This weekly "Nature News Notes" is part of a free nature guide service carried on by the National Park Service as a part of their educational work and is intended to help our visitors better appreciate what they see. This work also includes illustrated lectures on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 o'clock. Nature Guide Field trips on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 10 A.M., and a reading room, museum and information service at the Park Naturalist's office. Some 22,000 people have already availed themselves of this privilege so far this season and we hope you will also.
The epilobium or fireweed is at present the most conspicuous flower along the highway. Masses of these beautiful flame colored flower bloom from sea level to timberline, especially along roads and in burnt-over areas. The Silver Forest below Narada Falls is richly carpeted with a white and red design of Pearly Everlasting and epilobium. Not only is the plant common here but it is one of the most plentiful and widespread flowers known, being found in a wide belt clear around the world. In Central Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Siberia and the Scandinavian peninsulas it is very plentiful. There are also several other smaller species of the same genus found in the Park.
A twelve inch Eastern brook trout from Reflection Lake that has been kept during the season in the aquarium in the naturalist's office along with some smaller fish of the same species has given us a splendid opportunity to observe their habits. This particular fish has become quite tame. He will strike at most anything from a finger to a salamander half his length. He is fed on insects, berries, pieces of meat and worms, yet never seems to get enough of anything. With the other fish, however, he is not so friendly, keeping them in constant fear by chasing them and biting them at every opportunity. Special methods have to be employed to feed the smaller fish because of the greedy habits of the twelve inch trout.
Members of a recent nature guide trip had a splendid opportunity to observe a very interesting bird--the water ouzel or dipper in Edith Creek. This large member of the wren family is very common along the swift streams of the Park but is seldom seen so far up the valley. They stay with us throughout the year and their beautiful wren-like song is sometimes heard in mid-winter. Their peculiar habits of dipping and flirting their tail every time they perch on a rock, of seeking their food under water and of building their nests of growing moss under cascades where they have to dart through the falling water to reach it, all add to the interest of this peculiar little bird. They are a dark slate color, two-thirds the size of a robin and are always found near water.
The little cony or rock rabbit is very active this time of year gathering together all sorts of green stuff and piling it on the rocks to cure for the winter's food supply. This interesting rabbit is only about the size of a guinea pig and is a great "singer". He can be seen or heard on any rock slide above the belt of dense forests.
There seems to have been a good crop of marmots, chipmunks, snowshoe rabbits and ground squirrels this season from the numbers of half grown young that are seen daily now.
On several occasions the last two weeks, cougar and wild cats have been reported around Lake Louise by fisherman spending the night there. Incidently some good catches of trout have been made there recently.
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