John Muir


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I also noticed several scored or polished patches on the hardest of the exposed rock-bosses. This island, standing as it does out in the midst of the Polar Sea, is a fine monument of the grand ice-sheet that swept southward, doubtless from highlands to the North not yet discovered. Innumerable gulls and murres breed in the cliffs, the latter most abundant and keep up a constant din of domestic notes. Some have, some young. They are black, entirely so queer having handfuls. Seems astonishing that the eggs or young can be kept on the narrow shelves on the cliffs they choose. The nurseries formed a lively picture, the parents coming and going with food or to seek it – feeding the little ones expectantly watching the arrival of the parent, thousands in rows standing on ledges like bottles on a grocer’s shelf. One was seen carrying a fish. The water here is swarming with minute crustaceans, “whale-feed.” The surface of the island is tolerably level, dipping a little to the S.E. The cliff flower plants

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 11.5 x 21 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist