Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/193

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

which set limits to human exertion, and defied perseverance to penetrate any distance. Here my mind was satisfied on the formation of this body of ice, it being apparent that those immense rugged spaces which we observed, had received their inequality of surface by the hard pressure of immense pieces coming in contact, and uniting by the strong congealing power, during the long arctic winter, in which there is no sun to abate its rigour.

This ice is said to be similar in nature and character to that which extends to the North Pole, and which hitherto has prevented any successful expedition to that interesting part of the world. Having requested a boat for an exploring and a shooting expedition, I observed near the verge of the ice, the track of some animal, and on examination, found it resembled that of a small dog; the impression was quite round, and the footsteps followed each other in a direct line; it probably was an arctic fox, Canis Lagopus, (Linn.) In the course of the day, several kittywakes at a great distance were heard to make an uncommon screaming, which, on coming nearer to them, I found to proceed from the appearance of some Larus Parasiticus, (Linn.,) or arctic Gulls: these gulls feed on fish that have been caught by other birds, whom they persecute until they oblige them to drop their prey, and then with astonishing dexterity they catch it before it reaches the water: these birds live by plunder, and display a great deal of cunning in watching the flight of ducks, and other aquatic