[ Howard Saunders, ornithologist. ] Autograph Letter Signed to E. L. Arnold, asking for more particulars about the piratical-looking birds' referred to in his 'Indian Hills', and explaining that gulls and terns are his 'speciality'.

Howard Saunders (1835-1907), ornithologist [ E. L. Arnold [ Edwin Lester Linden Arnold ] (1857-1935), author ]
Publication details: 
On letterhead of 7 Radnor Place, Gloucester Square, W. [ London ] 18 December 1881.
SKU: 19209

4pp., 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged. Forty-eight lines of text. Arnold's 'On the Indian Hills, or Coffee-Planting in Southern India' had been published in London earlier in the year, and Saunders writes that '[a]s an ornithologist' he has been 'much interested by the numerous allusions to the birds observed [...] but most of all by your remarks on the outward voyage (pp.101-3) on the gulls &c of the Red Sea'. He asks if Arnold might give him 'a few more particulars', 'especially about "piratical-looking birds which chased the gulls" &c.' He makes suggestions regarding the identities of these birds, explaining that he is 'anxious to know, because on the one hand I have been told that L. hemprichi, one of the aforesaid hooded gulls does persue the terns & smaller gulls as our Skuas do: and, on the other hand September is just the time when the Skuas are on the move southwards, and we know that they do go to the Mekran & Indian coasts, but they have not as yet been registered in transit thro' the Red Sea'. He explains that 'Gulls and Terns' are his 'speciality', and that he has for years been 'collecting every scrap of information, especially as to geographical distribution, in order to produce a monograph of the family'. Arnold's information is valuable, as the 'resident species of the Red Sea are barely known'.