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The diaries of James Chapin

Book 1: (May 8, 1909 to July 17, 1909)

May June July

Diaries List

DATE: [6/1/1909]

[Drawing of a bird]: Park: Musicapa grisola 1 (2), Fringilla coelebs 1 male (s), Turdus merula s1, H.1 (s) s1, Hirundo rustica s1. Zoo: Cypselus apus abdt., Corvus monedula (3), Turdus merula 1, Hirundo rustica 1.

DATE: 6/1/1909 (Tuesday)

LOCALITY: This afternoon I visited the park and the zoological garden in Antwerp.

The birds seen in the park were as follows: Fringilla coelebs 1 male (s), Hirundo rustica s1, Musicapa grisola s1 s(2), Turdus merula s1 H/(s) s1. The wild birds seen in the zoological garden were: Cypselus apus abdt., Corvus monedula s(3), Hirundo rustica s1, Turdus merula 1.

DATE: 6/3/1909 (Thursday)

LOCALITY: We sailed from Antwerp at 11am on the S.S. Leopoldville.

On the way down the Schelde I saw about 6 black-headed gulls (L. ridibundus), 4 swifts (Cypselus apus), and 2 swallows (Hirundo rustica).

DATE: [6/3/1909]

LOCALITY: Anvers-Port. Les departs pour le Congo.

(Periodical): S'embarqueront encore, le 3 juin prochain: M. Paul Kempf, commis-chef, 3me depart, qui a, durant un deuxieme terme de service, exerce le commandement du poste de Lorva, zone de Ponthierville, district de la province Orientale; M. Conrard, J., commis-chef, 2me depart, qui a sejourne durant 3 annees au district de l'Equateur, ou il a exerce les fonctions de chef de poste; M. Carlsten, capitaine de steamer au long cours, 3me depart, qui va reprendre a Banana ses anciennes fonctions de pilote. M. le sous-lieutenant Spiltoir, du 6me regiment de ligne, lieutenant de la Force publique, qui a accompli un premier terme de service de 3 ans au territoire de la Ruzizi Kivu et qui a fait partie du personnel des zones d'Uvira et de la Ruthshuru; M. Cecilio Valle, engage en qualite de commis de 2me classe; M. l'agent d'administration de 3me classe Wennegers, 3me depart, qui a durant tout son second terme de service de 3 ans dirige l'important service des transports a Matadi; M. l'agent d'administration de 3me classe Rieux, 2me

Book 1: Page 8

depart, qui a sejourne durant 3 1/2 ans a la zone du Haut-Ituri ou il a exerce le commandement de divers postes; il vient de passer l'examen de sous-lieutenant de reserve au 2me regiment de ligne et a egalement subi l'epreuve pour l'obtention du rang d'agent d'administration. MM. Dechamps, magistrat, 2me depart; Renville, 2me depart, Hagnout et Hennebert, agents administratifs; Delatte, lieutenant de la Force publique; Titeca et Jadot, sous-lieutenants; Kraft, 2me depart, et Van Herck, 3me depart, commis-chef; Lusyne, 2me depart, Cornet et Gilles, commis de 1re classe; Bronze, Menestrel et Vaerewyck, commis de 2me classe; Vise, mecanicien-chauffeur, 2me depart; Smulders, electricien, et Drousie, chef de culture de 2me classe, 3me depart.

DATE: 6/4/1909 (Friday)
WEATHER: Cloudy with light rains in morning, clearing in afternoon.

In the morning a flock of gulls, about half of them L. argentatus and half L. fuscus, numbering about a dozen began to follow the ship. During the early afternoon there were between thirty and forty of them, mostly black-backs. About 10:15am we saw a small warbler (Sylviidae) on the boat. It flew around, lit on rails, chairs, lifeboats, and once in a while caught a fly on the wing. I was not well enough acquainted with the members of this family to identify it. The back was brownish, with a green tinge, and darkest on the crown. Both the upper and lower eye-lids, and a line over the eye, were light yellowish. Throat gray, breast and belly a light brownish yellow. Bill rather large, sides of lower mandible flesh-colored; upper mandible dark brown. when we first saw this bird we were within sight of the coast of France, probably near Cherbourg; but it stayed on board until late in the afternoon at least. Around noon I saw at least 10 puffins (Fratercula). They were sitting on the water, either singly or in pairs, and seemed to be scared up by the ship. They almost always appeared to fly away toward the land to the south, but three or four of them I saw pretty well.

