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many whales at close quarters, particularly a small species known as the “blacktish,” which often played around the vessel all day, sometimes not ten feet from her hull. I observed that while no water, or only a very minute quantity, was ejected when the “blow-hole” was out of water, still the air ejected had an appearance like one's breath on a cold day, somewhat like vapor. Sometimes when very close I fancied I perceived a disagreeable odor. On mentioning this to the captain, an old whaler, he informed me that the vapor ejected by the sperm whale was so fetid as to nauseate any one immediately who was unused to it; that he had been so affected himself when he first went a whaling, and also that the mucus sometimes thrown out when -blowing,” is commonly believed by whalers to raise a blister, if it comes in contact with the skin. Cannot some of our New Bedford friends add to our information on these subjects? - W. H. Dall.
While on a voyage to Labrador in 1864, we had good opportunities of observing the spouting of whales, the stream of vapor issuing from the blow-hole, and immediately disappearing. As we stated in the “Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History,” for 1866, the three genera of whales we observed, i. e., the Sperm, Finner and Hump-back, “can be easily distinguished by the differences in the stream of vapor spouted out when the animal comes to the surface to breathe. Thus, according to my informant, Capt. I. Handy, an experienced whale fisherman, and a very accurate observer, the óspout' of the sperm whale issues in a single short stream of vapor from the extreme end of the nose, and curls over in front of the head., The spout of the Fin-back forms a single column of vapor about ten feet high. The Right and Hump-back, and Sulphur-bottom, all ·blow' in a double stream, which is directed backwards, towards the tail." - A. S. P.
THE MOTTLED OWL AGAIN. - I noticed in the September number (vol. ii) of the NATURALIST a communication from Dr. Wood, concerning the Mottled Owl, in which he rather leans to the opinion that the Red and Gray Owls are different birds, and in the August number a note from Mr. Allen, who evidently considers them one and the same bird, subject, however, to variations of plumage. The latter conclusion is, I am convinced, the true one, but as the matter does not seem to be quite cleared up, I would like to send you a few observations of my own that may serve to throw some light on the subject.
On the 30th of May last I found a nest of the Mottled Owl, in an apple tree, at Concord, Mass., containing four young birds (apparently about two weeks old) and their mother. Although but few feathers had begun to appear on the young their coloring was nevertheless very apparent; two were red, the remaining two gray; the mother was red. Selecting a red and gray owl from the young brood I replaced the others in the nest, and started for home with my prize. For the next two or three weeks they grew apace, feeding greedily upon meat of all kinds, giving, however, a decided preference for small birds, which they soon learned to tear up for themselves. While I was absent in August, the person to whose care they were entrusted, becoming tired of her charge, turned them out of the cage in which they had thus far been kept. At first they seemed to exult in their new-found freedom, keeping away from the house, and during the greater part of the night answering one another from the trees in the garden, but after a trial of several days, finding themselves unable to procure food, they came back and ventured by degrees into the kitchen, where they were well received and fed, and after that they regularly returned with the twilight, entering through an open window or door, and after flying noiselessly about the room, settling on the edge of a table, or the back of a chair. Early in September they moulted, and in their second plumage still retained their distinguishing colors. They remained with us till the latter part of October, when they both suddenly disappeared. – WILLIAM BREWSTER, Cambridge, Mass.
PROCEEDINGS OF SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES.
THE SALEM MEETING OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION. - It is a sudden transition from the lake and prairie scenery about the great city of Chicago, where the Association held its meetings last year, to the small and quiet City of Peace, resting between the rock-bound coasts of Nahant and Cape Ann, with its picturesque environs and pleasant beaches at Beverly, Swampscot and Nahant. From present appearances the meeting will be largely attended, and the sessions prove at least of the usual interest. As various short excursions about Essex County are projected we give a brief sketch of the physical features of the vicinity of Salem. The soil is underlaid by gneiss rocks, with trap and granite overflows, forming picturesque hills and knolls, of which the highest in the immediate vicinity of Salem is Legg's Hill, about a mile south of the city, from which a good view of the harbors of Salem and Boston, and the Cape Ann shore can be obtained. The trap eruptions prevail through Swampscot, Marblehead and about Salem, rising abruptly into irregular knolls and bosses, with salt marshes or upland clays and gravels stretching away from their base. Along the shore, often very precipitous and broken by caves and fissures, are seen fine exposures of trap dykes and intrusive masses of sienite, indicating in some cases several successive eruptions; the sienites thus injected being often changed into a peculiar greenish or reddish jasper, many pebbles of which are found in the pudding-stone about Roxbury. The age of these rocks is not yet definitely known, and the question of their age and that of the igneous rocks accompanying them, and their relation to the beds of conglomerate about Boston, and the Lower Silurian rocks at Braintree, renders the geology of Essex and Sussex County a most difficult, though extremely interesting study, and one as yet but hardly touched upon by geologists. Going from Lower Silurian rocks to the clays and gravels of the Quaternary Period, which immediately overlie them, we find these beds resting upon gneiss rocks polished and scratched, often with great distinctness, as upon a hill in North Salem at Dr. W. Mack's summer residence; in Boston Street in Salem; a mile from Salem towards Lynn, on the top of a hill; the scratches all running in a general north-west and south-east direction. Among the many gigantic boulders transported on the backs of the continental glaciers of the early glacial epoch is the famous ship-rock in Danvers. The brickyard clays, which graduate into the earthy clays composing most of the arable lands of the County of Essex, and in which fossils have only been found at Chelsea and Glouces. ter, are overlaid by thick beds of gravel and sand, which have been rearranged into terraces along the rivers, and on the seaboard into raised sea beaches, which can be readily distinguished on the line of the Eastern Railroad, especially in Chelsea and Somerville. At Andover, among the hillocks of sand forming the “moraine terrace” of Professor Hitchcock, which border the Merrimac, is the celebrated "horse-back," called “Indian Ridge,”-that puzzle in Quaternary geology. The student of ethnology and anthropology can investigate the Indian shell-heaps, or Kjøkkenmæddings found along the whole coast, containing pieces of pottery, arrowheads, and bones of various animals, especially at Ipswich and on Plum Island, and many other points, specimens of which are on exhibition in the Museum of the Peabody Academy of Science. The inland zoologist will eagerly explore the rocks and tidal pools and beaches, for the living representatives of animals he has before known only by the remains in palæozoic rocks; and the botanist will find in the sea-weeds thrown up on the beaches, and in the diatoms of the brackish waters, and the meeting of Northern and Southern plants in the woods and skirting the coast, much of interest.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. W.C. G., Poughkeepsie, N. Y.- We have often noticed these erosions in the crust of the lichen, Gyrostomum urriolatum Tuckerman, and think that they are made by the raspmg tongue of some Helix or Limax, if not by the larvæ of the Microlepidop. tera. The whitish substance removed revealing the reddish bark beneath, is the thallus of the lichen, and the open papillæ are the apothecia.-J.L. R.
