"I kept a Nature diary from Feb to Nov 1944. This diary was largely observations of birds in and near Weihsien camp. For reasons I don't know, there are no entries from June to August. Too busy playing baseball? No, that would not have taken up so much time!
"We were very fortunate that Mr Hugh Hubbard, a renowned ornithologist, was in camp. He was the co-author of a book on Birds of North China. (I don't know the exact title.) He was very experienced in this field and often took us out bird watching, commenting on their behaviour etc.
"I cannot remember if I was aiming for a Scout Naturalist badge. I still have my Chefoo/Weihsien scout shirt, but I think the badges on a sleeve are for other activities.
"I kept a rather untidy notebook which you will see below. I did make a neat copy at the time, but with no drawings. It is the rough copy which appears here, though a few entries are from the neat copy.
"I am surprised to see no mention of golden orioles in the diary. I do mention seeing them in Scout '1st Class Journey' (on the website), but this was done in June, one of the months missing from the Nature Diary."
(a) I by mistake wrote 'April 16th, 17th & 18th' instead of 'May 16th, 17th & 18th'.
(b) Please note the bird names & their Capital letters on the front heading page.
(c) Hoopoe is spelt incorrectly "hoopoo" throught the diary.
- by Peter Bazire, August 27, 2009.
The Nature Diary:
1944. Diary Weihsien
Saw woodpecker in the churchyard. It flew in between the bakery and block 6. Also saw march (sic) tits.
Saw spark (sic) headed W. and stalked it. Also saw grey headed W. not very clear.
Saw pied W. It looked like a ded (sic) leaf in a tree but after a few minutes it flew away. Saw grey headed W. Came close & pecked in a big hole near the top of a trunk of a tree. It pecked about twice and then stuck his head out and so on. ...
all pictures from GOOGLE-images
... Saw it and a rook & a magpie all fly on after another from the same place. M. R. W.
Saw grey heron.
I didn't see much but just the usual birds. Sometimes I would see woodpeckers.
Around March 10th
Hoyte 3 & I put up tins for sparrows to nest in. (Eaves of box-room.)
saw grey heron East of...
I saw a seagull West of 24 over the wall about 30 YDS. It was flying south because of a storm at sea probably. I also saw a hoopoo but not very close. ...
... I also saw a rook with its right leg bust. It dangled in the wind. Saw red footed falcon.
Saw hare amongst the graves. We also saw some birds that we did not know what they were. Saw grey-headed woodpecker & spark (sic) (We had a really good time looking at them.)
Heard grey headed woodpecker for the first time to recognise it.
Heard grey headed woodpecker.
Dandelion out. Saw red tailed thrush near cowsheds. Saw grey headed W. I saw a hoopoo. Stalked within eight yards. It opened its crest when it picked up a worm. Again saw red tailed thrush, thirty of them. Up Cow Lane, beyond poplar.
Saw male & female pied W. in poplar. Noticed ...
... the red very well on rump. Noticed red on head of male. Saw a W. in hole in poplar near the top. In the early morning about 20 mins to seven the crows begin cawing. Last two weeks the R.s have been making nests. One rook bags a twig from another nest. One nest was ruined by a man sawing down a branch. I stalked a spark(sic) head in children's playground. It isn't so pretty as the pied but I noticed it wasn't so scared as a pied. I also noticed the buds coming out. The catcins (sic) are nearly finished. When there is no ...
...wind they droop down. I think I saw a yellow throated bunting. I saw 2 hares chasing each other & men hunting them. Once they came within about twenty yds of the wall.
Again heard the rooks cawing. The grey headed W. was making its whoots quite often in the early morning. I saw about 7 starlings in a flock at ten o'clock near cow lane, passed the cowsheds. I saw a spotted dove near block 20. Mrs Hubbard went with us up cow lane, passed cowsheds. Saw a bird which we did not know at first but Mr Hubbard said that it was a red throated thrush. There is a clear distintion (sic) between the white and red.
Rooks cawing ... 1min-34"
Hollyhock leaves came out about 1 month ago. Grass came up about a week ago and is coming up now. Lilac is nearly out. Buds are coming the whole time. Rose & Promise of Spring are out. We saw a hoopoo. A magpie came very close to us. Saw hare as usual. Ears very red.
Saw three ducks flying out of the river. Most catcins (sic) are falling. Rooks nests nearly finished. I saw a bird with a long tail which turned out to be an Indian red tailed shriek. Mr H. said it was rather early for one. ...
... woodpecker sound ... 1min 17"
... I saw a bird within about three yds. We noticed the holes in the ground which it was pecking at worms etc. (By the way, I see chickadees & marsh tits nearly every day.) I saw a yellow bird fly from a Jap house to a tree (probably an escaped canary). Somebody else saw a yellow bird the same day. Saw a cabage (sic) white. Lilac out. Apricot blossoming. Wisteria blossoming.
Saw greyhead W. out of 23 window near 35. M. making it's usual toots. Saw an orangish coloured butterfly. Flies are out. Saw the place where hoopoos go (maybe nest).
Saw two spotted doves sitting near cowshed. Saw grey headed W. on it's usual tree. Saw cocks (sic) sparrow showing off to it's (sic) mate . Saw pied W. north of 23 making its noise.
Saw marsh tits & chickadees. Saw chickadees 2 of them ragging around the trees. A dog came and it went around the trunk. Fields greener after the rain. Swallows were seen near the church. Dandelions coming on.
Saw pied W. in hole. Saw greyhead W. ...
...Saw a few swallows. Saw what Mr Hubbard thought was a wagtail.
Saw chickadees, grey starling & I saw a male Siberan (sic) blue start.
