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113. A. acuta, Lin, The Pintail Duck is also common during the winter months. [“ Seik-doom” of Cabul.]
114. 4. penelope, Lin. The Widgeon. A winter visitant at Candahar, as indeed are all these Ducks, disappearing gradually to the end of April.
115. A. crecca, Lin. The Teal is very common. [“ Chooraka" or “ Jooruka” of Cabul.]
116. [A. querquerdula, L. The Gargany. “Seeteh-doom” of Cabul, where procured with all the other Ducks mentioned, by Sir A. Burnes.]
117. [A. stepera, Lin. The Gadwall. “Syah-doom” of Cabul.]
118. Spatula clypeata, (Lin.) The Shoveller. Very common during the winter months. [The male is thrice figured by Sir A. Burnes, as the “ Kachack-nol” and also the “ Aleeput,” of Cabul.]
119. [Fuligula rufina, (Pallas). Red-crested Pochard. “Noolgool" of Cabul.]
120. (F. ferina, (L.) Dun Pochard. Male and female figured by Sir A. Burnes as the “Soorksir,” and both sexes also as the “Gho. tye,” of Cabul, which latter name is likewise applied to the Smew.]
121. [F. nyroca, (Guldenstadt.) White-eyed Pochard. Common during the winter.
F. cristata, (L.) Common. [“Sonah,” and “Uhluk” (?), of Cabul.]
123. Clangula (glaucion, (L.) The Golden-eye. Common in winter.
124. [Mergellus) albellus, (L.) I saw only one specimen at Candahar, but heard that it was common in winter near Ghuzni. [“Ghotye,” and “Chota Khoruk,” of Cabul ; from which may be inferred that the large Mergansers are probably termed “Khoruk.”
125. (Larus fuscus, L. : L. flavipes, Meyer. The adult and young are figured by Burnes from Cabul.]
126. Xema ridibundus, (L.) Shot at Candahar, flying over a jheel south of the town.
[Two figures occur among the Burnes drawings' of a species of Xema Gull (apparently), labelled “Bad-khor,” said to be “shot at Cabul in the middle of February : a bird of passage.” They are, however, so unscientifically drawn, that I can hardly venture upon a description of them. The length is mentioned to have been 17in., and alar expanse 3ft. Adult, white, with an ashy mantle, and deep roseate
tinge on the breast ; no dark spot behind the ear-roverts (as in the Sema group in winter colouring) : the primaries are represented as black, with white terminal margins : bill and feet deep rose-red ; and irides crimson, -the bill evidently represented much too slender. Young generally similar, but less pure in its colours ; and the middle of the wing longitudinally, brownish, with pale edgings to the feathers; tail, also, of the young bird, dark at the end.]
127. Podiceps (philippensis and Colymbus minor, Gmelin). This bird is common in the marshes and water pools south of Candahar, during the winter.
128. Pelicanus onocrotalus, Lin. The Pelican. Length of a specimen in my possession, 5ft. 0jin.; breadth 8ft. 1lin. Bill ift. 2in. long, and 2 in. in breadth : tibia 4 in., feathered to within 1 in. of the tibial joint ; length of middle toe 5 in.* Iris brown-red or dark blood-colour. Skin of the face pale flesh-colour. Longitudinal centre or ridge of upper mandible, dull blue; the tip or nail, hooked, and of a blood-colour; margins red and yellowish : sides of under mandible dull blue. Pouch dull yellow ; legs and feet flesh-coloured or pinkish. Plumage white, with a strong pink or roseate tinge on the head and neck; fore-part of breast dirty white : quills cinereous-black; head subcrested.
These birds arrive in the beginning of March, in large flocks on their
way to the eastward. The specimen from which the above description was taken, was shot in a pool of water at Candahar ; it was alone, and from its emaciated state appeared to have alighted from fatigue. The Afghans, who are great lovers of the marvellous, declare that en a flock of these birds alight on a piece of water they entrust their safety during the night to a few sentries, who hover near them on the wing, wheeling around the water and keeping watch until near the dawn, when being overcome by fatigue they descend and join their sleeping companions, and from the irksomeness of their long watch are soon wrapped in a profound sleep. This is the time when the wary fowlers approach with their nets, and bearing long sticks; they then attack the panic-stricken sleepers and succeed in knocking numbers on the head before they are well aware of the danger which besets them.
* Both the Indian Pelicans, P. onocratalns and P. philippensis, which are equally common in Lower Bengal, are subject to much variation of size.— E. B.
Several were brought in to Candahar, which had been found sitting on the rocks far from any water, and from their offering no resistance to their captors, they had evidently alighted from fatigue, and would probably have perished in a few hours. When approached, if unable to escape, they open wide the beak and strike at the intruder, making a loud snapping noise as they strike the mandibles together. I had two of these birds alive in a small tank, and have often seen them catch and swallow whole a fish of seven and eight inches in length. It is first caught within the pouch, and then thrown up into the air and caught again so as to bring the head foremost into the pouch and thus swallowed; the fins of the fish in this case are prevented from offering any impediment to its passage down the throat. They often dip the beak into the water as they sail along, and suffer the pouch to become filled with water; they then close it, and press the pouch against the breast, by which means the water is gradually expelled at the edges of the closed mandibles, and the water insects, small fish or other prey, are retained and swallowed.
