clouds over the western range.
_14th_. - Beautifully clear, a genuine spring beauty on all sides.
The common _Maina_ of these parts is a gregarious bird, which feeds
generally on the ground, but is rarely associated with cattle, to which
the Indian species are so addicted: this is an intelligent bird, although
from its nature not unnecessarily shy.
It is fond of singing; its notes are very varied, but not very musical,
including all sorts of intonations.
While so employed, the bird every now and then bobs his head suddenly
down three or four times, much for the same purpose perhaps, as our
public singers in the production of certain notes. I do not know whether
these actions of the bird are really associated with particular notes,
although they generally seem to accompany certain very flat and very base
notes, not unlike the clerk of a coachman.
The snow is rapidly disappearing, rain having a most powerful effect even
at the summit of the pine ridges: it is fast melting, and no new snow has
fallen, although it has been raining occasionally during the last three
days, and the sun has been altogether obscured.
Generally on the high Kuttoor range, fresh snow has fallen, a proof of
the great height of that range.
Two species of Corydalis, the first Iris and Colchicum I had found in
Kaffiristan. Corydalis is another analogy with the genuine Himalayan
Jackals were heard here for the first time, although they were heard many
days ago at Pushut.
_15th_. - The antilopoid animal called Suja, has horns both on the male
and female, it occurs in small herds fifteen to twenty in the wooded
mountains, its hair is of the same structure as in the Moschiferus
antilope; colour brown. Height to the shoulder two feet six inches; its
height does not increase or decrease perceptibly behind; length of neck
seven inches. Length of back from root of tail to nape of neck two feet
The Lophophorus is called _Moorghi Zureem_, it is a very gorgeously
coloured bird, but of heavy make; the tail is always carried erect.
Length of body two feet one inch; the girth of the body at the shoulder
including wings, seventeen to eighteen inches. Length of neck from
commencement of the crest to the base of the under mandible, five to six
The bird is not uncommon, being found on all the hills about here, and
apparently at no great elevations.
_16th_. - The _Ungoor_, Ficus cordifolia is the first tree that buds. The
Platanus, _Thagur_; Morus coming into flower, vegetation being very
A captive fox brought in, a fine and a handsome animal, with greyish fur
inclining to fuscous on the back, and with blackish points at the back of
ears, which are large, and dark-brown; eyes light yellowish-brown.
Measured as follows from: -
Shoulder to base of tail, 1 feet 3 inches.
Shoulder to tip of nose, 1 feet 0 inches.
Height at shoulder, 1 feet 4 inches.
Height at loins, 1 feet 6.5 inches.
Total length, 3 feet 8 inches.
Length of tail, 1 feet 7 inches.
There is also a nocturnal beast here which has a voice something like a
jackal, but more of a bark. Shot one of the small grey, white-rumped
water robins, which was examining a wall for insects, and fluttering
about the holes in it. I saw two Carbos (cormorants), distinct from any
I had hitherto seen, very black, with some white marks. The common black
one also occurs.
_17th_. - Proceeded to Chugur Pair; the time occupied by the journey,
excluding stoppages, was two hours and four minutes, at the rate of three
and a quarter miles an hour.
Tulipa in abundance in fields, a beautiful species, external sepals rosy
outside, odour faint but sweet.
On a ridge near Chugur Pair is a curious ruin, viz. a long wall.
The mountain is too high to enable me to say what it is like. The tulip
has a tendency to produce double flowers: one specimen seen with a
regular three-leaved perianth, eight stamina, and four carpellary ovary,
angles opposite the outer perianth leaves; the upper leaf or bract has a
tendency to become petaloid. If the anthers are pulled, the filaments
are separated from them and remain as subulate white pointed processes.
_19th_. - Labiata, Ocymoidea, Salvia! erect, ramose, foliis rugosis,
verticillatis; spicatis racemosis. _Cal_. bilabiata supra planisculis,
medio carinatus, _Cor_. pallida, caerulea, bilabiata, labio superiora
subfornicata: lateralibus subrevolutis. See Catalogue No. 52, in fields
Chugur Pair, common on grassy banks.
A curious tendency is observed in Pomaceae, Ceraseae to have the stamina
of the same colour as the petals, thereby _showing their origin_? How
is it explained that in some transformations of this, the anthers alone
are petaliformed, while in others both filament and anther are equally
and primarily affected.