DATE: 6/5/1909 (Saturday)
WEATHER: Cloudy in morning and evening, clear in middle of the day, fresh west wind.
LOCALITY: Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Lat. 45 degree 54 inches N; Long. 7 degree 20 inches W.

The only bird seen today was a murre (Uria) at about 9am. It flew up from the water on the starboat side of the ship, crossed our bow, and lit again on the port side.

DATE: 6/6/1909 (Sunday)
WEATHER: Generally fair all day, wind west.
LOCALITY: Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Long. 10 degree 26 inches W, Lat. 41 degree 13 inches N.

During the morning I saw 2 gannets, Sula bassana, both flying northward, also 4 birds that were probably terns, and about 4 petrels, Procellaria pelagica? At about 11:30am a flock of about 25 petrels began to follow the ship, and from that time until late in the afternoon a few of them could always be seen in our wake. They seemed smaller and browner than Wilson's petrels, but I could see that, in flying, their toes stuck out a little beyond the ends of their tails. At 12:30pm there was also an immature lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus, following the ship.

Book 1: Page 9

DATE: 6/7/1909 (Monday)
WEATHER: Fair, sea extremely calm.
LOCALITY: Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon. Long. 12 degree 30 inches W. Lat. 36 degree 26 inches N.

We were followed all day by a flock of petrels. At one time late in the afternoon I saw fully forty of them fluttering down on the water where there was some refuse from the ship. I watched these birds carefully today, and could see that their toes, in flying, stuck out considerably beyond their tails; but I could not see that there was any yellow on the webs of the feet.

DATE: 6/8/1909 (Tuesday)
WEATHER: Clear all day, a very light breeze from the west.
LOCALITY: Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Long. 14 degree 42 inches W. Lat. 31 degree 56 inches N.

About 9am there were a half-dozen petrels (Procellaria?) following the ship. During the day one or two could almost always be seen behind the ship, and at 6:30pm there were fully a dozen. Al about 6pm I saw 4 or 5 petrels of another sort (Pelagodrona?) [See Cambridge Nat. Hist. Birds, p. 65]. The upper side of their wings and tail were very dark gray, and the belly and under wing coverts white. The one at which I had the best look seemed to be striking the water, continually with its feet. They all flew very close to the surface of the water, and without flapping the wings much.

DATE: 6/9/1909 (Wednesday)
WEATHER: Fair all day.
LOCALITY: Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Long. 16 degree 17 inches W, Lat. 28 degree 11 inches N. We reached Teneriffe at 6:30 this morning, and cast anchor in the harbor of Santa Cruz. Mr. Lang and I were on shore from 7:15 to 9 o'clock.

First we bought 13 fishes in a market on the dock, and then we walked out to the rear of the town. There were some cultivated fields; but the ground was exceedingly dry and stony. There were many birds singing, but the only ones I saw well were some sparrows, and 2 wagtails, with yellow breasts, gray backs, and black throat patches. The sparrows were like Passer hispaniolensis having very white cheeks, and black streaks down the sides. Their notes, however, seemed exactly like those of P. domesticus. We saw many lizards but they were very active, and always sought shelter among the rocks when we approached. They were of at least two different colors, some brown, with longitudinal stripes, and some blackish, with blue patches on the sides. On some large cacti, like the American prickly pears, there were a great many plant lice, with a white fluffy substance adhering to them. I took a few and put them in alcohol. We also collected four spiders and two or three ants on these cacti. I saw two bees, rather large and hairy, black all over except for the hind part of the abdomen which was white; but I could not catch them. On this part of the island the vegetation was rather scanty except in the village. As we went back to the steamer in a launch, we saw one or two gulls like herring gulls, and at about 11 o'clock, shortly after the Leopoldville left Teneriffe, I saw two large shear waters, with gray backs and white bellies. At 6am, while we were approaching Teneriffe I had also seen a shear water of the same sort. Late in the afternoon I noticed a flock of a dozen or more petrels (Procellaria?) following in our wake.

 

Book 1: Page 10

DATE: 6/10/1909 (Thursday)
WEATHER: Fair, wind moderate, North.
LOCALITY: Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Long. 17 degree 7 inches W, Lat. 23 degree 24 inches N.

