                                                p. 22

       _S. personata_). _From an example in the Royal
       Scottish Museum. By permission of the Director._       p. 35

       _In the Manuel d'Ornithologie (1828) Lesson
       writes: 'Le Fou Manche de Velours, "manga de
       velado" des navigateurs portugais, que l'on dit
       être le fou de Bassan, est de moitié plus petit.
       Ce serait donc une race distincte.' tom. II. p.
       375. And in the Traité d'Ornithologie the same
       author amplifies thus what he has written: 'Fou
       Manche de Velours; Sula dactylatra, Less. Zool.
       de la Coq., Texte, part. 2, p. 494. Espèce
       confondue avec le fou de Bassan adulte; est le
       manga de Velado des Portugais. Plumage blanc
       pur; ailes et queue noires; bec corné; tarses
       jaunes; la base du bec cerclée d'une peau nue,
       qui s'étend sur la gorge en forme de
       demi-cercle. Femelle: Grise. L'île de
       l'Ascension, les mers chaudes des Tropiques.'
       Texte, p. 601._


Marco Polo, had he confined himself to a sober narration of his travels,
would have left to posterity a valuable record of the political
institutions and national customs of the peoples of his day in the Far
East. He was not satisfied with doing this, but added to his narrative a
number of _on-dit_ more or less marvellous in character, which he
collected from credulous or inventive persons with whom he came into
contact, principally from mariners and from other travellers.

Of these addenda to his story not one is more incredible than that of
the rukh, and yet that addendum may be regarded as indicating the
transition from the utterly incredible to the admixture of truth with
fiction in bird-lore. For, whilst the rukh possessed some
characteristics which are utterly fabulous, others are credible enough.
We are told, for example, that it resembled an eagle, that it was
carnivorous, that it possessed remarkable powers of flight, and that it
visited islands which lay to the south of Zanzibar, within the influence
of an ocean current which rendered difficult or impossible a voyage from
these regions to India, and which therefore must have tended in a
southerly direction. In this current we have no difficulty in
recognising that of Mozambique. On the other hand, that the rukh had an
expanse of wing of thirty paces, and that it could lift an elephant in
its talons, are of course utterly incredible assertions.

The rukh therefore holds a position in bird-lore intermediate between
that of the phoenix and that of the pelican fed upon the blood of its
mother whose beak is tipped with red, or that of the barnacle goose, of
which the name suggests the mollusc,[1] the barnacle, and which was said
to proceed from the mollusc or that of the bird of paradise, the feet of
which were cut off by the Malay traders who sold the skins, and which
were commonly reported never to have had feet, but to float perpetually
in the air.

Thus two streams united into one floated the conception of the rukh--a
mythological stream taking its rise from the simourgh of the Persians
and a stream of fact taking its rise in the observation of a real bird
which visited certain islands off the south-east coast of Africa, and
which is said to have resembled an eagle and may have been a sea-eagle.
With commendable reticence lexicographers tell us that 'rukh' was the
name of a bird of mighty wing.

  [1] I.e., a fabulous mollusc; the barnacle is not now regarded as a


There exists an anonymous narrative of the first voyage of Vasco da Gama
to India under the title _Roteiro da Viagem de Vasco da Gama em
MCCCCXCVII_. Although it is called a roteiro, it is in fact a purely
personal and popular account of the voyage, and does not contain either
sailing directions or a systematic description of all the ports which
were visited, as one might expect in a roteiro. There is no reason to
believe that it was written by Vasco da Gama. An officer in such high
authority would not be likely to write his narrative anonymously. The
faulty and variable orthography of the roteiro also renders improbable
the hypothesis that Vasco da Gama was the author.

The journal of the first voyage of Columbus contains many allusions to
the birds which were seen in the course of it by the great discoverer.
In this respect the roteiro of the first voyage of Vasco da Gama
resembles it. The journal of Columbus is the earliest record of an
important voyage of discovery which recognises natural history as an aid
to navigators, the roteiro is the next.

The author of the roteiro notes that birds resembling large herons were
seen in the month of August, 1497, at which time, I opine, the vessels
of Da Gama were not far from the Gulf of Guinea, or were, perhaps,
making their way across that gulf. On the 27th of October, as the
vessels approached the south-west coast of Africa, whales and seals
were encountered, and also 'quoquas.'

