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Jamie Taylor’s Bird Watching Diary
1944 -1945
By Mary Taylor Previte (Jamie’s little sister)

In 1944 and 1945, James “Jamie” Taylor, 14 years old, filled a 4" x 6" notebook with carefully-penned observations – about putting his hand into a sparrow's nest and finding babies, counting bustards flying overhead, welcoming flowers that announced the spring, listening to cicadas beginning to buzz, numbering the leaves sprouting on a plant. Logged to earn his Boy Scout Naturalist badge, he wrote ordinary, boyish stuff .... [click here] .... click here


Weihsien Birds Naturalist Badge.

Tuesday March 21, 1944
I saw a Promise of Spring in bloom in the Jap Quarters. Saw my first cabbage White Butterfly. I also saw a Marsh Tit and heard it calling. I saw three Hare Holes, One had a hare in it. The second had a nouse round it. I saw a Spark Head Woodpecker. I found out how to tell a Marsh Tit from a Chickadee. The Chickadee has a black …

Cabbage White Butterfly Marsh Tit  
hare [click here] red headed woodpecker chikaadee

… line down its breast. The Marsh Tit has a dirty White breast.
Wednesday March 22.
A baby goat was born this morning. The mother goat was in a horrible state. Saw a Pied Woodpecker up a fir tree. It is a uncommon sight. I saw some Sheperds Perse, Alfa Alfa and a dandelion over by the hospital. Poplar catkins are getting quite big and beginning to fall off. One of the Rooks nests was sawn down. (The one in the Haas's block).

baby goat Sheperds Purse [click here] dandelion
poplar catkins alfalfa
rooks nest
rooks nest
Pied Woodpecker

March 23 Thursday
Saw a Hen Harrier circling round and round till it went out of sight. Saw a Pied Woodpecker. Saw a tout 3 Hoopoes. Two were pecking in the ground. The other was up a tree. They have a queer habit. When they have got some food or a grub out of the ground they raise their crest as if in pride

Hen Harrier Pied Woodpecker  

March 24 Friday.
Saw 3 Hoopoes, one outside the camp and two up a tree. Saw a grey headed Woodpecker on an akashka tree [acacia tree?]. I saw seven Starlings flying over and as they flew they made a funny squeaking noise.

Hoopoe grey headed woodpecker acacia tree

Saw two Rufous Doves in some wheat fields. Mr. Hubbard showed me some yellow Throated Buntings, and some Spotted Necked Doves. I also saw a Red Throated Thrush. I saw a Kestral. There is a rose in bloom in the Jap Quarters.
March 25 Saturday.
Saw an Indian Red Tailed Crush shrike. I saw some Apricot blossom near Post Office.

Rufous Dove
Yellow Throated Bunting
Spotted Necked Doves
Red Throated Thrush
rose in bloom
Indian Red Tailed Crush
apricot blossom

Two more Baby Goat have been born. The other one died.
March 26 Sunday.
Willow tree near block 60, 15 beginning to get leaves, Saw a bird did not know at the top of a poplar. We found what we thought was a lair of a Hoopoe. Helped put up a tin for a sparrow's nest. Found some Mason Wasp's nests. Mr Pryor showed us a Scarab Beetles mud ball which he found 2" under the ground while he was digging.
Willow tree
lair of a Hoopoe
sparrow's nest
Mason Wasp's nests
Scarab Beetles mud ball

March 27. Monday.
Saw all three kinds of woodpeckers in about 3 minutes.
It rained this morning. Saw 6 swallows going round in pairs. Saw a Moth Heard a Grey Head going round calling for its mate. I also saw a red Tailed Thrush.
Spring is beginning to show its-self in the trees. Saw a kind of wild Black eyed Susan.

swallows going round in pairs
Moth Heard
Grey Head
red Tailed Thrush
Black eyed Susan

March 28 Tuesday
Two more baby Goats born this morning at 11 o'clock.
2 more Rooks nests were taken down. The Rooks that owned the nests just sat at the top and cawed!
March 29 Wednesday.
Saw a Blue Start in the Jap Quarters. Saw several Red Tailed Thrushes for the 3rd time. Saw hordes of Chickadees & Marsh Tits. Mr. Hubbard gave a lecture on N. China Birds. It was very good. He showed us some specimens.