Saw female SBT (sic). Got within about 2 yards of it. Saw hoopoo (hasn't been seen for a few days. See the usual doves every day. Saw a cabbage white. Pigeons fly around singally (sic). Near a Jap Shack saw nest. Saw Pied W. before breakfast. After breakfast. Male. Outside Hoyte 3's window on poplar. Saw Spark W. near K 1. Some rook nests bust down.
Two sparrows near Sadlers (sic) window. Near tin. ...
... Snowed. Bad Weather. In afternoon just began to clear up.
April Fool (1st)
Saw hoopoo near Iyi (sic). Saw chickadee occupying the tin in IVY. Oh Boy!!! Put Bread there. Noticed a tree by it with lots of chickadees' holes. Saw 2 yellow-throated buntings. Saw Spark (sic) W. A rook came within 3 yds of us near the wall + it saw us & it flew away & came back a few yards away & flew over the wall. Saw a hoopoo & its mate fly just over us (2 or 3 yds). They landed near a haystack and stared at each other for a few seconds & opened their crests and began pecking at worms. Saw thrushes making their call.
...Clear first of all, then cloudy in afternoon.
Saw black jackdaw. Saw rabbits in fields. Saw 2 male and female yellow throated buntings around the haystacks. Saw mouse under log and it ran to a stack. Saw 2 chickadees. Saw a bird with white spots near
its wings. Saw grey head W. Leaves coming out. Willow have been out for quite a time. Caught a small field mouse. Five caught all together. Rooks nests being sawn down.
Saw a pied and grey headed W. Grey head pecked at wood tet-tet-tet-tet-tet-tet etc.
Looked for more mice.
April 4th - 6th
Only usual birds. Saw Darien Red start. It flicks it's tail which is orange.
Saw lots of chickadees and marsh tits and a hoopoo.
Bustards. Chinese locust leaves. Silver P. leaves and catcis (sic).
Saw wryneck, woodcock, hoopoo. West China blue and white fly catcher.
Saw Swinehoes thrush and a bird with a long white tail. Saw greyheaded blackfaced bunting and WCB & WF. Wisteria blooming. Red foots fighting magpies.
Saw baby hares and mother.
April 28th & April 29th
Redfoots fighting magpies.
Redfoots flying around. Dusky thrushes. Saw single goshawk and about 30 dusky thrushes.
Saw ground thrushes ? ...
Saw ground thrushes? And saw great egret? Saw golden rumped swallows. Saw a grey bird with a forked tail. Saw M, and P, redfoot in Italian quarters up poplar by nest.
Noticed red legs.
Rainy. Mamosa (sic) leaves coming out. Saw about 6 minivets. They sound like high police whistles. Saw ground thrushes? Went up hospital tower and a yellow-browed warbler came within about 6 ft of us. Also saw it on a bush about 4 feet away. Noticed yellow wing bars. Baby rook getting on. Sparrows building nests quite a lot.
Saw whooper swan flying south over the camp. Huge white wings.
Saw a new bird.
Locust common flowering.
A Scops Owl (7") flew into a ladies' dorm. We kept it in 23/10. We let it go in the evening. I was the last to touch it. It flew into an acatia (sic) and stayed there dead tired. Saw Burmese Red Turtle Dove.
People saw Siberian ruby throat and I saw Pallas blue robin & Philippine (sic) red tailed shrike & black drongo & a common Indian Kingfisher.
Saw finch. Pretty tail. Also saw black drongo.
Saw White's thrush, blue robin, and 8 black drongos and a common Indian kingfisher.
Saw crossbill and also blue Pallas Robin. I think I heard it first at the Brats playground.
Birds are going on with the hole we made (block 57). Saw a red bellied rockthrush.
Saw a brownish bird about pied W. size. Also a bird with a dark blue ...
...head, whitish neck, blueish wings, and redish (sic) rump. Also saw shrieks (sic) and Pallas Robin.
Saw a bird with a white stripe under the wing, blue mantel (sic). Brown wings and white eyebrows. Pied W. size. Probably
thrush family. 9".
Also saw a bird about 2 1/2 " smaller.
The same without the white line.
Also saw a female bluestart.
Got a baby magpie, and saw lots of large white-rumped swifts and noticed white throat.
Lots of cabbage whites and yellows.
Saw grey headed. Saw a skipper with blue spots on each wing.
Saw Baikal Teal fly past. Saw about 4 geese? 1 baby.
Saw Baikal Teal and geese? Hundreds of them. Also kite, goshawk.
Saw geese not good formation & kite. And Goshawk sparkhead, chickadee.
Saw pied W. In evening heard a few shrill whistles very clear.
Saw magpie with frayed tail.
Saw greyhead wagtail.
Saw sparkhead and kites.
Geese as usual.
Saw a huge bird of prey ...
... & kites. Saw a flock of about 200 Siberian White Cranes.
Saw about 800 in the afternoon.
Acacia getting very yellow. Also mulberry. Geese.
Saw cranes. Cast oil pods getting dry and ready. Persimmon leaves nearly off. No moths or very few.
Geese and some flocks of buntings? And kite.
Bustards (thirty) and geese.
Saw about 50 or 60 Manchurian cranes. Noticed the pink. Some dark ones amongst them. Kestrel. Geese.
Geese heard then squeaking. Still a few Bermese (sic) doves and occasional rufus.
Chickadee. 14 geese. 19 bustards seen.
Saw about 44 geese and a kite. The kite's ...
... breast looked yellow.
Lots of geese. A striped harrier & 2 woodpeckers (grey and one pied). Chesnut bunting