'Quoquas' is the first example of the eccentric orthography of our
author. 'Quoquas' is, no doubt, his manner of writing 'conchas,' that is
to say 'shells'; the _til_ over the o is absent; perhaps that is a
typographical error; probably the author wrote or intended to write
quõquas. These shells may have been those of nautili.

On the 8th of November the vessels under the command of Vasco da Gama
cast anchor in a wide bay which extended from east to west, and which
was sheltered from all winds excepting that which blew from the
north-west. It was subsequently estimated that this anchorage was sixty
leagues distant from the Angra de Sam Bràs; and as the Angra de Sam Bràs
was estimated to be sixty leagues distant from the Cape of Good Hope,
the sheltered anchorage must have been in proximity to the Cape.

The voyagers named it the Angra de Santa Elena, and it may have been the
bay which is now known as St. Helen's Bay. But it is worthy of note that
the G. de Sta. Ellena of the Cantino Chart is laid down in a position
which corresponds rather with that of Table Bay than with that of St.
Helen's Bay.

The Portuguese came into contact with the inhabitants of the country
adjacent to the anchorage. These people had tawny complexions, and
carried wooden spears tipped with horn--assagais of a kind--and bows and
arrows. They also used foxes' tails attached to short wooden handles. We
are not informed for what purposes the foxes' tails were used. Were they
used to brush flies away, or were they insignia of authority? The food
of the natives was the flesh of whales, seals, and antelopes
(gazellas), and the roots of certain plants. Crayfish or 'Cape lobsters'
abounded near the anchorage.

The author of the roteiro affirms that the birds of the country
resembled the birds in Portugal, and that amongst them were cormorants,
larks, turtle-doves, and gulls. The gulls are called 'guayvotas,' but
'guayvotas' is probably another instance of the eccentric orthography of
the author and equivalent to 'gaivotas.'

In December the squadron reached the Angra de São Bràs, which was either
Mossel Bay or another bay in close proximity to Mossel Bay. Here
penguins and seals were in great abundance. The author of the roteiro
calls the penguins 'sotelycairos,' which is more correctly written
'sotilicarios' by subsequent writers. The word is probably related to
the Spanish _sotil_ and the Latin _subtilis_, and may contain an
allusion to the supposed cunning of the penguins, which disappear by
diving when an enemy approaches.

The sotilicarios, says the chronicler, could not fly because there were
no quill-feathers in their wings; in size they were as large as drakes,
and their cry resembled the braying of an ass. Castanheda, Goes, and
Osorio also mention the sotilicario in their accounts of the first
voyage of Vasco da Gama, and compare its flipper to the wing of a bat--a
not wholly inept comparison, for the under-surface of the wings of
penguins is wholly devoid of feathery covering. Manuel de Mesquita
Perestrello, who visited the south coast of Africa in 1575, also
describes the Cape penguin. From a manuscript of his Roteiro in the
Oporto Library, one learns that the flippers of the sotilicario were
covered with minute feathers, as indeed they are on the upper surface
and that they dived after fish, upon which they fed, and on which they
fed their young, which were hatched in nests constructed of
fishbones.[2] There is nothing to cavil at in these statements, unless
it be that which asserts that the nests were constructed of fishbones,
for this is not in accordance with the observations of contemporary
naturalists, who tell us that the nests of the Cape Penguin (_Spheniscus
demersus_) are constructed of stones, shells, and débris.[3] It is,
therefore, probable that the fishbones which Perestrello saw were the
remains of repasts of seals.

Seals, says the roteiro, were in great number at the Angra de São Bràs.
On one occasion the number was counted and was found to be three
thousand. Some were as large as bears and their roaring was as the
roaring of lions. Others, which were very small, bleated like kids.
These differences in size and in voice may be explained by differences
in the age and in the sex of the seals, for seals of different species
do not usually resort to the same locality. The seal which formerly
frequented the south coast of Africa--for it is, I believe, no longer a
denizen of that region--was that which is known to naturalists as
_Arctocephalus delalandii_, and, as adult males sometimes attain eight
and a half feet in length, it may well be described as of the size of a
bear. Cubs from six to eight months of age measure about two feet and a
half in length.[4] The Portuguese caught anchovies in the bay, which
they salted to serve as provisions on the voyage. They anchored a second
time in the Angra de São Bràs in March, 1499, on their homeward voyage.

