British Sea Birds by Charles Dixon.txt

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  The Project Gutenberg EBook of British Sea Birds, by Charles DixonThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictionswhatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: British Sea BirdsAuthor: Charles DixonIllustrator: Charles WhymperRelease Date: October 14, 2014 [EBook #47115]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ASCII*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BRITISH SEA BIRDS ***Produced by Stephen Hutcheson, Shaun Pinder and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team at (Thisfile was produced from images generously made availableby The Internet Archive) British Sea Birds _By_  CHARLES DIXON AUTHOR OF  THE GAME BIRDS AND WILD FOWL OF THE BRITISH ISLANDS ;  THE NESTS AND EGGS OF BRITISH BIRDS ;  ANNALS OF BIRD-LIFE ;  THE MIGRATION OF BRITISH BIRDS ; ETC. ETC. _WITH EIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS_  BY CHARLES WHYMPER[Illustration: ] _LONDON_  BLISS, SANDS AND FOSTER   1896 _DEDICATION_  TO _John William Pease, D.C.L._  [Pendower, Newcastle-upon-Tyne] AS A SMALL BUT CORDIAL TOKEN OF ESTEEM _This Volume is Inscribed_  BY THE AUTHOR. CONTENTS CHAPTER I. _GULLS AND TERNS._  The Gull Family--Changes of Plumage--Characteristics--Great Black-backed Gull--Lesser Black-backed Gull--Herring Gull--Common Gull--Kittiwake--Black-headed Gull--Skuas--Great Skua--Richardson's Skua--Terns--Sandwich Tern--Common Tern--Arctic Tern--Roseate Tern--Lesser Tern--Black Tern _Pages_  13-60 CHAPTER II. _PLOVERS AND SANDPIPERS._  Characteristics and Affinities--Changes of Plumage--Structural Characters--Oyster-catcher--Ringed Plover--Kentish Plover--Golden Plover--Gray Plover--Lapwing--Turnstone--Phalaropes--Gray Phalarope--Red-necked Phalarope--Curlew--Whimbrel--Godwits-- Black-tailed Godwit--Bar-tailed Godwit--Redshank--Sanderling-- Knot--Curlew Sandpiper--Dunlin--Purple Sandpiper--Other species 61-121 CHAPTER III. _GUILLEMOTS, RAZORBILL, AND PUFFIN._  Affinities and Characteristics--Changes of Plumage--Guillemot-- Brunnich's Guillemot--Black Guillemot--Razorbill--Little Auk-- Puffin 123-150 CHAPTER IV. _DIVERS, GREBES, AND CORMORANTS._  Divers--Affinities and Characteristics--Great Northern Diver-- Black-throated Diver--Red-throated Diver--Grebes-- Characteristics--Changes of Plumage--Great Crested Grebe--   Red-necked Grebe--Black-necked Grebe--Sclavonian Grebe-- Little Grebe--Cormorants--Characteristics--Changes of Plumage--Cormorant--Shag--Gannet 151-184 CHAPTER V. _DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS._  Ducks--Characteristics--Non-diving Ducks--Characteristics of--Changes of Plumage--Sheldrake--Wigeon--Pintail Duck--Various other Species--Diving Ducks--Characteristics--Changes of Plumage--Eider Duck--King Eider--Common Scoter--Velvet Scoter--Scaup Duck--Tufted Duck--Pochard--Golden-eye--Long-tailed Duck--Mergansers-- Characteristics and changes of Plumage--Red-breasted Merganser-- Goosander--Smew--Geese--Characteristics--Gray Lag Goose-- White-fronted Goose--Bean Goose--Brent Goose--Bernacle Goose--Swans--Characteristics--Changes of Plumage--Hooper Swan--Bewick's Swan 185-240 CHAPTER VI. _PETRELS._  Petrels--Characteristics--Changes of Plumage--Fulmar Petrel-- Fork-tailed Petrel--Stormy Petrel--Manx Shearwater 241-258 CHAPTER VII. _LITTORAL LAND BIRDS._  Littoral Land Birds--White-tailed Eagle--Peregrine Falcon-- Raven--Jackdaw--Hooded Crow--Chough--Rock Pipit--Martins--Rock Dove--Stock Dove--Heron--Various other Species 259-278 CHAPTER VIII. _MIGRATION ON THE COAST._  The Best Coasts for Observing Migration--Migration of Species in Present Volume--Order of Appearance of Migratory Birds--In Spring--In Autumn--Spring Migration of Birds on the Coast--The Earliest Species to Migrate--Departure of Winter Visitors-- Coasting Migrants--Arrival of Summer Visitors--Duration of Spring Migration--Autumn Migration of Birds on the Coast--The Earliest Arrivals--Departure of our Summer Birds--Arrival of Shore Birds--Direction of Flight--Change in this Direction to East--The Vast Rushes of Birds across the German Ocean--The Perils of Migration--Birds at Lighthouses and Light Vessels--Netting Birds--Rare Birds 279-295 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Black-backed Gull and Common Tern _Faces page_ 15 Ruffs--_Sparring_ 63 Guillemot and Razorbill 125 Great Northern Diver 153 Tufted Duck 187 The Stormy Petrel 243   The Chough 261 Migration Time (_on the Friskney foreshore_) 281 _Gulls and Terns_ [Illustration: BLACK-BACKED GULL AND COMMON TERN. Chapter i.] CHAPTER I. GULLS AND TERNS. _The Gull Family--Changes of Plumage--Characteristics--Great Black-backed Gull--Lesser Black-backed Gull--Herring Gull--Common Gull--Kittiwake--Black-headed Gull--Skuas--Great Skua--Richardson's Skua--Terns--Sandwich Tern--Common Tern--Arctic Tern--Roseate Tern--Lesser Tern--Black Tern._ Amongst the many natural objects that confront the visitor to the sea,there are none more readily detected than birds. The wide waters of theocean and its varied coast-line of cliff or sand, shingle or mud-flat,are the haunts of many birds of specialised type. Many of these birdsare only found on or near the sea; they are as inseparably associatedwith it as the beautiful shells and seaweeds and anemones themselves.Some of these birds are common and widely distributed; others are scarceor local in their habitat; some frequent the shore, others the water;whilst many are equally at home on both. Again, many of them aremigratory, or of wandering habits; some but summer visitors, otherswinter refugees. It matters little, however, what the season may be, formany interesting birds are sure to be met with by the sea; the widewaters and wet tide-swept shores are a perennial feeding place, and asafe and congenial refuge.Of all the birds that haunt the sea and the shore, those of the Gullfamily are the best known. From whichever direction the sea is reached,almost invariably the first indication of its vicinity is a Gull,sailing along, it may be, in easy, careless flight, or wheeling andgliding high in air above the waste of restless waters. The Gull and itskindred then are inseparably associated in the minds of most people withthe sea, and with them, therefore, it certainly seems most appropriateto commence our study of marine bird-life.The Gull family is divided by many systematists into three fairlywell-defined groups or sub-families, viz., the typical Gulls or Larinae,the Skuas or Stercorariinae, and the Terns or Sterninae. The Skuas,however, are included with the typical Gulls by many naturalists, aproceeding for which much may be said, thus reducing the threesub-families to two. In their distribution the Gulls and Terns mayalmost be regarded as cosmopolitan, but the Skuas are chiefly boreal intheir dispersal, four of the half dozen known species breeding in theArctic Regions, and two others dwelling in the higher latitudes of theSouthern Hemisphere. Some of the species are very widely distributed;the dispersal of others is just as remarkably restricted. For instance,the Glaucous Gull has a circumpolar habitat, and the Black-headed Gull
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