Sula bassana

A faint air filled the sails but on the windward roll the booms swung inward, then reversed until checked by the sheets. The ghost of bygone summer was wandering over the October sea.

A long furrow showed off to starboard and a few scattered Gannets converged. Others swung from all directions and in a few moments the calm water was a churning turmoil of foam. New arrivals charged into the mélée on set pinions until the ocean looked as though a man-o-war was shooting white projectiles into the school of herring. Successful birds rose to the surface and swallowed their victims. I saw two collisions between surface and air hunters but how the hurtling divers avoided more accidents is a mystery.

The battle was soon over—the frightened fish seeking safety in sounding. Within a quarter of an hour the outlook was serene and the small world of our schooner once more alone on that wide plain.


North Atlantic from Newfoundland south to the tropics.

Birds and Trees of North America
Volume 2
, Plate
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