The female Lophophorus has been living on nothing for at least a week;
its voice is various, sometimes not unlike that of a large hawk, at
others a cackle, or low chuckle; occasionally it runs forward, erecting
its crest, and spreading out its tail like a fan, the _tail being_
_depressed_. I fancy it roosts in trees not unlike certain pigeons,
Haematornis one species come in, this genus I think represents Parus: it
has the same fluttering clinging habits, it often sallies forth like
Merops after insects, the genus is remarkable for the yellow or red
colour of the under tail-covers, it is a noisy bird, and not wary until
so taught by experience. I doubt its power of singing. The so called
Bulbul, _hazari dastar_, the famous songster, is not a real _bulbul_,
but either Alaudina or a stonechat.
With Haematornis has appeared a fine Merops, of which I have not yet got
a specimen; its habits were quite those of Merops, and it made the same
noise: it occurred with Haematornis.
Chugur is a large extent of ruins, traces of paths are visible leading to
the houses, mere huts built of slabs of slate. There is one square part
remaining much like the base of one of the topes to which it assimilates;
the building, is of slabs of wood and stone, intervening. What could
have induced the Mussulmans to build on such horridly hard barren and hot
places, with no water near? or did they occupy places taken from the
_Kafirs_. The latter I should think most likely from the names, which
are evidently _Kafir_.
_20th_. - The bird alluded to yesterday, was again seen to-day. I
remember shooting the same species at elevations of 8,000 feet in Bootan,
in oak forests. It has the habits of Merops, with its voice or chirp,
and is very gregarious, so that one part of the flock will not separate
from the rest. It perches in a very erect manner making swoops and
sallies after insects precisely as Merops. Plumage sombre, general
colour slaty, quills and crest blackish, bill and feet orange, tail
Is this bird of the sub-family Brachypodinae, or is it a Fissirostral
bird; the wings, although graduated as to the two first quills (the first
being half spurious) are still long, and may be called pointed. It
obviously has much analogy? with the Drongo shrikes in habits, and in
forked tail: as well as in lengthened body? Both it and Haematornes are
very local, none being found here but just around a village called
Pillipote, a favourite station - Zaitoon trees, or naked Bakkeins.
Haematornis I have seen feeding on the ground, this species has the same
voice as that of the genus generally.
The yellowish _Bunting-like_ water-wagtail, is very common just now: it
occurs in wheat fields; flight, chirp, and mode of getting up when
disturbed just as in the Buntings.
Weather very unsettled, heavy rain and thunder last night, and now
threatening a gale.
_21st_. - Returned towards Pushut: a Lanius, but not the one shot, was
seen near the road in bushes.
_22nd_. - Of the four red-billed Shrikes, two are male and female, sexes
alike, stomach fleshy like that of Haematornis, but food entirely
vegetable: the two female stomachs contained each a seed of the _Bukkein_
(Melia): the two males contained fragments of buds, perhaps of a willow,
but not a vestige of an insect, so their swooping and sallying is a mere
analogical representation of Merops. In Haematornis contents of stomach
chiefly vegetable, partly of insects.
_26th_. - Very rainy and unsettled weather, thunder and lightning.
_27th_. - -Clearing up: heavy rain in some parts of the night, otherwise
_28th_. - A beautiful morning. Went to Kooner, distance twelve to
thirteen miles: for three miles the road was dangerous but tolerably
decent, no defiles being passed, in which murderers were likely to lurk,
very little difference in seasons between this and Pushut.
_29th_. - Returned again to Pushut. The country about Pushut is one sheet
of cultivation, studded with trees; so thick are these that few villages
are discernible in consequence. Nothing particularly notable occurred,
except that a tulip is common in the fields about Kooner, but not found
in those about Pushut: it occurs also with Amaryllideae, which is
likewise a stranger to Pushut. What is the reason of the ruined forts so
common in this country? One would think that it were useless to pull
down or destroy a good fort, when it is the intention of building
another, so that they are scarcely to be accounted for from a succession
The country has, and always will be, a distracted one. I observe that in
all parts approaching mountains, in which the chief danger of robbery
exists, that there are generally people and especially boys tending
cattle, so that they must probably be familiar with robberies and
murders, and seeing these done so openly, so easily, and so securely,
they may well be imagined to become ready scholars. So even if the stock
already existing in the robbers' sons, etc., were deficient, others would
be found ready to take up the profession. The Kooner Dhurrah, or valley,
is a very fine one, it is a good instance of the peculiar kind of slope
or _talus_, so common in this country. The soil in such places being so
stony as to be useless for cultivation. Low parts entering into the
valley become useful for wheat, that is, if rain falls early, these
Dhurrahs are formed or filled by debris from the surrounding hills,
carried down by torrents, which are constantly changing their beds, the
outline of the edge is circular, such as that of a sand bank at the mouth
of a river, the finer particles being of course carried furthest down.
