FIELD NATURALISTS' CRUISE TO KANGAROO ISLAND.
The longest trip yet undertaken in connec tion with the local Field Naturalists' Society was made at Easter-time, when a small party organised by Mr. A. Molineux and composed chiefly of members of the section, Bpent about ten days on and near the northern coast of Kangaroo Island. The company left the Semaphore at about 10 o'clock in the eveniDg of Thursday, r March 29, in the ketch Hawthorn, under Captain R.
Drown, ana tne night being a somewnat windy one, it was not long before certain ' luxurious slaves,' to quote the contemptuous epithet- bestowed by Byron on sufferers from sea-sickness, began to feel rather unwell, an indisposition which in some cases continued throughout the next day. The trawl and dredges were first put down on Good Friday, near Edithburgh, with the result that several good draughts of small fish and seaweed were obtained. The anchor waB dropped for the night at a short distance from the Trou bridge lighthouse, and on the following day Investigator Straits were crossed and Kingscote was reached. On the way thither some large hauls of scollops were made, and of these many were cooked and served up at the evening meal. Those who ate them averred at the time that they were very good, although a few com plaints were afterwards heard as to a certain sense of heaviness in the region of the reputed seat of courage. The abodes of these molluscs were in most instances covered with red or yellow sponges, those of the former color being generally of considerable brilliancy. The sweepings of the nets also included a number of small corals, some of which were exquisitely tinged. During the night two sharks were hooked, but one escaped; that which reached the deck measured slightly under 7 feet. Part of bis flesh was used for bait, and his jaws were hung over the bulwarks as a warning to other evildoers. During Sunday the vessel lay at anchor off Kingscote — Queens- cliffe; for owing to reasons which scarcely seem sufficient, what is really one township is known by both these names. Some of the party stayed on board, while others went to Beatrice iBlet, a little distance off. Here some terns and shags, both young and old, together with a number of the eggB of the latter were secured. Common as these cormorants are, their appear ance, though not their odor, is far from un attractive. The pure white under plumage, with- tbe dark sea-green eyes bordered with indigo and bright orange, render them objects decidedly pleasing to the.eye. But they smell «i4-*»rtviol*» «-»f mnoh1 otto riorifia av/*anf Inn t.hncfl
who like this perfume, they are better when not very closely viewed. Three nautilus shells, of which, however, only one was quite perfect, , were also gathered in this neighborhood. Rough weather often drives these argo nauts, as it occasionally did their ancient namesakes, ashore, and as several shillings are always obtainable for good Bhells, these aie usually carefully searched for on the beach by many of the islanders after a storm has taken place. One excursionist spent the day in wandering on the island in search of botanical specimens, but owing to the lateness of the season found few plants in bloom. The most noticeable among those that were in flower was a species of melaleuca, a large shrub or small tree bearing, as its name indicates, white blossoms plentifully stored with honey, On Monday the course of the vessel waB directed towards the Bay of Sheals, in which some dredging of a satisfactory character was done, one of the most noteworthy speci mens obtained being a fine octopuB, spotted a bright blue, which spirits of wine unfortunately cannot preserve. Some cargo having to be landed several of the company went ashore, but little was collected beyond a few plants asd crabs, There iB one feature of the northern sea-beaches of Kangaroo bland which must strike most visitors, and that is the abundance of shells in many parts. In some places cockle, olive, and smaller shells, whole or in frag ments, are heaped up in banks several inches thick. In the evening fishing was tried but without succeBs on a schnapper-ground. On the following day owing to the unfavorable character of the wind the vassal had to remain in the bay. Most of the party accordingly went off to explore Busby Islet and the neighboring sandbanks. Seven penguins, a number of sandpipers and redcap dotterels, some fine sponge skeletons, a few crabs and sand-worms, and several succulent plants were among the objects procured. The penguins mentioned were found in holes in the sand, and three were kept alive and taken home by one of the company. As, how ever, the only food which they ate had to be forced down their throats it is rather doubtful if they will live long. The sand worms, although of considerable value from a naturalist's standpoint, have not many charms when regarded artistically. They sometimes measure a foot in length and two-thirds of an inch in diameter, are»of a dark-brown color'1 and in general appearance have a certain amount of resemblance to the larvae of the great encalypt moth somewhat enlarged. Those who did not land on the islet went in the ship's boat fishing, and caught a few schnapper and some smaller finely marked fish. The afternoon was devoted to arranging and preserving the specimens caught. After sailing all night the Hawthorn arrived fit the mouth of the American River just about sunrise on Wednesday morning. This inlet of the sea widens out into what is known as Pelican Lagoon, and, being broad, studded with several bush- clad islets and fringed by banks well-lined with fine trees, has, especially when seen through the haze of the morning or evening twilight, much picturesqueness of aspect. After the vessel had journeyed for some distance up the stream a number of the excursionists went ashore and explored the scrub. Woodland life has probably in all lands certain peculiar plea sures, but it has also in some countries, among which muBt be included this colony, cer tain peculiar discomforts. Doubtless some of those pensive dwellers in the forest of Arden found it very pleasant to dream the lazy hours away lying under the greenwood tree pondering sweet philosophy; but then they were not treated, while preserving this strictly correct poetic attitude, as 'specimens' by members of formican microscopical societies, or if they were Shakespeare has omitted to mention the fact. On the other hand, in Aus tralia (Kangaroo Island ia no exception to the rule) one can rarely sit down to rest himself for a little beneath the shade of a gumtree without being almost immediately subjected to a minute examination by a horde of ants, which, with scientific or some other kind of zeal, pursue their investigations to aU the accessible puts of his frame and the coverings thereof. Besides these patterns of industry, the island is inhabited by numerous