DIRECTOR   Murphy Hughes


This Guillemote diners in its history from the rest; they all go off from us in the winter season, leaving our rocks bare and barren, but this keeps constantly with us for the whole year, continually to be found in our sounds, fishing all weathers. The length of this species is fifteen inches and a half, breadth twenty-two, weight ounces; the bill is slender, but strong and sharp, the colour black ; the whole inside of the mouth of a deep orange-red; the whole plumage is black, except the speculum of the wing and the inner coverts, with a very small spot under each eye, which are all white. In this, as well as all the water-fowl, the feathers are very thick and close, always damp with the quantity of oil which the bird takes care to anoint them with, to keep off the cold and water. This gives the feathers a very rank smell, and makes them unfit for the purposes of bedding, for which they would ■ — allowing themselves to come so near the boats, as to be knocked down with an oar or boat-hook. They continue in Orkney throughout the winter. * Avis parva prapinguis in Orcadibus Tyst dicta.—-Fide Sib. Scot. 22. O otherwise be excellent; but these are invincible obstacles to their being used to these purposes, as no method has yet been hit upon to clear them from the smell and dampness. The taiste build in holes of the earth ; like the rest lays but one egg. These birds are found in the winter-time almost wholly gray, and others spotted about the head, neck, and back, with that colour; but whether they change colour in winter, and put on this as the dress of the season, or if it is the last year's brood not yet arrived at their proper colours, I am uncertain ; one thing I am certain of, that I have seen them of both colours late in the winter, and early in the spring, so that, in my opinion, the change is not universal, or perhaps it is but in the hardest winters where this happens in general *. Before I dismiss this genus, I must take notice of one particular which I have often observed, and no doubt has been so by others before now, and this is, that all these birds make use of their wings below water in the same manner as a swimmer uses his arms, the strokes of which answer to those of his legs ; just so the auk, the puffin, the guillemotes, and no doubt the divers use their wings, the strokes of which exactly correspond with those of their feet, and by this means make vast way in the water, and no doubt are of great service to them in their ascent from the bottom, as these are not furnished with an apparatus for this purpose like the fishes; but however this is, the above may be easily observed by any one upon throwing a stone over the rock where they haunt, when he will see those that dive striking alternately with wings and legs, till the depth of water hides them from his sight.