It is not to be supposed that these are nearly all the birds of the Southern parts of Afghanistan; but my arduous duties in the Pay and Commissariat Department of Shah Soojah's force prevented my doing more than is above recorded, and you must overlook many omissions as well as scantiness of information, when I assure you that I was generally at the desk from sun-rise to sun-set !
A Description of the Glaciers of the Pindur and Kuphinee Rivers in the Kumaon Himálaya.-By Lieut. R. STRACHEY, Bengal Engineers.
The existence of Glaciers* in the Himalayas, being apparently still considered a matter of doubt by the Natural Philosophers of Europe, I have thought that some account of two most decided Glaciers, which I have just visited (May 1847) in these mountains, in about Lat. 30° 20', may not be uninteresting.
* For the benefit of those persons, who now read of a Glacier for the first time, I have in an appendix given a short account of their chief peculiarities, which I should recommend them to look at first.
As there is probably nothing specially worthy of note in these individual Glaciers, I wish to explain, that my object being to show that these phenomena exist in the Himalaya, under forms apparently identical with those observed in the Alps, it has been necessary that I should enter into details, which under other circumstances would have been superfluous. As these are the first Glaciers that I have ever seen, it is right to add, that I am only acquainted with those of the Alps, through the medium of Professor Forbes's accounts, and that as I lay no claim to originality, I have not scrupled to adopt freely the ideas, and perhaps expressions, of a person so infinitely better acquainted with these phenomena than I can be. To guard against mistakes I would also mention, that these Glaciers were selected for examination only on account of their accessibility, and that consequently no inferences should be drawn from them, of the general extent of Glaciers in the Himalaya.
The Pindur river (vide accompanying map,) is the most easterly tributary of the Bhagiruttee, or that stream of the Ganges that issues into the plains of India at Hurdwar. It rises from the south side of one of the great snowy ranges of the Himalaya, which contains the cluster of Peaks, (No. 10 to 15 of the Indian Atlas, sheet No. 66,) of which Nunda Devee* is the centre. At the head of the Pindur is one of the Glaciers I am about to describe ; the other gives rise to the Kuphinee, the first considerable affluent of the Pindur.
The Pindur and Kuphinee, rising on opposite sides of the Peak called Nunda Kot, unite about 7 miles south of it. A small tolerably level space between them close to their confluence, is called Diwálee. The lower end of the Glacier of the Pindur is about 8 miles, and that of the Glacier of the Kuphinee about 6 miles above this place.
* The heights of these peaks are as follows:
No. 10 15805 English feet.
Vide Asiatic Researches,
Vol. XIII. p. 306. 14 25741
15 22491 No. 14, which I call “ Nunda Devee," is the “ Jowahir” of the Maps. "Jowahir" or more correctly “Jwur" or Joohar," is the name of a district (Purgunnah) which consists of the upper part of the valley of the Goree River. Nunda Devee is on the boundary of this district, and has been erroneously named after it in many maps, the word “Joohar” being never applied to designate this particular peak, though the portion of the range in which it is, has undoubtedly been called the mountains of Joohar.
The valley of the Pindur, at the termination of the Glacier, is about a mile across between the precipitous mountains that bound it. From the foot of the rocks on either side, its bottom slopes inwards with a moderate inclination, leaving in the middle a hollow about 300 yards wide and 250 feet deep, with very steep banks, at the bottom of which flows the river. This comparatively level space, between the central hollow in which the river runs and the precipitous sides of the valley, its surface running nearly parallel with the present bed of the river, but from 200 to 300 feet above it, can be distinctly seen for a mile or more below the end of the Glacier. The plateau itself, as well as the steep banks between it and the bed of the river, are considerably cut up by water courses running across them from the sides of the valley, but every where they have an almost perfectly rounded outline.
The whole of the bottom of the valley is covered with grass, or those species of plants that grow in these elevated regions, excepting where beds of snow, rocks, or the debris of the mountains interrupt the vegetation.
The Glacier (Fig. 2) occupies about of the whole breadth of the head of this valley, leaving between itself and the cliffs on the east, an open grassy slope, which extends along the foot of the moraine for upwards of a mile and a half above the source of the river, and which seems to be a continuation of the plateau I before mentioned.
The first appearance is remarkable; it seems to be a vast rounded mass of rocks and ground, utterly devoid of any sign of vegetation, standing up out of a grassy valley. From the foot of its nearer extremity the river, even here unfordable, rushes in a turbid torrent out of a sort of cave, the top of which when I saw it was but a few feet above the surface of the water. The end immediately over the source of the river is very steep and of a dull black color. It is considerably fissured ; the rents appearing to arise from the lower parts tearing themselves from the upper by their own weight. On a closer examination, this abrupt end proves to be a surface of ice, covered with sand and gravel, and curiously striped by the channel made by the water that runs down it as it melts. Behind this the glacier rises less steeply, like a bare gravel hill to its full height, which is probably about 500 feet above the water of the river, when it leaves the cave; in some places however are seen great fissures both vertical and horizontal, the