Yet one more allusion to the penguins and seals of the Angra de São
Bràs is of sufficient historical interest to be mentioned. The first
Dutch expedition to Bantam weighed anchor on the 2nd of April, 1595, and
on the 4th of August of the same year the vessels anchored in a harbour
called 'Ague Sambras,' in eight or nine fathoms of water, on a sandy
bottom. So many of the sailors were sick with scurvy--'thirty or
thirty-three,' says the narrator, 'in one ship'--that it was necessary
to find fresh fruit for them. 'In this bay,' runs the English
translation of the narrative, 'lieth a small Island wherein are many
birds called Pyncuins and sea Wolves, that are taken with men's hands.'
In the original Dutch narrative by Willem Lodewyckszoon, published in
Amsterdam in 1597, the name of the birds appears as 'Pinguijns.'

  [2] _Roteiro da Viagem de Vasco da Gama_. 2da edição. Lisboa, 1861.
      Pp. 14 and 105.
  [3] Moseley, _Notes by a Naturalist on the 'Challenger,'_ p. 155.
  [4] _Catalogue of Seals and Whales in the British Museum_, by J. E.
      Gray. 2nd ed., p. 53.


The islands of the Banda Sea, with the exception of Letti, Kisser, and
Wetter, constitute the Ceram sub-group or the Moluccan group; the
principal units are Buru, Amboyna, Great Banda, Ceram, Ceram Laut,
Goram, Kur, Babar, and Dama. The Matabela Islands, the Tiandu Islands,
the Ké Islands, and the Tenimber Islands also belong to the Ceram
sub-group. We are only concerned with the Banda Islands, which are eight
in number, and consist of four central islands in close proximity to one
another, inclosing a little inland sea, and four outlying islets. The
central islands are Lonthoir, or Great Banda, Banda Neira, Gounong Api,
which is an active volcano, and Pisang. The remaining Banda Islands are
Rozengain, which lies about ten miles distant to the south-east of Great
Banda; Wai, at an equal distance to the west; Rhun, about eight miles
west by south from Wai; and Suangi or Manukan, about seventeen miles
north by east from Rhun.

The Banda Islands are well known as the principal centre of the
cultivation of the nutmeg. When the Dutch East India Company became the
possessors of the islands in the beginning of the seventeenth century,
they destroyed the nutmeg trees in all the islands under their
jurisdiction, with the exception of those in Amboyna and the Banda
Islands. By doing so they hoped to maintain the high value of these
natural products.

The Banda Islands may have been visited by Varthema, but our first
reliable account of them connects the discovery of them with an
expedition dispatched by order of Alfonso de Albuquerque from Malacca.
Shortly after Albuquerque had defeated the Malays and taken possession
of that city, he sent three vessels, under the command of Antonio de
Abreu, to explore the Archipelago and to inaugurate a trade with the
islanders. A junk, commanded by a native merchant captain, Ismael by
name, preceded the other vessels for the purpose of announcing their
approaching advent to the traders of the Archipelago, so that they might
have their spices ready for shipment. With De Abreu went Francisco
Serrão and Simão Affonso, in command of two of the vessels. The pilots
were Luis Botim, Gonçalo de Oliveira, and Francisco Rodriguez or Roiz.
Abreu left Malacca in November, 1511, at which season the westerly
monsoon begins to blow. He steered a south-easterly course, passed
through the Strait of Sabong, and having arrived at the coast of Java,
he cast anchor at Agaçai, which Valentijn identifies with Gresik, near
Sourabaya. At Agaçai, Javan pilots were engaged for the voyage thence to
the Banda Islands. Banda was, however, not the first port of call. The
course was first to Buru, and thence to Amboyna. Galvão relates that
Abreu landed at Guli Guli, which is in Ceram. Barros, however, in his
account of the voyage, makes no mention of Ceram. At Amboyna the ship
commanded by Francisco Serrão, an Indian vessel which had been captured
at Goa, was burnt, for, says Barros, 'she was old,' and the ship's
company was divided between the two other ships, which then proceeded to
Lutatão, which is perhaps identical with Ortattan, a trading station on
the north coast of Great Banda. Here Abreu obtained a cargo of nutmegs
and mace and of cloves, which had been brought hither from the Moluccas.
At Lutatão Abreu erected a pillar in token of annexation to the
dominions of the King of Portugal. He had done this at Agaçai and in
Amboyna also.