Before breakfast this morning I saw three flying fish, the first I had ever seen alive. They shone brightly in the sunlight as they sailed along on their expanded fins, and somehow they made me think of huge insects rather than fish. At 10:15am three large black swifts (Cypselus?) flew past the ship together, making for the North, toward the Canary Isles. A little before lunch Mr. Lang said he saw a swallow (Hirundo) alight on the steamer. A flock of petrels (Procellaria?), varying in number from 15 to 40 followed us all day long, and I saw several ahead of, and at the side of the ship.

DATE: 6/11/1909 (Friday)
WEATHER: Fair, moderate northerly breeze.
LOCALITY: Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Long. 17 degree 45 inches W, Lat. 18 degree 35 inches N.

Before breakfast this morning I saw fully 25 flying fish, and during the rest of the day they were quite numerous. A couple of schools I watched must have contained at least 60 or 70 each. Petrels were very numerous today, at one time in the afternoon there were fully 75 following the ship. About 7:45am I saw three shear waters, like those seen at Teneriffe last Wednesday. This afternoon we caught a moth like a Sphinx, sitting on the side of a bench near the stern. In the evening, looking down into the water beside the ship, and in our wake, one could see many small flashes of bluish light, emitted by some small organism, I suppose, such as Noctiluca.

DATE: 6/12/1909 (Saturday)
WEATHER: Fair, light westerly breeze.
LOCALITY: Reached Dakar at 9am, left at 12m.

Before breakfast this morning, there was a flock of petrels (Oceanites?) following the Leopoldville, and, as we approached Cape Manuel, there were a great many terns, one flock of which must have contained at least 125. I also saw a gull, about the size of a herring gull, with gray back, and white breast, head, and tail, but with a peculiarly shaped black patch on the wing tips. [See sketch]. There was also a swallow flying about the ship this morning. It had a moderately forked tail, white throat, breast and belly, and metallic green upper parts, except for the rump, which was white, as in Chelidon. When we entered the harbor of Dakar, all the petrels left us. There I saw a gull that looked exactly like L. fuscus, and also another resembling an immature individual of that species, except that the sides of the breast were spotted, whereas they were white in all the young L. fuscus I have seen. Around the town and harbor of Dakar were a great many kites (Milvus). I counted 36 at one time, all circling around over the town. Shortly after we left Dakar I saw another gull like that seen before breakfast this morning, and also some 15 or more terns. During the whole of the afternoon; too, after we left Dakar, petrels were very numerous. I have noticed recently that many of the petrels are molting their wing quills, and this, together with the length of their legs, makes me think that they are probably Oceanites rather than Procellaria. From about 3 o'clock this afternoon until dark shear waters, like those seen at Teneriffe were very numerous, as many as 18 or 20 being sometimes in sight at once. At about 2:45pm I saw a jaeger (Stercorarius) following the Leopoldville. It was in full plumage, with dark cap, light cheeks and breast, and I think it had the middle tail feathers somewhat elongated, tho I could not be sure.

Book 1: Page 11

Later in the afternoon I saw two more of these jaegers together. One was an adult, the other was in a darker plumage, with grayish breast. While we were in Dakar today, the natives brought live green parrots on board to sell, and one also had some birdskins. Of these, several were rollers (Coracias), several were starlings with resplendent green plumage, and one was a green parroquet. We did not go ashore, but expected to be able to buy some fish from the natives, who, we were told, almost always came alongside with fish for sale. But as no fishermen appeared, we could not get any. Late this afternoon there was another swallow flying about the ship. This time it was a Hirundo, very much like H. erythrogaster, as far as I could see. I think I must have seen 150 or 200 Portugese Men of War (Physalia) this afternoon, on one side of the ship. They are exquisitely colored, the upper rim of the pneumatophore being a bright pink, shading into purple on the lower side. [See drawing]. The pneumatophore is very flat, and sticks up out of the water like a sail, so that the animal is carried along by the wind. We tried to catch some of these animals in a basket on the end of a rope, but did not succeed. This morning, when I went out on deck I found two negroes engaged in stuffing a flying fish which came aboard last night. This evening a few phosphorescent animals could be seen in the water alongside the ship, but not so many, I think, as last night.