scorpions, which dis play a genial fondnesB for secreting themselves in the bedclothes of ofttimes ungrateful fiojourners in tents. As, however, the party throughout enjoyed the highly luxurious sleep ing accommodation provided by tarpaulin covered bags of wheat stored in the hold of the vessel, they received no visits from these kindly hearted arachnideans. In this part of the country the trees are tall, and would be taller were it not for that which is perhaps the neceasary, but. which is certainly the lamentable practice of the settlers, of periodically burning as much scrub as possible. There may be, and probably are, some practical advantages to be gained by pursuing this course of action, but it is hard to believe that any one who is not wholly barbarian in his tastes can regard with feelings of unmixed satisfaction the need, if such there be, for the wholesale destruction of so much that is beautiful in nature which is constantly taking place on the island. In spite of this perfervid zeal in removing such large quantities of what is doubtless considered ' rubbish,' this amount of cultivation that iB actually done does not seem to be proportionately very large. Still it must be admitted that the islanders appear to be fond of their homes, some of them keeping ' the noiseless tenor of their way' in one Bpot for 40 or 50 years. The chief flowering plants now to be seen in this district are correase mostly C. ppeciosa, the well-known 'native fuchsia.' ThiB species here attains to a height of several feet, and forms an attractive compact bush. Some good sponges, a ' fiddler' and a number of crustaceans, found near the water's edge, were the only other discoveries made by those who went ashore. On returning to the ketch fish were found to be very plentiful in the creek, and consequently each member of the party was soon busily engaged with hook and line. In the course of an hour or two several dozen, moBtly garfifh, were caught ; and of these eome were salted, and the others en truftrd to the charge of the cook. In the afternoon neatly all on board walked to the shore of tbe Southern Ocean, at this point only about two miles distant. A fine view of the inland was obtained from the top of Prospect Bill, a large sandhill close to the ocean beach. Near the latter several plants, includ ing two species of aster, were found blossoming, while by the side of some rocks a specimen of the largest known marine vegetable was col lected. This plant bears what Martin Tapper would have called the 'centipede' name of MacrocjBtiB pyrifera. Trustworthy authorities state that in some specimens of the species the fronds reach a length of 700 feet. It iB perhaps needless to remark that the one in question was not quite this size, The distinguishing mark of this eeaweed consists in the long slender air-bladders, which in appearance much resemble 'lady 's-finger' grapes, On Tburfday moning the Hawthorn moved nearer to the mouth of the 'river.' Ontbe anchor beirjg d ropped most of those on board paid a viBit, at tbe invitation of Mr. Shand, to the works of the Eingscote Fish Preserving Company, and were much pleased with all that they saw. In the afternoon garfish, salmon-trout, whiting, and other fish were captured in fairly large numbers. While fishing some of tbe company auiUBed themselves by catching the medusae, or, tc use the more prosaic popular name, jeHjfieb, of which many went floating by. Few scientific names have been given with more poetic appropriateness than that of meduEse to these organisms. The swimming
bells, beautiful alike in their graceful ahapja and chastened delicacy of coloring, together with the margin-rriDging, pendent, and in many instances poiBoned-obarged tentacles, give to these fair lingerers near the dawn of life no in considerable likeness to that fortune-blighted maiden whose beauteous locks were changed through another's crime into serpents. On Friday morning the vessel left American River and sailed towards Hog Bay, bnt before that place was reached the trawl and dredges were cast overboard, and swept up a miscellaneous collection of treasures, including a good num ber of small fiBh, a female ' fiddler' with five young ones, a rare species of skate, and several fine seaweeds. Hog Bay reached, the party went ashore and found some more good seaweeds and a few of the smaller marine animals. Anumber of members also went fishing near tbe rocks, several captures, among which rock cod, short, stout, and rather finaly marked, were in the majority, being made, A small shark was likewise brought on deck during the evening1. Tbe ketch lay anchored in the bay all night, and on the following morning pro ceeded to Backstairs Passage, the Pages being reached in the afternoon of the same day. Here the movements of a number of seals afforded considerable entertainment to the excursionists. The dredges were put down with excellent results. Tfle sea-bottom in this part appears to consist of sand and broken sheik, and the principal living specimens ob tained were sponges, polyzoa, and crustaceans. On Saturday evening a start was made for home, and after a windy night had been passed the vessel arrived off the Semaphore shortly before 8 o'clock on the following morning ; but as the tide- was unfavorable Port Adelaide was not reached until about five hours afterwards. Viewed scientifically the expedition was a very interesting one, and the results will be of considerable value. Mr. A. Zietz, the museum preparateur, was the most successful collector of the party, and consequently his department will derive the greatest benefit from tbe trip, although the taxidermist's and conchological departments will also be the better for the ex cursion. The moat remarkable discoveries were among the polyzoa, of which there was a great variety, the crustaceans, and the starfish. Of the last named two species have not hitherto been known to exist in South Australian waters, and may be new to science. Some of the shells found were of much value ; and Mr. Bednall, the honorary conchologist to the Museum, has expressed himself as highly pleased with the collection gathered for him by Mr. Zietz. The number of birds obtained was not very large, but nevertheless some possessed considerable beauty. The season was an unfavorable one for the collection of land plants ; but although none of those collected may be of any great scientific merit they are at least interesting aa illustrating the peculiar vegetation of Kan garoo Island. Of marine planta the number of epecieB obtained was fairly large, including a few rather rare kinds. In other respects the trip wan on tbe whole a very enjoyable one, a result which is chiefly attributable to Mr. Molineux, the leader of the party, and to Cap tain Brown and his crew, who helped to make the excursion one of the pleasantest yet under taken in connection with the section.