Page:Condor12(5).djvu/30

This page needs to be proofread.


172 THE CONDOR VoL. XII After looking over some of the breeding colonies Owen and myself returned to camp leaving Howard on Prince Island with his blankets and expecting to return for him in the morning. In the morning, however, the northwester was howling again and we were unable to reach him for two days and then only with the aid of some Japanese abalone fishermen and their launch. Howard's story of how he subsisted for two days on mussels and gull's eggs, washt down with cactus juice, and how the Anklets persisted in getting in bed with him, is too harrowing to be told by an outside party, and I shall leave it for him to narrate in later colums of THE Co?r)o?. We remained on San Miguel 14 days, being unable to leave as soon as we had planned on account of rough weather. During this time we were rarely able to use our skiff and most of our time was spent on the main island. Here there were no sea-birds breeding excepting the Baird Cormorant and Pigeon Guillemot whose nests were placed in locations inaccessible to the foxes wh?ich were numerous. To the numbers of the foxes we attributed the absence of other breeding sea-birds which were so abundant on outlying rocks and islets. The island of San Miguel is about 8 miles long by three or four miles wide and is mostly composed of rocks and sand hills, altho there is considerable grass on the more elevated portions. This, however, is being gradually covered up by sand .which is drifting slowly but surely across the island, carried by the prevailing northwesterly winds. There are several varieties of shrubs on San Miguel but no trees worthy of the name. The most common shrub is the loco 'weed which is the favorit resort of the Song Sparrows. The commonest land birds on -the island are the Island Horned Lark (Otocoris a. insular/s), the Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus), the San Clemente Song Sparrow ( Melospiza m. clementae) and the San Clemente House Finch (Carpodacas m. clement/s). The Horned Larks had evidently raised one brood of young and were beginning to nest a second time. The same was probably true of the Song Sparrows, as full-grown young were noted, and other birds taken were evidently about to breed. Bald Eagles, Duck' Hawks and Ravens were common but no Ospreys were seen. We saw the wings of a female Sparrow Hawk that Mr. Ward had shot, and he informed us that 'there were a few Burrowing Owls on the island, altho we observed none. He also told us that there had been three Brewer Blackbirds around his honse and barn-yard during the preceding spring. The following are the water-birds observed during our stay: Tufted Puffin (Lttnda c/rrhala). Breeding commonly on Prince Island. On June 15, most of the nests contained young or eggs advanced in incubation. Cassin Anklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus.) On Prince Island, wherever there was soil enough to burrow in, the anklets were nesting, and some nests were found in niches in the rocks. I also found a few nests on a small island off the west end. On June 15 most of the nests contained young of various ages; but a few fresh eggs were found. Pigeon Guillemot (Uepphus cointuba). Breeding commonly in caves and niches in cliffs all around the islands. Many nests were found containing young of various ages, and fresh eggs were secured as late as June 23. California Murre ( Uria t. cal,)Corn/ca). About 100 pairs of these birds were breeding on Prince Island. On June 15, most of the eggs were advanced in incu- bation and a few newly hatcht young were.noted. In most cases the eggs were deposited on the floors of damp caves, and in some instances had been rolled in the mud until the color of the shell was entirely hidden. This Murre colony was previously visited by J. S. Appleton in 1906. He took fresh and slightly-incubated