(Loose page) [SS Leopoldville]:

Programme: des jeux olympiques pour sloirs donnes a loccasion du passge de l'Equateur: le samedi 19 juin 1909 a 14 heures: (1) Courses d'obstacles - 1 prise 2,5 - 2 prise 1,25 (2) Combat de cod - 1 prise 2,50 - 2 prise 1,25 (3) Rouge et Blanc - 1 prise 2,50 - 2 prise 1,25 (4) Courses aux jambes liees - 1 prise 2,50 - 2 prise 1,25 (5) Courses dosa dos - 1 prise 2,50 - 2 prise 1,25 (6) Courses en sac - 1 prise 2,50 - 2 prise 1,25 (7) Diner descolin-Maillard - 1 prise 2,50 - 2 prise 1,25 (8) Snak de Cocagne.

(Loose page) [Dendropicus gabonensis]:

Adult male. Back, scapulars, rump, and upper tail-coverts uniform bright olive, the wing-coverts uniform deeper olive; quills blackish brown, the outer webs of the secondaries and the margins of the outer webs of inner primaries at the base bright olive, the outer primaries having a few dull white spots on the outer webs, the inner webs of all the quills with larger spots of white; shafts dark brown; tail blackish brown, the central feathers margined with olive at the base, the lateral ones having fulvescent whitish spots on both webs, and the whole with a trace of blackish bars or transverse marginal spots; shafts clear brown; nasal plumes brownish black; forehead greenish brown; crown and occiput scarlet; sides of the face and neck greenish white striped with black; a narrow black malar stripe; chin, throat, and fore neck yellowish white, with triangular spots and stripes of black; the whole of the under parts and under tail-coverts greenish yellow; the chest and breast in reality striped with black, but having a spotted appearance, owing to the stripes contracting in the centre, and also from the yellow tips of the feathers concealing the basal part of those beneath; the thighs are barred, but all the remaining underparts as well as the under tail-coverts are spotted with black; under wing-coverts and axillaries barred with the same. Total length 5 inches, culmen 0.8, wing 3.1, tail 1.55, tarsus 0.57; toes (without claws) outer anterior 0.42, outer posterior 0.5, inner anterior 0.35, inner posterior 0.2. Female. From Malherbe's description of this sex, it would appear to differ from the male mainly in the absence of red on the head, the whole of the top of the head being brown slightly washed with olive. Hab. Gaboon.

Book 1: Page 12

DATE: 6/13/1909 (Sunday)
WEATHER: Fair, sea calm.
LOCALITY: Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Long. 16 degree 14 inches W, Lat. 10 degree 20 inches N.

We were followed all day by petrels (Oceanites?). This morning I saw a few flying fish, and a number of Portuguese Men of War (Physalia). As a rule, flying fish just sail as far as they can, without any movement, and then drop into the water again, but I have seen some which, when they began to touch the water after a flight, would keep up a little longer by striking the water with their tails, and thus pushing themselves forward. This morning I saw 2 terns about the size of Caspian terns, and at 10 o'clock there were about 10 of them following behind the steamer. Some of them had the whole crown black, while others had a dark patch only on the back and sides of the crown. [See drawing]. Their bills were large and reddish, and their tails rather short, but forked. I heard one make a loud rasping noise. This morning I saw one booby (Sula leucogaster?) and this afternoon seven, six of which were in one flock. [See drawing]. In the afternoon a tropic bird -P. aethereus, I think it was- hovered about the ship. Its bill was a brilliant red, and the two elongated tail-feathers, which trailed out far behind the bird as it flew, were apparently pure white. There was an elongate black patch on the primaries. (=red-billed tropic bird, Phaeton aethercus). [See drawing].

DATE: 6/14/1909 (Monday)
WEATHER: Fair.
LOCALITY: Reached Freetown, Sierra Leone, at 6am; left about 11:15am. Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Long. 13 degree 19 feet W, Lat. 8 degree 30 feet N.

