Viola Stirling’s Nature Diary: 11 & 12 Dec 1919

Like Viola’s last diary entry she has spotted a heron again. She is baffled to see it descend into the middle of ‘Mole field’. Viola’s naming of places makes you wonder if she ever sketched a map of the estate. Unfortunately there is no sign of such an item in our Stirling of Gargunnock collection (PD100).  Our searchroom is open to all to view items from this and many other collections.

This short entry is quickly followed by another on the 12th of December (note that Viola has written November but this is likely a mistake). It reveals that Viola was apt at building huts in the woods, what size we can only guess. She mentions the huts as they draw the attention of some inquisitive pheasants. These striking birds are native to Mongolia and are thought to have been first introduced in Britain by the Romans. In the 19th century they regained popularity on country estates and are mostly bred today as game birds.



Nov 11 12.00 I saw a heron alight in the Mole field

what it was doing right in the middle of

the field I don’t know.


Nov 12th 12.30 am Schoolroom window

Pheasants are very inquisitive things.

If you begin to build anything no matter

where they are sure to come to look at

it. I built two huts in the woods here

and I invariably found a pheasant there

when I came. There are two in the garden

at this moment. Eating seeds etc. They

have not been driven in by cold & frost

& hunger for it is raining hard and

there was no frost last night. It

is just sheer curiosity that has suddenly

brought them there.