Past Perfect: Flora and Fauna of Mt. Sedom
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Henry Baker Tristram (1822–1906) was an English clergyman, Biblical scholar, world traveler and ornithologist.
He studied at Durham School and Lincoln College, Oxford, was ordained a priest and eventually served as canon of Durham Cathedral in 1873. He was secretary to the governor of Bermuda from 1847 to 1849.
Tristram co-founded the British Ornithologists Union and sold his extensive collection of birds to the World Museum Liverpool. Tristram’s starling, Tristram’s warbler and Tristram’s woodpecker are a few birds named for him.
During several trips to Palestine between 1858 and 1881, Tristram observed, documented and collected species in their natural habitat, making him a pioneer of Palestine zoology. Following are excerpts from one of his many travelogues, The Land of Israel, a Journal of Travels in Palestine (1865), representing his observations and methods. This extract is from a trip near the Dead Sea noting his impressions of various flora and fauna around Mt. Sedom (“Jebel Usdum”).

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