26 WILD SPORTS OF BURMA AND ASSAM
nature of the country is such that no one can traverse the lowlands on foot, owing to inundation and the innumerable tree and swamp leeches which infest these jungles. It is useless trying to kill elephants off elephants, as it is impossible to get the requisite angle. It is very cruel worka I only tried it once, and then I only bagged one at the time, but sent a dozen or so away very badly wounded. Of these, I came across five dead, and nearly shot a Burman who had gone inside one for some tit-bit, and as he crawled out a mass of bloody gore, I thought he was a bear or some other beast, and was just going to fire, when he stood up. The Burmese found three others dead, and these were a godsend to them, for they prefer first the flesh of the gaur and then that of an elephant to all others; but I never tried that mode of sport again.
Green and Imperial pigeons, though most common throughout Lower Burma and the Andaman and Cocos Islands, are very difficult to see when roosting on trees, so wonderfully does their plumage tally with their surroundings. They are at times very good for the table, but the very reverse at others. It depends on the fruit in season. Green doves are very scarce. I dona t think I saw above half-a-dozen in twice that number of years. The Imperial pigeons are very large fine birds; some are green, others of a deep metallic or bronze hue, and others blue. The Burmese call them Knit-ga-noa or bullock-birds.
The common Blue Rock pigeons are very plentiful beyond Yenan-Choung, where the earth-oil wells are. The banks of the river are from 150 to 200 feet above the water, and much resemble our chalk cliffs. In these the birds burrow and build their nests, and as there is plenty of grain growing near, they thrive exceedingly, and are very plump and delicious eating.
The Green-necked Peacock is a beautiful variety of the ordinary peacock. It has no bluish purply neck like the Indian bird. It is green all over, but the tail is the same in the two, and grows sometimes six feet long. At Port Blair, Andaman Islands, hybrids between the Indian and Burmese Peafowl were very common, but they were tame in plumage when compared with either of their progenitors.