The return voyage to Malacca was marked by disaster. A junk, which now
was bought to replace the Indian vessel, was wrecked, and the crew, who
had taken refuge on a small island, was attacked by pirates. The
pirates, however, were worsted and their craft was captured. Serrão, who
had been in command of the junk, sailed in the pirate vessel to Amboyna,
and thence eventually reached Ternate, where he remained at the
invitation of Boleife, the Sultan of that island. The junk, of which
Ismael was the skipper, was also wrecked near Tuban, but the cargo,
consisting of cloves, was recovered in 1513 from the Javans, who had
taken possession of it.

Zoologically the Banda Islands lie within Wallace's Australian Region,
and their avifauna has a great affinity with that of Australia. Wallace
visited these islands in December 1857, May 1859, and April 1861, and
collected eight species of birds, namely, _Rhipidura squamata_, a
fan-tailed Flycatcher; _Pachycephala phæonota_, a thickhead; _Myzomela
boiei_, a small scarlet-headed honey-eater; _Zosterops chloris_, a
white-eye; _Pitta vigorsi_, one of the brightly-coloured ground thrushes
of the Malayan region; _Halcyon chloris_, a kingfisher with a somewhat
extensive range; _Ptilopus xanthogaster_, a fruit-eating pigeon, and the
nutmeg pigeon, _Carpophaga concinna_. The islands were visited by the
members of the _Challenger_ expedition in September and October, 1874,
but the only additional species then obtained was _Monarcha
cinerascens_, also a Flycatcher.

These birds may be regarded as the resident birds of the Banda Islands,
but there are others which are occasional visitants or migrants. Indeed,
in seas so full of islands, it is inevitable that wanderers from other
islands should occasionally visit the group.

To those which I have already mentioned there may therefore be added, as
of less frequency, the accipitrine bird, _Astur polionotus_, the
Hoary-backed Goshawk; the Passeres _Edoliisoma dispar_, a Caterpillar
Shrike, the skin of a male of which from Great Banda is in the Leyden
Museum, and _Motacilla melanope_, the Grey Wagtail. Of picarian birds
there have been found _Cuculus intermedius_, the Oriental Cuckoo;
_Eudynamis cyanocephala_ sub-species _everetti_, a small form of the
Koel, and _Eurystomus australis_, the Australian Roller. João de Barros,
in his _Asia_, mentions the parrots of the Banda Islands,[5] and we find
accordingly that one of the Psittaci is recorded from Banda in modern
times, namely, _Eos rubra_, a red, or rather a crimson lory. The
ornithologist Müller saw many of these birds in Great Banda, on the
Kanary trees. Additional pigeons are the seed-eating _Chalcophaps
chrysochlora_ and the fruit-eating _Ptilonopus wallacei_, and finally
there is one gallinaceous bird which is probably resident, but the shy
and retiring habits of which have enabled it to escape observation until
recently. This is a Scrub Fowl (_Megapodius duperreyi_).

  [5] III. v. 6. 'Muitos papagayos & passaros diversos.'