As we approached the anchorage at Freetown, I saw a number of small terns, and a heron, of medium size, perhaps as large as Florida caerulea (Demigretta gularis), dark slate color all over, with the face bluish, legs dark blue or black, and feet yellowish green. We were on shore from about 7 to 10am. First we visited the fish market, but found only two kinds of fresh fish on sale there. One of these was a small skate, and the other, of which we purchased two specimens, was a medium sized Felcostome, white on the belly, silvery on the sides, and dark gray on the back, with a silvery iris. Afterwards we walked about the town a little. Everywhere there were vultures (Neophron sp.), sitting on the housetops, or on dead trees, or even in coconut palms. The bare skin on their faces was pink, and the plumage brown, lightest on the back of the neck. We also saw two shrikes, together, one of them black and white, the other brownish with fine black bands on the breast. Both had very long tails. Two small greenish kingfishers (Halcyon senegalensis), with part of the bill, at least, red. At least two species of weaver birds, one black and white, the other, of which we saw a pair, brown, with a red head and rump (Lagonosticta). Some swifts, blackish, with forked tails, about the size of Chaetura pelagica. We caught a few small ants, a green grasshopper, and some small blue-gray butterflies that were very common there. I also saw 2 or 3 species of larger butterflies, almost certainly Papilio, but could not secure any. We bought some mangoes and a "cocur de bocuf". The former are about the size of a Bartlett pear, with a smooth yellow or orange skin, and a large pit, containing a white kernel, with a bitter taste. The edible portion, lying between the pit and the skin is soft yellow layer, full of fibers to stick between one's teeth, and with an odor like that of turpentine, but nevertheless an agreeable taste. The "cocur de bocuf" (sour sop) is a large green fruit, of an oval shape -some eight inches long- with soft green spines all over its surface. The interior consists of a sweet juicy white pulp, containing large dark seeds. Both the mango and the "cocur de bocuf" we saw growing in the village, as well as some bananas, and many coconuts. On board the ship, at lunch, we ate still another fruit, "l'avocat", about the size of a small musk-melon, smooth and

Book 1: Page 13

green on the outside, but yellow inside. When served to us, they contained no seeds, but I suspect that the interior contains a large pit. The yellow interior, at any rate, is edible, and about the consistency of cheese, but has no particular flavor at all. While we were in Freetown, we saw many chickens, some Muscovy Ducks, and about 10 turkeys. All afternoon, after leaving Freetown, the Leopoldville was followed by some 6 or 8 petrels (Oceanites?).

DATE: 6/15/1909 (Tuesday)
WEATHER: Rained all day.

No birds seen, only some porpoises.

DATE: 6/16/1909 (Wednesday)
WEATHER: Fair.
LOCALITY: Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Long. 6 degree 39 inches W, Lat. 4 degree 16 inches N. Passed Cape Palmas at about 9am.

No birds seen, only a few flying fish and a very large school of porpoises.

DATE: 6/17/1909 (Thursday)
WEATHER: Cloudy, rain in afternoon.
LOCALITY: Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Long. 1 degree 31 inches W, Lat. 3 degree 34 inches N.

No birds seen. At dusk this evening I saw a flying fish fly right across the rear of the ship. There was a strong wind blowing, and the fish came with the wind, striking a cable when about three fourths of the way across, and falling over the side into the sea again.

DATE: 6/18/1909 (Friday)
WEATHER: Partly cloudy all day.
LOCALITY: Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Long. 2 degree 6 inches E, Lat. 1 degree 21 inches 30 feet N.

Only a few flying fish, and no birds, seen today.

DATE: 6/19/1909 (Saturday)
WEATHER: Fair.
LOCALITY: Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Long. 5 degree 31 inches E, Lat. 0 degree 24 inches S.

No birds seen today.

Book 1: Page 14

DATE: 6/20/1909 (Sunday)
WEATHER: Generally fair, the air rather hazy. Came in sight of the coast late this morning, and followed along it the rest of the day.
LOCALITY: Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Long. 9 degree 25 inches E, Lat. 2 degree 24 inches S.

This morning we saw 3 or 4 gannets (Sula capensis?) and this afternoon they were very numerous, and could be seen diving continually, from the air. They would fly around about 25 feet over the water, and suddenly close their wings half way, stretch their necks out straight, and drop into the water like stones, with simply a little splash. After a few seconds they would reappear on the surface of the water, and sit there, probably eating the prey they had secured. There were birds in three different plumages; immature birds in first winter plumage, very similar to the young of S. bassana; fully adult birds, exactly like S. bassana except for the blackish tail, and with the same buff color about the head and the same grayish beak; and lastly, birds intermediate between the two above-mentioned plumages. These may have been birds of the second year, at any rate, their heads were usually of a dirty white color, and the back and wings dark brown. The fully adult birds were greatly outnumbered by the immature individuals. Shortly after sunset we passed several flocks of these gannets sitting in the water, where they perhaps intended to spend the night. The largest of these contained 76 birds. At 5:30pm three petrels (Oceanites?) were following in our wake. At about the same time I saw a flock of 7 terns, like immature black terns (Hydrochelidon) flying shoreward; and a few minutes later, a flock of some 20 terns was seen hovering over a spot where the water was agitated by a school of fish. There were some of the same sort of terns that I had just seen, and also some adult terns of the genus Sterna, about the size of S. hirundo. Three or four whales were seen from the ship this afternoon, but unfortunately I was down visiting the engine room, and did not see them. At about 8:30 this evening, a steward brought us a Wilson's petrel (Oceanites oceanicus) which had flown on board the ship.

