Viola Stirling’s Nature Diary: 1st & 3rd Feb 1921

Viola’s first diary entries for February paint a picture of the passing of winter as snowdrops abound, trees are budding, birds are singing and the mice are scurrying around. Viola is clearly informed about nature and wildlife activity through the seasons as she oftens points out something unusual. She has heard that ‘not many birds have migrated from the Bass Rock this year’.

The Bass Rock is sited off the coast, near North Berwick. Every January, thousands of gannets return from the Mediterranean, or further south, to establish their nests. Viola’s comment indicate that less birds migrated in the previous autumn than usual, but she doesn’t suggest why.

Closer to home in Touch Glen, Viola has been spotting Fieldfares among other common birds. Fieldfares are large thrushes who will often be seen in large groups just as Viola describes. They migrate to Britain in the winter to avoid the harsher climates of countries like Scandanavia and Russia.

Two days later Viola gives a very short and to the point entry: ‘Shot squirrel’. As in many of her other diary entries she is very matter of fact about this. See an earlier post explaining why it’s not so unusual to see squirrels in winter.



Feb 1st. Glen. 3.30 p.m.

The weather has been very mild so far this year and

the birds are beginning to sing. The snowdrops are out

in masses here. The mice are running about again already

the grass is full of their runs. I hear that a half-fledged sparrow

baby has been found near Edinburgh and that many birds

have not migrated from the Bass Rock this year.

There are quantities of Gulls, Fieldfares and other birds

just now, the hedges are full of finches and tits and

flocks of birds are always flying about. The geese

seem to have left already. All the trees are budding.


Feb. 3rd Near Stable 11

Shot squirrel. Out very early.