The name 'emu' has an interesting history. It occurs in the forms 'emia'
and 'eme' in _Purchas his Pilgrimage_, in 1613. 'In Banda and other
islands,' says Purchas, 'the bird called emia or eme is admirable.' We
should probably pronounce 'eme' in two syllables, as e-mé. This eme or
emia was doubtless a cassowary--probably that of Ceram. The idea that it
was a native of the Banda Group appears to have existed in some quarters
at the beginning of the seventeenth century, but the idea was assuredly
an erroneous one. So large a struthious bird as the cassowary requires
more extensive feeding-grounds and greater seclusion than was to be
found in any island of the Banda Group, and, as at the present day so in
the past, Ceram was the true home of the Malayan cassowary, which found
and which finds in the extensive forests of that island the home adapted
to its requirements. It is, however, equally certain that at an early
date the Ceram cassowary was imported into Amboyna and probably into
Banda also, and we know of an early instance of its being introduced
into Java, and from Java into Europe. When the first Dutch expedition to
Java had reached that island, and when the vessels of which it was
composed were lying at anchor off Sindaya, some Javans brought a
cassowary on board Schellenger's ship as a gift, saying that the bird
was a rare one and that it swallowed fire. At least, so they were
understood to say, but that they really did say so is somewhat doubtful.
However, the sailors put the matter to the test by administering to the
bird a dose of hollands; perhaps the hollands was ignited and
administered in the form of liquid fire, but it is not expressly stated
that this was the case. This cassowary was brought alive to Amsterdam in
1597, and was presented to the Estates of Holland at the Hague.[6] A
figure of it, under the name 'eme,' appears in the fourth and fifth
German editions of the account of this voyage of the Dutch to Java, by
Hulsius, published at Frankfort in 1606 and 1625. The figure is a fairly
accurate representation of an immature cassowary.

Whence comes, let us ask, the name 'eme' and the later form, 'emu.' The
_New Historical English Dictionary_ suggests a derivation from a
Portuguese word, 'ema,' signifying a crane. But no authority is quoted
to prove that ema signifies, or ever signified, crane. On the other
hand, various Portuguese dictionaries which have been consulted render
'ema' by 'casoar,' or state that the name 'ema' is applicable to several
birds, of which the crane is not one. Pero de Magalhães de Gandavo, in
his _Historia da Provincia Sancta Cruz_, published in 1576, uses the
name 'hema' in writing of the rhea or nandu.

It is worthy of note that the Arabic name of the cassowary is 'neâma',
and that there were many Arab traders in the Malayan Archipelago at the
time when the Portuguese first navigated it. The Portuguese strangely
distorted Malay and Arabic names, and it would not be surprising if they
reproduced 'neâma' as 'uma ema.'

  [6] Salvadori, referring to _Hist. Gen. de Voy._ VIII. p. 112, states
      that the Cassowary which was brought alive to Europe by the Dutch
      in 1597 belonged first to Count Solms van Gravenhage, then to the
      Elector Ernest van Keulen, and finally to the Emperor Rudolph II.
      _Ornit. della Papuasia e delle Molucche._ III. p. 481.

[Illustration: Abris des wvnderbaren vogels Eme: The Eme]


In 1696 the Honourable Directors of the Dutch Chartered Company trading
to the Dutch East Indies decided to send an expedition for the purpose
of searching for missing vessels, especially for the _Ridderschap van
Hollandt_, of which no news had been received for two years. The local
Board of Directors of the Amsterdam Chamber of the Company was charged
to carry out this resolution, and it equipped three vessels which were
placed under the command of Willem de Vlaming. The Commander was
directed to search for missing vessels or for shipwrecked sailors at the
Tristan da Cunha Islands, the Cape of Good Hope, and the Islands of
Amsterdam and St. Paul in the Southern Ocean. Thence he was to proceed
to the '_Onbekende Zuidland_,' by which name, or by that of Eendragts
Land, Australia was designated in whole or in part in the official
dispatches of the Dutch East India Company in the seventeenth century.

On the 29th of December, 1696, the vessels under the command of De
Vlaming lay at anchor between Rottnest Island and the mainland of
Australia. The island was searched for wreckage with little result. One
piece of timber was found which, it was conjectured, might have been
deck timber, and a plank was found, three feet long and one span broad.
The nails in the wreckage were very rusty. The search for shipwrecked
sailors on the adjacent mainland was unsuccessful. On the 20th and on
the 31st of December, and on the 1st of January, 1697, De Vlaming notes
in his journal that odoriferous wood was found on the mainland. Portions
of it were subsequently submitted to the Council of the Dutch East
Indies at Batavia, and from these portions an essential oil was obtained
by distillation. It may well be supposed that this experiment was the
first in the manufacture of eucalyptus oil, which, however, in our day
is obtained not from the wood but from the leaves of the tree. On the
13th of January De Vlaming records that a dark resinous gum resembling
lac was seen exuding from trees.