Rooks nests
Rooks nests
Saw a Blue Start in the Jap Quarters
Saw a Blue Start in the Jap Quarters
Marsh Tits

March 30 Thursday
Saw my first violet. Saw 2 blue Starts.
March 31. Friday.
Saw a Hoopoe for the first time in the last four days. Harrison and Sadler II were given an azure wing from Leo Ourkerk.
I have started to grow a Wild Flower. I got it behind block 24. Mrs. Jackson said that it was probably in the Michalmus daisy family. It has started to drop its …

Saw 2 blue Starts
Michaelmas Daisy

… first straight leaves. It has begun to grow jagged edged leaves. I am growing it in a small jam Tin.
April 1. Saturday.
It half snowed and Rained.
April 2. Sunday.
I saw a Red Footed Falcon within 20 yds. It was swooping down on a hare. Saw a hare in its hole. The magpies are building a nest in front of the Church. (sacked). Found the body wings and talons of an Asiatic Sparrow Hawk in hole in Jap Quarters.

Red Footed Falcon
The magpies are building a nest
The magpies are building a nest in front of the Church
Asiatic Sparrow Hawk

April 3 Monday
My plant has begun to shoot out another set of leaves. Saw a lot of yellow Throated Buntings in some trees.
April 4.
Saw quite a lot of Daurian Red Starts up Cowlane. Found Quite a lot of long tailed field mice. Saw a Blue Start.
April 5. Wednesday.
Saw a swallow flying over and over the Popalar in front of 23. My flower is getting ….

yellow Throated Buntings
Daurian Red Starts
long tailed field mice
Saw a Blue Start.
Saw a Blue Start.
Saw a swallow flying over and over

…. on very well. The straight leaves have come off. The jagged ones are growing fast. The buds on the apricot tree in front of the Administration building are beginning to flower.
April 6. Thursday!
Some more jagged leaves are sprouting on my flower. Saw about two starlings.
April 8. Saturday.
Saw a Willow Warbler behind 24. Starlings are getting quite common now.
April 9 Sunday
Saw some Starlings and a Pied Pecker.

The buds on the apricot tree
Starlings are getting quite common now
Willow Warbler
Pied Pecker
a flock of starlings

April 11 Tuesday.
Saw 3 Grey heads flying together. Saw some Pied Wagtails. Saw several Willow Warblers. Several flocks of Bustard flew over during the Scout Sports.
Saw some dark brown Ducks flying over, the leader had a white neck and head. Saw hordes of Black Jackdaws. Saw Golden Rumped Swallow and a Red Tailed Thrush.

Saw 3 Grey heads flying together
Pied Wagtail
Willow Warblers
dark brown Ducks
Black Jackdaw
Saw Golden Rumped Swallow
  Red Tailed Thrush

Saw a hare in its hole and then saw it being chased by a dog. Saw a sparrow in its nest in a willow tree.
April 12. Wednesday.
Saw a Willow Warbler early in the morning. Saw a pair of chickadees. Saw a Sparkhead and a pied in the same tree.
Starlings are still numerous.
Saw a Red footed Falcon high in the sky. Saw several Black headed Grey faced Buntings in the Jap Quarters. Saw a Wren for the first time in a hole in a Jap House.

hare in its hole
sparrow in its nest
Willow Warbler
Saw a pair of chickadees
pied Wagtail ?
Saw a Red footed Falcon high in the sky
Wren for the first time

April 13. Thursday
My flower has got two more little leaves. It is about 3” high. Saw a female Blue Start. Saw a Hoopoe pecking in grass.
April 14 Friday
Helped skin a hedgehog.
Saw several Yellow Throated Buntings. Heard a hoopoe.
April 16 Sunday
Saw an Asiatic Sparrow Hawk swoop down and pick up a sparrow. Saw a brown Fly-catcher in ….