DATE: 6/21/1909 (Monday)
WEATHER: Fair.
LOCALITY: Arrived off Loango, French Congo, about 7:30am. Cast anchor inside Banana Point about 5:30pm. Position of the "Leopoldville" at noon, Long. 11 degree 53 inches E, Lat. 5 degree 10 inches S.

We saw several gannets (Sula capensis) today. There were about three just off Banana. This morning Mr. Lang took some pictures of the petrel that was caught on board last night. I was surprised to see that it did not stand up straight on its legs at all, but usually rested on the whole length of the metatarsus. [See drawing]. In walking, however, the hells had of course to be raised a little. This bird's iris was dark brown, its bill wholly black, and its feet black, with large yellow patches on the webs. In the afternoon I made a skin of it. It was a female with a very transparent and undeveloped ovary. The stomach contained only a few small hard objects like cinders. [Seedrawing]. At Banana, this afternoon we saw several large birds of prey -about the size of Pandion- colored as shown in the above sketch. The bare skin of the face makes me think they were some kind of vulture. I also saw some terns, some large, others quite small (S. balamarum), and a very large number of swifts (Tachornis parvus). At Loango, in the morning, there was a large coelenterate -perhaps 10 or 12 inches long- swimming beside the ship. It was light brown in color, and progressed by contracting the rim of the [ ]. [See drawing]. This evening I caught a number of moths, a butterfly, and a few other insects that came on board the steamer, attracted by the lights.

Book 1: Page 15

DATE: [5/12/1942] (Tuesday)

[Periodical; maps (loose)]:

The New York Sun, Tuesday May 12, 1942. Vichy's Atlantic Outposts. Maps including Dakar, Martinique, Guadeloupe, South Atlantic Theater, French Guiana.

DATE: 6/22/1909 (Tuesday)
LOCALITY: We left Banana about 7:30 this morning, and reached Boma a little before 2 in the afternoon.

Just off Banana point a school of about a dozen large porpoises were disporting themselves. As we came up the river I saw several of the large white and black birds of prey (Gypohierax) mentioned in yesterday's notes, some unidentified swallows and terns, two large brown kites (Milvus aegyptius sp.), one small kite (Elanus), with white head and breast, and black wings, sitting in the top of a baobab tree, raising and lowering its tail continually. I saw a large gray heron, with brownish neck, and several white cattle-herons (Bubulcus) were seen by Mr. Lang. Along part of the river bank was a sandy bluff, containing numbers of small holes like bank swallow's nests; and I saw anumber of swallows from the ship, but could not tell that any of them were bank swallows. Maybe Merops malimbicus? In the afternoon, however, at Boma, I saw some swallows that were exactly like Riparia riparia in color, flight, and size. Riparia congica? Under the veranda roof at the American Consulate (Mr. Handley, Consul General), there were three swallow's nests, made of pellets of clay, with tube shaped entrance at the side. In another part of the building I saw some more of these nests that bad fallen down, and found that they were lined with grass and a few feathers. The owners of the nests were perhaps members of the genus Hirundo, H. puella. They had long forked tails which were of a metallic blue color. The upper back and wings were of the same color, but the head and rump were chestnut. The under parts were white with numerous dark streaks. The vice-consul (Mr. Kirk) showed me a few "white ant" nests, and we caught also a number of true ants. In the evening, in the grass along the shore I heard a number of animals making a peculiar noise that reminded one of cowbells. They were probably tree-frogs. Later in the evening a sound almost exactly like the song of Fowler's toad was heard in the same place.

DATE: 6/23/1909 (Wednesday)
WEATHER: Fair.
LOCALITY: We were in Boma all day. Visited the Governor General at 9am.