The Kooner valley may be considered as the second; the Shaiwa distinct
forming the first; it continues as far as the bend to Chugur Pair; its
beginning is close to Kooner village, near the ferry where the valley is
_31st_. - The beautiful Smyrna kingfisher of India, with metallic plumage,
chocolate-brown underneath, occurs at Kooner.
The common kite is very expert in seizing objects with its claws while
flying: as is the Pondicherry falcon. They are often seen about standing
water, fishing I fancy with their claws for shells, etc. on the surface.
The late rain has caused a torrent down Dhurrah Bader, and the fields and
low grounds about Choke have been inundated; about these spots, birds
have collected in numbers, the common crow taking advantage of the
circumstance had turned as it were, kingfisher, swooping about like the
kite. There were two species of Laridae, neither of which I had seen
before, several small Tringae, the very long red shanked bird, Hematopus?
the metallic Tantalus, common, jack-snipe, and hosts of Budytes, which
were busily employed flying and flitting about after insects. Edolius
occurs at Kooner as well as here. The number of birds is small
certainly, although the trees, etc. are now in full leaf: no new birds
seem to have come in, except the dove, and Edolius; neither Haematornis
nor Brachypus yet observed, one or two fresh species of Alaudina, and
stonechats have made their appearance. It is curious that the larks do
not remain above a few days, none are to be seen now, that the crops are
barely a foot high.
The female Monaul is going on well, though obliged to be crammed, for
though it takes water voluntarily it will not take food. It is a very
domestic bird, and fond of notice, its voice on such occasions is
pleasing, on some others very harsh and hawk or eagle-like. Its manners
are curious, depressing its tail, and arching its neck, and pecking at
imaginary objects in a curious way. From the expressive manner in which
it looks up at sunset on surrounding objects, especially trees, it is
obviously accustomed to roost.
_April 1st_. - Pushut Fort.
_4th_. - Weather unsettled: a slight rumbling sound of an earthquake was
felt yesterday evening, the atmosphere at the time being very close: this
was succeeded by a squall. Strong winds are prevalent, generally
easterly: clear sunshine is evidently of rare continuance at Pushut:
little snow remains except towards Bharawul.
I was much struck this morning with the entire disappearance of a green
mantle of Confervoid scum from the surface of a foul pool close to my
quarters. Yesterday the pool was quite green, now there is no green, nor
any traces of the scum except such portion as was not in the water but
round the margins.
_6th_. - Proceeded to Chugur-Serai, which place was reached after marching
3 h. 10 m. at three miles an hour. Ocharrye one of the peaks near this
is deep in snow; it is much higher than Speencas. The season here is now
nearly as forward as it is at Kooner, although on my last visit sixteen
days ago, it was fifteen days behind, but the narrowness of the valley
must increase the heat much.
Great delay occurred in crossing the Pushut river, which is much swollen
from the heavy rain on the 4th. Thunder and hailstone common, clear days
decidedly rare in the spring of these parts.
Edolius occurs here, another stonechat has come in.
_7th_. - Proceeded to Otipore, which took 8 h. 9 m. to perform the
journey; very unsettled weather. Yesterday several thunderstorms, and
_10th_. - Clearing up, went to Bharawul; and returned on the 12th. I was
much disappointed at the paucity of forms, for I did not get ten species,
not met with before. The flora of the fir woods amounts to almost
nothing, Colchicum straggles up now and then, this and a grass or Carex,
a Caprifoliaceous shrub, and Cotoneaster of Tazeen, and Fragaria are the
only forms. The oak as it gets to higher altitudes assumes a different
form, probably it is a different species, for the leaves are much less
coriaceous, and are not glaucous underneath, otherwise there is little
difference between it and the common Baloot, the chief plants found
occurred in the clearings, which surround Bharawul to some extent.