In a narrative of the voyage published under the title _Journaal wegens
een Voyagie na het onbekende Zuid-land_, we read that on the 11th of
January nine or ten Black Swans were seen. In a letter from Willem van
Oudhoorn, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, to the Managers of
the East India Company at the Amsterdam Chamber, it is stated that three
black swans were brought alive to Batavia, but died soon after their

Several boat expeditions were made, and Swan River was entered and
ascended. During these expeditions the author of the _Journaal_ mentions
that the song of the 'Nachtegael' was heard. There are no nightingales
in Australia, but the bird to which the writer of the _Journaal_ alludes
may have been the Long-billed Reed Warbler, the Australian
representative of the Sedge Warbler and a denizen of the reed-beds of
the Swan River. Two species of geese are also mentioned by the same
writer under the names of European geese. It is somewhat difficult to
determine to which geese the author of the _Journaal_ alludes under the
names 'Kropgans' and 'Rotgans.'

When English-speaking Dutch are asked to translate 'kropgans,' they do
so by 'Christmas goose' or 'fat goose.' Dictionaries are silent
respecting 'kropgans,' or render it by 'pelican.' I am inclined to think
that this rendering arises from a confusion between 'kropgans' and the
German word 'kropfgans,' and that 'kropgans' was formerly applied to
domestic geese in general which were being fed for the market, and also,
as in the present instance, to the wild goose from which they were
derived, namely to the Grey Lag Goose (_Anser ferus_). If this be so,
the Australian bird with which the kropgans is compared in the
_Journaal_ may be the Cape Barren Goose (_Cereopsis novæ-hollandiæ_),
which is found sparingly in Western Australia. The 'Rotgans' is the
Brent Goose (_Branta bernicla_) and the Australian bird which most
resembles it is the Musk Duck (_Biziura lobata_), which also is found in
the west of Australia, although more sparingly there than in the south
of the island continent.

Other birds which were seen at the same part of the Australian coast
were 'Duikers,' by which name Cormorants are probably designated,
Cockatoos and Parrakeets. It is said that all the birds were shy and
flew away at the approach of human beings. No aborigines were seen,
although smoke was visible.

On the 15th of January De Vlaming quitted the anchorage near Rottnest
Island, and followed the coast until 30° 17´ S. lat. was reached. Two
boats were there sent to the shore and soundings were taken. The country
near the landing-place was sandy and treeless, and neither human beings
nor fresh water were to be seen. But footmarks resembling those of a dog
were seen, and also a bird which the _Journaal_ calls a 'Kasuaris' and
which must have been one of the Emus.[8]

On the 30th of January, 26° 8´ S. lat. was observed, which is
approximately that of False Entrance. On the 1st of February the pilot
of the _Geelvink_ left the ships in one of the _Geelvink's_ boats in
order to ascertain the position of Dirk Hartog's Anchorage, and the
captains of two of the vessels made an excursion for a distance of six
or seven miles inland. They returned to the ships on the following day,
bringing with them the head of a large bird, and they imparted the
information that they had seen two huge nests built of branches.[9]

The pilot of the _Geelvink_ returned to the ship on the 3rd of February,
and reported that he had passed through a channel--probably that which
is now known as South Passage--and had followed the coast of Dirk
Hartog's Island until he reached the northern extremity of the island.
There, upon an acclivity, a tin plate was found on the ground. Certain
words scratched upon the metal indicated that the ship _Eendragt_, of
Amsterdam, of which Dirk Hartog was master, had anchored off the island
on the 25th of October, 1616, and had departed for Bantam on the 27th
day of the same month. The pilot brought the metal plate--a flattened
tin dish--with him, and also two turtles which had been caught on the
island. The squadron anchored in Dirk Hartog's Reede on the 4th of
February, and remained there until the 12th day of that month.

The anonymous author of the _Journaal_ relates that on the 6th of
February many turtles were seen, and also a very large nest at the
corner of a rock; the nest resembled that of a stork, but was probably
that of an osprey, which places its nest on a rock--often on a rock
surrounded by water.

