Women On Adventure is a blog by K.L. Webber exploring our rich shared history of women's adventure writing. This curated collection of quotations showcases the opinions and experiences of influential female travellers in their own words.

"A saucy thing that repeats two notes only, not unlike the mockbird."

18th.—One of my young friends from the Doris, some of whom have been with me daily, has brought me some excellent partridges of his own shooting. They are somewhat larger than the partridges in England, but I think quite as good, when properly dressed, or rather plucked; but the cooks here have a habit of scalding the feathers off, which hurts the flavour of the bird. There are several kinds of birds here good to eat, but neither quail nor pheasant. They have plenty of enemies: from the condor, through every variety of the eagle, vulture, hawk, and owl, down to the ugly, dull, green parrot of Chile, which never looks tolerably well, except on the wing, and then the under part, of purple and yellow, is handsome. The face is peculiarly ugly: his parrot's beak being set in so close as to be to other parrots what the pug dog is to a greyhound. They are great foes to the little singing birds, whose notes as well as plumage resemble those of the linnet, and which abound in this neighbourhood. We have also a kind of blackbird with a soft, sweet, but very low note; a saucy thing that repeats two notes only, not unlike the mockbird, and that never moves out of the way; swallows and humming-birds are plenty; and the boys tell me they have seen marvellous storks and cranes in the marshes, which I shall take occasion to visit after the rains. I know not if we are to believe that the aboriginal Chilenos possessed the domestic fowl. At present they are abundant and excellent, as well as ducks, both native and foreign, and geese. Pigeons are not very common; but they thrive well, and are made pets of:—in short, this delightful climate seems favourable to the production of all that is necessary for the use and sustenance of man.

Valparaiso, Chile, 1822


Source: Maria Graham (Lady Calcott), A Journal of a Residence in Chile, A. And R. Spottiswoode, London, 1824

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