The Changi bird notes

October 2, 2010

Book D, pp 25-26

My father had been making detailed notes on birds since he was a teenager and in the decade before the war had filled several notebooks with his observations and drawings of herons at Oaken Grove near Henley. So he was no newcomer to this activity.

The Changi bird notes, which run to at least a couple of hundred pages, cover a period from November 1942 to around May 1944, with the most intense observations being in 1943.

They begin and end with similar abruptness. Why this is so I cannot say for sure though it is possible that my father was inspired to begin the project while reading The Birds of Singapore Island, by Bucknill, Bach, and Chasen which he was doing in late 1942 around the time he entered hospital. And May 1944 coincides with his move to Kranji. From all I can tell his bird notes end at this point.

The notes are organized by bird and then by date of observation. As can be seen from the illustration these observations typically included the location of the sighting, a brief description of the bird and the kind of activity it was engaged in along with any sounds it may have made.

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