Hoopoe pecking in grass
Helped skin a hedgehog
Yellow Throated Buntings
Saw a female Blue Start
Saw an Asiatic Sparrow Hawk swoop down and pick up a sparrow
brown Fly-catcher

Jap Quarters. Also saw a male Blue Start.
April 17 Monday.
Mr. Hubbard showed me some Brambling in a willow tree near the river. Saw a Grey Headed Woodpecker & Sparkhead. Saw a duck fly round over the river the on.
April 20 Thursday.
My flower is getting on well & more leaves are sprouting.

Brambling in a willow tree
Grey Headed Woodpecker
Spark Head Woodpecker
Saw a duck fly round over the river

Monday April 24.
Saw a Western China Blue and White Flycatcher. It was seen first by Harrison. Mr. Hubbard had only seen it once before.
Tuesday April 25.
Saw and heard a Wryneck. Saw a Grey headed Thrush and a Dusky Thrush in Jap Compound. Saw two Kestrals flying over. The Red footed Falcons have begun to fight the magpies.
Wednesday April 26.
Saw some Swifts and Red foots. My flower is getting bigger rapidly there are about 10 leaves on it.

Western China Blue and White Flycatcher
Grey headed Thrush
Dusky Thrush
Saw two Kestrals flying over
Red Foots

Thursday April 27.
Saw House Swallows and Golden Rumped Swallows flying round together.
Friday April 28.
Saw a Bustard flying over.
Saturday April 29.
Saw about 20 Dusky Thrushes.
Sunday April 30.
Saw a Goshawk. My flower has got about 11 leaves.
Monday May 1.
My flower has got 4 more leaves.
Tuesday May 2.
Saw some Ground Thrushes running in the graves.

Saw House Swallows
Golden Rumped Swallows
Dusky Thrushes
Ground Thrushes

Wednesday May 3.
Mimosa trees are getting leaves now. Saw a Grey Minivet in front of block 23. My flower is about 3½“ high. It has about 15 leaves. Each leaf is growing larger.
Thursday May 4.
Saw several Goshawks circling round in the sky.
Friday May 5.
The Catalpa tree near the bakery has little white flowers. Saw a Whooper Swan.
Saturday May 6.
Saw a Swift and a Goshawk. Saw 2 Green Herons looking for a place to land.

Mimosa Tree
Grey Minivet
Saw several Goshawks circling round in the sky
The Catalpa tree
Saw a Whooper Swan
Saw 2 Green Herons looking for a place to land

Sunday May 7
Planted some violet seeds.
Achaicias are in full bloom now. Most of the magpies nests have been taken by Red foots now. Found a Rufous Doves nest.
Monday May 8
Saw a Pied Woodpecker and a Sparkhead (woodpecker).
Tuesday May 9
We were given a Scopse Owl. It would not go eat so we let it go. It fled straight into some trees, and the azures started to bother it immediately. It flew very silently.

acacia are in full bloom now
Red foot
Scopse Owl
Azure Tit

Wednesday May 10.
Lots more birds shave come. Saw a black Drongo. Saw a Pallas Blue Robin. Saw a Wryneck in a Wysteria in the Jap Quarters. Also saw a Male Blue Star. Saw a Siberian Ruby Throat for the first time.
Thursday May 11
Saw a Chestnut Bunting up a tree. Saw three Black Drongos up an acacia tree. They are quite pretty.

black Drongo
Saw a Pallas Blue Robin
Saw a Pallas Blue Robin
Male Blue Star
Chestnut Woodpecker  

Friday May 12
We were given a Yellow browed Willow Warbler which had a broken wing and Rib. A cat sneaked into our room and stole the baby Rook.
Saturday May 13
Beard climbed up to another nest and got another Baby Rook. It is a little bigger than the last Rook. Found about 9 azures nests. Saw a Black Drongo, also a Chinese Crossbill. I saw a hesser Black Headed Grosbeak.

Yellow browed Willow Warbler
Black Drongo
also a Chinese Crossbil
hesser Black Headed Grosbeak
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