Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/213

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

effort, availing ourselves of every advantage, yet meeting with continual difficulties, opposed to perpetual obstacles, almost in hourly expectation of being beset by the ice, and still within the grasp and dread of floes. In a direct line we had forced our way for miles through these massive floating bodies, and yet were not clear of them, a circumstance not only rare, but never before heard of; and, what is still more unusual, we had passed through the favourite haunts of whales, and often with the advantage of the best water, and yet not one had been seen. The further we approached towards the south in making our easting, the more plainly did the ice exhibit the powerful effect of the sun's irresistible beams, by its being greatly reduced in quantity, and by the snow upon its surface lying in a state of dissolution. I also observed several huge pieces separate by the summer warmth, and tumble headlong into the deep. While we were on a shooting expedition, it rained for the first time since we entered the arctic circle.

In the course of our progress this day, I observed a Larus Crepidatus, (black-toed gull, or Dung Bird,) stoop at a large flock of kittywakes, which were seated on the water. The habits of this bird, are similar to those of the Larus Parasiticus, by its attacking the kittywakes, evidently to induce them to get on wing, no doubt, in order to pursue them, until they give up the food which they had been collecting: from this system of plunder the Larus Crepidatus, as well as the Parasiticus, has acquired