November 10. — Getting the party away about five o’clock this morning, I persuaded one of the natives, named “Wilguldy,” an intelligent cheerful old man, to accompany us as a guide, and as an inducement, had him mounted on a horse, to the great admiration and envy of his fellows, all of whom followed us on foot, keeping up in a line with the dray through the scrub, and procuring their food as they went along, which consisted of snakes, lizards, guanas, bandicoots, rats, wallabies, etc. etc. and it was surprising to see the apparent ease with which, in merely walking across the country, they each procured an abundant supply for the day.

In one place in the scrub we came to a large circular mound of sand, about two feet high, and several yards in circumference; this they immediately began to explore, carefully throwing away the sand with their hands from the centre, until they had worked down to a deep narrow hole, round the sides of which, and embedded in the sand, were four fine large eggs of a delicate pink colour, and fully the size of a goose egg. I had often seen these hills before, but did not know that they were nests, and that they contained so valuable a prize to a traveller in the desert. The eggs were presented to me by the natives, and when cooked were of a very rich and delicate flavour. The nest was that of a wild pheasant, (Leipoa), a bird of the size of a hen pheasant of England, and greatly resembling it in appearance and plumage; these birds are very cautious and shy, and run rapidly through the underwood, rarely flying unless when closely pursued. The shell of the egg is thin and fragile, and the young are hatched entirely by the heat of the sun, scratching their way out as soon as they are born, at which time they are able to shift for themselves. [Note 25: For a further account of the LEIPOA, vide CHAPTER III. of Notes on the Aborigines.]

Our road to-day was through a heavy sandy country, covered for the most part densely with the eucalyptus and tea-tree. About eleven we struck the south-east corner of Denial Bay, and proceeded on to the north-east, where I had appointed the cutter to meet me. To my surprise she was not to be seen anywhere, and I began to get anxious about our supply of water for the horses, as we were entirely dependant upon her for it. In the afternoon I observed the vessel rounding into the south-east bight of the bay, and was obliged to send my overseer on horseback a long ride round the bay, to tell the master to send us water to the place of our encampment. He had been to the island of St. Peter yesterday looking for birds’ eggs, and having neglected to take advantage of a fair wind, was not now able to get the cutter up to us. The water had consequently to be brought in the boat a distance of eight miles through a heavy sea, and at considerable risk. Mr. Scott, who came with the master in the boat, returned on board again in the evening. Our stage to-day had been eighteen miles, and the horses were both tired and thirsty. The small supply of water brought us in the boat being insufficient for them, we again were obliged to watch them at night.