De Vlaming quitted the Australian coast at 21° S. lat., and proceeded to
Batavia, where he arrived on the 20th of March, 1697.

  [7] Heeres, _The Part borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of
      Australia_, p. 84.
  [8] No Cassowary is known to inhabit western Australia.
  [9] Wedge-tailed Eagles and also Ospreys build nests of sticks.


Nicholas Thomas Marion Dufresne was an officer in the French navy, and
was born at St. Malo in 1729. In 1771 he was commissioned at his own
desire to restore to the island of his birth a Tahitian who had
accompanied Bougainville to France. He was also charged to ascertain if
a continent or islands existed in the Southern Ocean whence useful
products might be exported to Mauritius or Reunion.

The middle of the eighteenth century is approximately the period in
which the collection and classification of exotic plants and animals
became one of the chief objects of exploratory voyages. This was also
one of the aims of the expedition under the command of Marion and
Commerson, a botanist who had accompanied De Bougainville, was to have
accompanied Marion also. But he was unable to go, so that no botanist
and also no zoologist made the voyage. Crozet, however, who was second
in command of the _Mascarin_, has left not a few observations relating
to the birds which he saw at sea during the voyage, or in the countries
which he visited. They are embodied in his book _Nouveau Voyage à la Mer
du Sud_.

The native of Tahiti fell sick shortly after the commencement of the
voyage, and was put ashore in Madagascar, where he died. One of the
objects of the voyage thus ceased to exist. The first undiscovered land
which was sighted after leaving Madagascar was named Terre d'Espérance,
and subsequently, by Cook, Prince Edward Island. Near it a collision
with the _Mascarin_ caused the partial disablement of the _Marquis de
Castries_; the search for a southern continent was therefore abandoned,
and it was resolved to visit the countries which had been discovered by
Tasman in the seventeenth century.

Crozet's first observation relating to sea-birds was made on the 8th of
January, 1772, about twelve days after leaving the Cape of Good Hope.
Terns were then in view, and thereafter, until the 13th of that month,
Terns and Gulls were frequently seen. Shortly after the latter date Du
Clesmeur, who was in command of the _Marquis de Castries_, sighted
another island which was named Ile de la Prise de Possession, and which
has been renamed Marion Island. Crozet landed upon it, and relates that
the sea-birds which were nesting upon it continued to sit on their eggs
or to feed their young regardless of his presence. There were amongst
the birds penguins, Cape petrels ('damiers'), and cormorants. Crozet
also mentions divers--'plongeons.' It is doubtful to what birds he
alludes under this name--a name which is usually applied to the
Colymbidæ, a family which has no representative in the seas of the
southern hemisphere.

The terns which Crozet saw were probably of the species _Sterna
vittata_, which breeds on the islands of St. Paul and Amsterdam. It also
frequents the Tristan da Cunha Group, and Gough Island and Kerguelen
Island, so that it enjoys a wide distribution in the Southern Ocean. The
gulls may have been Dominican Gulls (_Larus dominicanus_), which are to
be found at a considerable distance from any continental land. The
penguins which frequent the seas adjacent to the islands which Marion
named Ile de la Caverne, Iles Froides, and Ile Aride are _Aptenodytes
patagonica_, _Pygoscelis papua_, _Catarrhactes chrysocome_, and
_Catarrhactes chrysolophus_. The eggs of the last-named penguin have
been found on the Ile Aride, which is now known as Crozet Island, and
the whole group as the Crozet Islands. The Cape Petrel (_Daption
capensis_) nests on Tristan da Cunha and Kerguelen Island. A Cormorant
(_Phalacrocorax verrucosus_) inhabits Kerguelen Island, but its
occurrence on the Crozet Islands is doubtful. Finally, Crozet saw on the
island on which he landed a white bird, which he mistook for a white
pigeon, and argues that a country producing seeds for the nurture of
pigeons must exist in the vicinity. This bird was probably the
Sheath-bill (_Chionarchus crozettensis_) of the Crozet Islands.

