This volume is what its name suggests, I t is a record of observations in natural science. I t is an endeavor to gather many and varied facts into one common theme. The observations which it describes have been collected at intervals between the years 1914 and 1916 in the Himalayan valley of Hazara. They have been made slowly, gathered intermittently and then arranged with some attempt at order so as to appear in a collected whole.
My narrative will fall into different parts in accordance as my observations refer to different forms of animal life. I will commence with a brief description of the valley itself in order that the reader may appreciate the more striking geographical features of the district in which the subsequent observations were made. I n the next four chapters I will discuss the' habits, instincts and general economy of certain species of ants that are to be found everywhere in the valley. I will then pass to a series of observations on the natural history of spiders, especially with . regard to the wonderful geometrical powers employed in the construction of their circular snares. I n the tenth, eleventh and twelfth chapters I have collected a number of varied facts and suggestions that relate to the economy of insect life. In the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters I have discussed some matters of interest with respect to the mammals and birds of the valley, while in the last chapter I have endeavored to describe in simple language the essential features of its- rocky structure and the sequence of changes through which it has passed in the long lapse of geological time.
My interest has been chiefly directed towards the habits of animals, especially in so far as they relate to the psychology of instinct. The book contains nothing of a pure systematic nature. My object is to give some impression of the more striking manifestations of life that are to be seen in a Himalayan valley. So many of my observations are concerned with insects and other humble forms that it may be thought I have paid them undue attention when compared with my record of the mammals and .birds, But it needs only the slightest insight to the works of Nature to see how wonderful she is even in her very simplest types.
I have had drawings made of those species to which I have given most attention, and trust that these will add interest to the subject matter of the text. The few photographs of scenery which I have introduced do not in all cases bear directly on the chapters in which they appear. Their object is to give the reader some impression of the rugged features of the Himalaya.
I cannot expect that my record is likely to interest any but those who have a special taste for Natural History, and have bestowed some little observation on it .. Nevertheless I have endeavored to express myself in untechnical language, confident that a subject, because it is intelligible, is none the less scientific or exact. I have not tried to escape from theory, nor have I refrained from forming an hypothesis where it has seemed to be justified by facts. The volumes of reference at my disposal have been few; and indeed if my work has any merit, it must rest in the fact that almost all it contains has been taken not from the works of others but rather from what Nature in her goodness has thought it fitting to disclose.
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