Alliaria is very common; also Tulipa. In this variety the dehiscence of
the anthers continues until, from a single simple pore, a line reaching
nearly the whole length of the anther is formed: a very pretty and sweet
smelling Anemone common, Viola, Rumex, Thalictrum a rather fine species,
Hedera, Rubia cordifolia, Valeriana, Corydalis, Fragaria, Thlaspidea,
Sambucus, Ebulus adonis, Berberis, Equisetum, Clematis, Urtica urens,
were noticed, either in cultivation or on the edge of the clearings. Poor
as the flora is, I see no chance of its promising much variety, for I
observe few other plants showing themselves: several ferns were met with
in moist places, and under rocks, two Asplenia, one undetermined;
Aspidioides very common in some places, but of last year.
The soil is deepish and good, when wet it is subtenacious. The _Nukhtur_
is a large tree, seventy to eighty feet high; one of an average size
measured fourteen feet in girth, four feet from the base. The slopes of
the mountain are steep, and the ravines very rocky: on the ridges between
these, the ground is covered with soil. Colchicum observed as high as
7,500 feet. I returned another way, keeping along the large ravine that
drains the mountain to the north, and which falls into the Otipore river,
Buddlea was noticed at 5,800 feet, Hyacinthus throughout from this to
Bharawul; _Nurgiss_ 5,800 feet, Impatiens the same as the species below
5,000, Myrsinea ditto, Fraxinus is very common about 4,000 feet, it is
very easily mistaken for the Xanthoxylon, which appears common over most
parts of Khorassan. The range of the Cytisus, which is a beautiful sweet
smelling shrub, is extensive, it may be included here between 3,000 and
7,000 feet: associated with it between 4,000 to 4,500 feet is a Caragana,
and about this occurs a fine Salveoideo-Dracocephalum.
The limit of the Baloot may be taken at 4,000 feet, but in sheltered
ravines it descends lower.
Euonymus _Moamunna_, Periplocea, scarcely extend above 4,000 feet,
neither do the spirescent Astragali, these are succeeded by two or three
espinous species, one the same as the Astragalus stipulis magnis of the
river towards Pironi. Amygdalus ranges between 3,500 and 7,000 feet, the
pretty Cerasus does not extend above 4,000 feet. There appears to be
another Amygdalus above.
The chief vegetation of the mountain below 6,000 feet appears to be a
tufted coarse Andropogoneous grass, and in such situations as this
occupies, little soil is to be found; the Baloot, and Zaitoon, are
confined to sheltered places. Above they occur indiscriminately on all
faces, but Zaitoon is rare at such elevations; few birds were observed,
the most common about Bharawul are an Emberizoid and a Certhia? Muscicapa
flammea was seen at 7,000 feet in pine forests with several Sittae: in
these forests and about Bharawul, only one Garrulus was heard, and few
woodpigeons were seen. The Picus is still common, Myophorus now extends
up to Bharawul. Parus caeruleus still continues. Another female
Nemorrhaedus is brought in with young: the breeding time probably takes
place two months later. The Merula before found below, now occurs in
flocks about Bharawul.
According to the natives there is only about twenty days difference in
the seasons of cutting wheat and barley; this is probably not true, yet
it is borne out by the Tulip, Cytisus and Hyacinth.
The village has been founded five years since, and contains 180 souls.
The burial ground contains sixteen graves, which will give the annual
percentage of mortality. At Otipore the mortality is said to be great.
Whence do these people get their curious grey eyes, and light hair?
Daphne extends to Bharawul.
_14th_. - The kingcrow is now in here, also Columba, and Lanius; this last
has an unceasing jarring chirp, it has however considerable powers of
Sitta feeds on seeds as well as on insects, but the structure of its
stomach is insectivorous.
The female Monaul died yesterday. I heard some of these birds in the
pine forests of Bharawul, their voice being very loud and grating; the
female was a good tempered bird, capable of attachment, when caressed its
notes were pleasing.
_15th_. - The Hoopoe seen; another fish brought in to-day, the usual
mountainous form, but with a very rough nose.
The Edolius is here the earliest and the latest daily bird. I observed
several to-day on a tree making a great noise with their harsh chirp, at
each chirp the tail was for the instant jerked out like a fan.
_17th_. - A single parrot seen flying overhead.
_19th_. - What is the bodily strength of man to that of insects! I have
just been watching an ant dragging the body of a hornet, many times
larger than itself, up a door with the greatest ease; so much so, that
after dragging it up three feet, it came down to alter its position,
carrying it up a second time by its wing: the ant was of a large species.