We walked about Boma today, saw some of the same birds as yesterday, and also a few new ones. In the afternoon, out toward the back of the town, there were 4 or 5 large swallows (Hirundo senegalensis) in the top of a tree. They were a little smaller than the purple martin, and had metallic blue backs, long forked tails, white throats and chestnut breasts. {Saw one carry excrement of young birds out of nest (doubtful)}. I also saw a medium-sized black and white kingfisher, a Ceryle (C. rudis, I guess). In the afternoon we walked over to the British Consulate, situated a little way up the river from the town. On the way we saw two columns of "army ants" crossing the path. These columns were about 1 or 1 1/2 inches in width, and the middle was composed of small individuals hurrying along, bearing white objects which prove to be their pupae. On both sides were closely packed walls of ants not moving, but evidently intended to protect the center. There were also some very large individuals, with immense jaws. We collected a number, and put them in a small bottle of alcohol, by themselves. A Negro brought a small live snake, in a beer bottle, on board today, and we bought it from him. (No. 1). It was

Book 1: Page 16

black on the back, dark gray on the belly, but near the neck had light gray bars on the sides. (A rare species, see Schmidt's report).

DATE: 6/24/1909 (Thursday)
LOCALITY: The "Leopoldville" left Boma about 6am, reached Noqui (in Angola) about 8:15am.

On the way up the river I saw about 25 of the black and white vultures which are so common along the lower Congo. At Noqui Mr. Lang and I went ashore (9:30am to 12:30pm). There were at least four kinds of swallows flying around there. First, there were many bank swallows, Riparia congica. Next there were some of the same swallows with streaked breasts, chestnut head and rump, and blue back, wings, and tail that we saw in Boma. Thirdly, we saw about three swallows like Hirundo erythrogaster, but with the tail almost square, and with the white patches on the rectrices very large. Lastly, there were a number of swallows with metallic blue backs, white bellies and throats, but chestnut crowns. [See drawings]. The commonest bird in Noqui was a little weaver bird, gray, with a blue face, breast, sides and tail. These little birds were exceedingly abundant and very tame. Two or three of them were sitting around some nests of grass in a thorn tree. {Uraeginthus angolensis}. At Noqui we also saw two black and white kingfishers (Ceryle rudis) together, and a large brown kite (Milvus parasitus). There were three species of lizards to be seen, one small, striped, and brown, very common; another medium-sized gray, mottled, saw 3 or 4; and a third, of which we saw only one individual, with a brown head, blackish body, and the tail brown near the base, but dark gray towards the tip. [See drawing]. We caught two of the small striped sort. This evening at Matadi I heard the same bell-like noise in the grass near the shore that I noticed at Boma. Ant-lion holes were very numerous in sandy places in the roads at Noqui and Boma. We caught several at Noqui.

DATE: 6/25/1909 (Friday)
WEATHER: Fair.
LOCALITY: We walked around Matadi a little today, and caught a few insects.

One of the most interesting things I saw today was a flock of five colies (Colius nigricollis) in a bush in Matadi. The positions they assumed as they climbed about were extremely peculiar. Sometimes they would hang down from a horizontal branch, again they would sit up right on it, and more rarely they would walk right up a small perpendicular branch, propping themselves up with their long wedge-shaped tails. [See drawing]. The accompanying sketch was made while I watched them. Their feet were brilliant red, the beak grayish, the face black, with a gray patch just behind. The wings, tail, and most of the body plumage were brown, lightest underneath; but the feathers of the crest were buff white. I could not see any color in the eye, so the iris was probably dark brown. Two of the birds had longer and more richly colored tails than their companions. This may have been a sexual difference, or they may have been the parents of the other three. I tried to see how they held their toes, but was unsuccessful except that I saw once that one sat with two toes in front and two behind, but the outer toe sticking somewhat sidewise, instead of straight behind. They made a scolding note, "ch-ch-ch-". The flight was quite direct, but slightly undulating. The other birds seen today were one black and white kingfisher (Ceryle?), some swallows with streaked breasts, about four swifts (Tachornis), several kinds of small weaver birds, one dull-colored sun-bird, and a few others which I could not tell anything about. I saw but one lizard today. It was sitting on a branch up in a bush, and was one of the middle sized gray sort that we saw yesterday at Noqui. In the bush where I saw the colies, there was a peculiar cocoon hanging by one end to a horizontal twig some four feet from the ground. A

Book 1: Page 17

picture of it is shown on the next page. I brought it back to the ship, laid it down, and was very much surprised, when I picked it up again to see that there was an opening near the point of its attachment to the twig, and that it closed when I picked it up. Later the caterpillar detached its cocoon from the twig and walked off with it. Both the cocoon and caterpillar were preserved. [See drawing of a plant: Psychidae]. Late this afternoon, near the dock at Matadi I found a place where there were many curious long slender grasshoppers in the grass. There were both green and brown ones, and most of them were immature, but I succeeded in finding adult specimens of both colors. [See drawing]. The usufulness of their peculiar shape was, of course, to render them less conspicuous in the grass.