The next land visited was Tasmania, where the vessels cast anchor on the
east side of the island. Like their Dutch predecessors, the French
mariners bestowed the names of European birds upon the birds which they
saw in these new lands, and it would be an idle task to seek the
equivalents of the ousels, thrushes, and turtle-doves which Crozet saw
in Tasmania. There can be no doubt, however, about his pelicans, for
_Pelecanus conspicillatus_ still nests on the east coast of the island
or on islets adjacent to the coast.

The duration of Crozet's sojourn in New Zealand was about four months in
the autumn and winter of 1772. The vessels anchored in the Bay of
Islands. Crozet has given a long enumeration of the birds which he saw
in New Zealand. We will not seek to find what his wheatears and
wagtails, starlings and larks, ousels and thrushes may have been, but we
may make an exception in favour of his black thrushes with white tufts
('grives noires à huppes blanches'). These birds were evidently Tuis
(_Prosthemadura Novæ-Zealandiæ_).

Crozet distributes the birds which he saw in New Zealand under four
heads, as birds of the forest, of the lakes, of the open country, and of
the sea-coast. In the forests were Wood Pigeons as large as fowls, and
bright blue in colour; no doubt the one pigeon of New Zealand
(_Hemiphaga Novæ-Zealandiæ_) is alluded to in this description. Two
parrots are mentioned, one of which was very large and black or dusky in
colour diversified with red and blue, and the other was a small lory,
which resembled the lories in the island of Gola.[10] It was no doubt a
_Cyanorhamphus_--a genus of which there are in New Zealand more than one
species. The large parrot may be the Kaka, although there is no blue in
the plumage of the Kaka (_Nestor meridionalis_). There is blue under the
wing of the Kea, but the Kea (_Nestor notabilis_) is not a bird of the
North, but of the South Island.

In the open country were the passerine birds, which Crozet mentions by
the names of European birds, and also a quail (_Coturnix
Novæ-Zealandiæ_) which has lately become extinct.

On the lakes were ducks and teals in abundance, and a 'poule bleue,'
similar to the 'poules bleues' of Madagascar, India, and China. The
'poule bleue' was doubtless the Swamp Hen or Purple Gallinule which,
because of its rich purple plumage and red feet, is a conspicuous object
in New Zealand landscapes. The species which inhabits New Zealand,
Tasmania, and Eastern Australia is _Porphyrio melanotus_.

[Illustration: Blue-Faced Gannet]

On the sea-coast were cormorants, curlews, and black-and-white egrets.
The curlews, which pass the summer in New Zealand and the remainder of
the year in islands of the Pacific Ocean, are of the species _Numenius
cyanopus_. They leave New Zealand in autumn, with the exception of a few
individuals which remain in favoured localities. The 'aigrettes blanches
et noires' were perhaps reef herons; the black bird of the form of an
oyster-catcher, and possessing a red bill and red feet, was doubtless
the Sooty Oyster-catcher (_Hæmatopus unicolor_), which in Tasmania is
known as the Redbill. Terns and gannets were amongst the birds of the
coastal waters. Of New Zealand terns, _Sterna frontalis_ and _S. nereis_
are the species which are seen most frequently. The 'goelette blanche'
may have been _Gygis candida_. The gannets may have been 'manches de
velours'--the name by which French mariners knew the Masked Gannet
(_Sula cyanops_). The body of this gannet is white; the wings are rich
chocolate brown. It is a bird of the tropical and sub-tropical seas of
the world and its appearance in New Zealand waters is infrequent.

From New Zealand the two vessels, now under the command of Duclesmeur,
sailed for Guam and thence to the Philippine Islands, but as Crozet's
observations on the birds which he saw after he quitted New Zealand are
of little importance, we will follow him no further.

  [10] I am unable to identify the lories of Gola Island.

  _London: Printed by Strangeways & Sons,
   Tower Street Cambridge Circus, W.C._

  |                                                                  |
  | Transcriber's Notes:                                              |
  |                                                                  |
  | In the fourth essay, the reference to _Purchas bis Pilgrimage_   |
  | has been corrected to _Purchas his Pilgrimage_.                  |
  |                                                                  |
  | Inconsistent hyphenation (Zuidland/Zuid-land) has been retained. |
  |                                                                  |

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