W. C.F., Sandwich, Mass.--The larvæ you send (May 17) are those of an apparently undescribed species of Grapholitha, a Tortricid, or lear-rolling moth. We had noticed them May 15th, on the apple, and a day later perforating the half-expanded leaf and flower buds of the apple, pear and cherry, on which they were very abundant, and when the leaves were partially expanded they had folded the leaf. Other larvæ are half-grown. It appears on the trees just as the canker-worm is hatched out, as we observed them between the 10th and 15th of May this season. On June ]st they were abundant and doing considerable harm, and about pupating. They remain about two weeks in the cocoon before assuming the chrysalis state and are now (July 1st Nying about the garden and entering our windows, attracted by the light. This is a very injurious insect and new to our gardeners, and has done considerable damage in the vicinity of Salem.
BOOKS RECEIVED. Journal of Fish-rearing and Aquiculture. Edited by Dr. A. J. Malmgren. Vol. i, No. 1. May. 1899. Helsingfors, 1869. 8vo, pp. 96.
The Field. February 27, March 20, April 3, May 1. London.
Vol. III.- SEPTEMBER, 1869.–No. 7.
SEA-SIDE HOMES: AND WHAT LIVED IN THEM.
BY DR. ELLIOTT COUES, U. S. A.
Mile after mile of sloping sea-beach occupies the front of a low island on the Carolina coast, and contends, along a foamy line, against waves that ceaselessly advance, to be continually repulsed; a sea-front flanked with sand-works blown by the wind into tumuli over the trenches, where lie buried countless shells that will only come to light again as fossils, when the books of to-day, and those who wrote them, have become indistinguishable dust; beyond which there is a vast bed of oozy mire hidden by the rank growth of reeds that rustle and surge with every breath of wind. Among the sand-mounds, defended by these buttresses alike from the open violence of the sea and the insidious approach of the marsh, are sequestered spots, bestrewn with shells, carpeted with slender grasses whose nodding spears trace curious circles in the sand about their roots, with here and there a half-buried vertebra of a stranded whale, or the rib of some ill-fated vessel, telling a tale of disaster by sea,-spots so secluded that the measured cadence of the wave-beats, confused by this and that avenue of approach, only enters with an inarticulate murmur. Here is the chosen home of
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by the PEABODY ACADEMY OF SCIENCE, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. AMER. NATURALIST, VOL. III. 43
two beautiful birds that come and
the summer months together; a peaceful home, secure, it would seem, from danger of whatever sort; a house that falls not when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, though it is built upon the sand. Alas! that even were it founded upon a rock, the gates of ornithology should prevail against it.
It is late in May—the last week of a month that is not, in this warm climate, "a pious fraud of the almanac,” as it is in New England—and the birds are busy now. Six weeks ago they came from their winter retreat in the far South, to this well-remembered spot. The Least Terns came dashing along high in the air overhead, their pearly white forms wavering between the blue water and the bluer sky, ruling both and uncertain which to choose; and saw, with cries of exultation, the end of their long journey. As swiftly, yet more secretly, the Wilson's Plovers flitted along the shore, half concealed by colors that repeat the hue of the sand, from one headland to another, across gulf and river's mouth in succession, till they too greet their homes with joyous notes. Separated for a long interval, or at most little heeding each other, the Terns and the Plovers are to come together again, and rear their young under the shadow of each other's wing. While they are flashing through the clear air, or skimming lightly over the mirrored beach, and occupied, after mutual recognition, each in their own way with the preliminaries of the great event of their lives, let us see what manner of birds they are. Then, when we come to look in upon their homes we shall not be visiting strangers.
The Least Tern is, as its name implies, the smallest bird of its kind in our country; but it has several near relatives in other parts of the world; cousins so nearly alike that they have often been mistaken for each other. They form a race, or "subgenus," as the naturalists call it, that is distinguished from other Terns by diminutive size and dainty form, even among a class of birds all of which have ex