 

DATE: 6/26/1909 (Saturday)
WEATHER: Sunny and hot, as usual.
LOCALITY: Spent a part of the afternoon on shore, in Matadi.

There were 2 kingfishers (Ceryle?) and a kite (Milvus) around the ship today. [See drawing]. On shore I saw a number of little weaver birds, 3 sun-birds, 4 or 5 colies (perhaps the same ones as yesterday) and the same 3 kinds of lizards that we saw in Noqui. Mr. Lang found a small brook where there were a number of frogs, but they were far too shy for me to catch.

DATE: 6/27/1909 (Sunday)
WEATHER: Fair and warm.
LOCALITY: Spent the latter part of the morning on shore.

I saw a dead snake in the street in Matadi, the same kind we bought in Boma, June 23rd, but considerably larger. On the hill behind Matadi we found about 15 very curious white ant nests, shaped exactly like gigantic mushrooms, from 8 inches to a foot high. They were made of gray clay, were very hard, and were full of little chambers, connected by small round passages thru which a single termite could just crawl. Inside one of the nests we broke open we found 3 or 4 small cocoons, perhaps of some commensal insect. [See drawing]. Many of these termite nests had stalks of grass sticking up thru them, one very large one was built against a bush, and another was constructed on the side of a stone. The very large nest mentioned as being built against a bush had a peculiar structure, like a small inverted funnel on one side. It was also made of clay, and may have served as some sort of entrance. [See drawing]. {This funnel is the entrance to the nest of Odynerus Anceps Gubodo, see way page n. 157} A number of the inhabitants of one nest were preserved. Near the place where these white ant nests were situated we saw a clump of some sort of papilionaceous bushes, in which there were a couple of dozen large beetles hanging to the flowers. Some of these beetles, the larger ones, and probably the females, were black, with a yellow spot and two yellow bars on each wing cover. The smaller ones had the marks on the wings reddish, but one of the females (?) had them decidedly orange. These insects flew readily, and made a loud buzzing noise while in the air.

DATE: 6/28/1909 (Monday)
LOCALITY: While we were walking along the railroad track in Matadi early this morning.

A vulture flew overhead -one of the black and white ones so common on the Congo (Gypohierax) and let a fish fall from its claws, which dropped within a few feet of us. The fish was only slightly mutilated, and so we preserved it (No. 16).

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DATE: 6/30/1909 (Wednesday)
LOCALITY: This morning at 6:30 we took the train from Matadi for Leopoldville, arriving at Thysville about 5:30pm.

The country is very rough all the way, but the most precipitous part, I think, is just a few kilometers outside of Matadi. As one gets farther and farther from Matadi, the vegetation increases, until most of the valleys have patches of forest, but the tops of the mountains are alwaysclothed with high grass and a few small trees and bushes. The course of the railroad is extraordinarily tortuous, in order to avoid all grades possible, but the track is well laid, and well ballasted with crushed stone. Our train consisted of an engine, a baggage car, a second-class coach, and a first-class coach. We changed engines at Songololo, but before reaching there had stopped five times to take in water, and several other times, in addition, to oil the engine, and so on. Between Songololo and Thysville we had to stop 7 times more for water. The engineer, fireman and brakemen were all Negroes. We saw a good many birds -but mostly small ones- as we passed along, many weaver-birds, 2 colies, several kites (Milvus), and four or five of the black and white vultures we saw so many of on the river. We also saw several trees full of bird's nests. Termite nests were very abundant, the majority of them being of the mushroom shape that we examined at Matadi, June 27. These were usually gray in color, but a few were built of yellowish earth. I saw a number with double roofs, from the train, and one which supported another complete, but smaller nest on its top. [See drawings]. At one of our numerous stops I had the opportunity of examining a nest with a triple roof. The other kind of termite nest seen from the train today was usually made of yellow clay, and was much more irregular in shape. Both kinds of nests were frequently seen together. I also saw some of the galleries of mud which white ants make to ascend trees and bushes. [See drawing]. On the side of one of the mushroom-shaped nests, just beneath the roof, I found a small gray lizard (gecko) clinging. It was very sluggish, and did not move when I knocked over the nest, but did try to wriggle out of my hand when I picked it up.

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