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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/441

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THE NORWEGIAN POLAR EXPEDITION.

tic Ocean, whether as regular migrants or stragglers, after excluding the twelve species which were ohserved near the Asiatic coast. The presence on the shores of the Siberian Sea of some of these twelve, however, is of ornithological interest. There may be specially mentioned the gray goose (Anser segetum), long-tailed duck (Harelda glacialis), silver gull (Larus argentatus), snowy owl (Nyctea scandiaca), gray plover (Squatarola helvetica) and the red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus hyperboreaus).

Confining ourselves to birds observed to the north of 81° 30, attention is called to the abundant avifauna of the western as compared with the eastern hemisphere. In Kennedy Channel, Grinnell Land, there have been recorded no less than thirty-two species against twenty-one noted by the Fram in this voyage, including those seen in Franz Josef Land. This is not surprising, however, when it is considered that the drift of the Fram was across a deep ocean of large extent, which is covered perpetually by an unbroken ice-pack, unrelieved by any view of land until the north coast of Spitzbergen was seen.

Omitting the birds observed in Franz Josef Land, the paucity of species frequenting the great western Arctic Ocean is even more apparent. The striking dissimilarity of the four regions traversed by the Fram is plainly evident from the bird-life recorded. "While there were observed nine species in the Siberian Sea, fifteen in the Franz Josef Archipelago, eighteen in the Arctic Ocean and twenty-three on the Asiatic coast, yet only five were common to all four regions, viz.: the dovekie, the glaucous gull, the ivory gull, the kittiwake and the snow-bird.

The Siberian Sea presented a most limited avifauna, as in addition to the five common species, there were recorded in the first summer in the ice only the little auk, the fulmar, the roseate gull and a small skua. The entire absence of land or shore birds that frequent Arctic islands, omitting a single straggling snow-bird, indicates clearly that the Siberian Sea extends far northward unbroken by any land area.

The eighteen species of birds that were found in the Arctic Ocean, far to the north, naturally demand special comment. The six following species are doubtless stragglers: the ringed plover (Aegialitis hiaticula), 82° 59' K., the most northerly shore-bird of Spitzbergen, Nordenskiold having observed it on Seven islands, 80° 45' N.; the eider duck (Somateria mollissima), 82° 55' N., near Spitzbergen; the arctic tern (Sterna macrura), 84° 32' N.; the puffin (Fratercula arctica glacialis), 83° 11' N., near Spitzbergen; the black-backed gull ((Larus marinus), 84° 35' N. 75° E., and the Sabine gull (Xema Sabini), 83° N., near Spitzbergen.

Of other species, the roseate gull (Rhodostethia rosea), 84° 41' N., disappeared as the Fram drifted west from the longitude of Franz