_23rd_. - Pastor came in to-day, an elegant bird, eyes nearly white,
tinged with grey; legs and beak yellow, base of gape leaden-blue,
junction of yellow and blue parts greenish!
_26th_. - Mango bird first seen today, another dove came in about the
23rd. Quail coming in, Pastor roseus.
Every plant from the Kafir hills convinces me that they are Himalayan in
their features, and that about this the transition between the American
and genuine European forms takes place. Thus I have seen Asperula, two
and three European looking Ranunculi.
Cratoegus, etc. in addition to the other forms, before alluded to.
There is a rather fine _sissoo_ near Sheargar, it is curious that it is
later in coming into leaf than any other tree. Does this indicate its
being of a more tropical nature than the others? on the contrary, the
Bukkeim is now in flower, also Citrus.
The Affghans are fond of Amaryllideae, _Gratool_, _Goolab_, and Lonicera,
in the season of the two former, every one met has a bunch placed over
Observed to-day a curious monstrosity of the ovula of the Lonicera of
this place, from which it is evident, that the ovule represents a bud;
the funicle the _stalk_; the teguments convolute leaves, and the nucleus
the punctum of growth.
Every variation was observed, generally the more leafy the outer tegument
the greater was the degree of straightness of the funicle, and the
abortion of the nucleus.
_29th_. - To Chugur-Serai.
_June 5th_. - Arrived at Cabul.
The whole country between Khuggur and Koord Cabul, even including the
high ground of this, or Huft-Kotul, presents the same formation, but from
Khuggur it rises gradually, and beyond Gundamuck loses all characters of
tabularity, it consists of sand, overlying which is a bed of blocks or
often of boulders; in this sand, which is here and there easily
pulverised, (in other places it is pressed as it were into slabs of no
great thickness;) layers or beds of conglomerate frequently occur, either
regularly or irregularly; in one case two conglomerated beds approached
at an angle and then united.
The framework or base of the country is generally limestone, sometimes
slate which presents every variety of distortion, the strata being often
vertical and wavy, no dykes were observed. The older rocks are generally
completely covered by sand and shingle, or stones; but as we approach the
boundaries of the valleys, they protrude into ridges, often of
considerable size and height. The valleys however are not entirely
bounded by these to the west, for as I have said, the plain of Koord
Cabul is reached by crossing undulations of this same formation. From
Khuggur to Gundamuck, about five stony steppes are crossed, each rising
in height above the last, and each separated by deep ravines, with one or
both banks generally precipitous, affording exit to streamlets from the
Sofaid-Koh. It is curious that the streamlets, and streams about
Gundamuck have not worn themselves half as deep channels as those about
Khuggur, although no appreciable difference is apparent in the strata.
The surface is often rendered rugged in places by the occurrence of loose
slabs, which give the appearance of stratification to the rocks.
It appears to me that the whole of the extreme eastern Khorassan
originally was a bed of stones or boulders, overlying a formation of pure
sand, and that its irregular surface is due to the subsequent upheavement
of the foundation ridges. The good soil is in such case necessarily
confined to the immediate neighbourhood of the streams, etc. descending
from those ridges.
The following is a section exposed on the north boundary of the valley,
not far from Jugdulluck: -
[Section of valley near Jugdulluck: m476.jpg]
The whole tract is devoid of trees, until one nears Jugdulluck, when not
only the foundation rocks, but also the stony undulated hills are dotted
with stunted trees of Baloot and Xanthoxylon. Tufted Andropogoneous
grasses form the prevailing feature, AErua also is common along the
streams: and wherever the ground retains moisture, Typha latifolia
abounds with the usual frequenters of watery spots. The road to
Gundamuck, especially the ascent of the two last steppes, is infamous;
but the regular Jallalabad road is good, having only one descent to
Neemla, and an easy ascent from that place, and thence it is over a
gentle declivity to Futtehabad.
The spurs from the Sofaid-Koh are very numerous, and the ravines they
form show the great quantity of water derived from this ridge, their
direction is N. 45, E. The direction of the streams after emerging from
the lower ridges continues about the same.
The Cabul and Soorkhab rivers debouche at a much greater angle. Their
direction being 95, E. The waters of both are turbid, but those of the
latter are reddish.
Throughout the valley of Jallalabad cultivation extends alone along the