Fox seem to be becoming more readily visible about Longmire. In the past their tracks bespoke their presence but it was not until the past few years that any number of residents here were favored by a sight of these animals. This winter a beautiful Silver Fox has been seen on numerous occasions and often he approaches quite near the homes, apparently unafraid of the rigors of civilized life.
Another animal that apparently is on the increase in the park is the Oregon or Ruffed Grouse. During the past year a greater number of these birds have been seen than ever before for it wasn't very long ago that they were considered scarce. In fact three Ruffed Grouse were seen along the highway a few weeks ago and showed no signs of fear at our approach. These birds are relatives of the Blue Grouse, or Hooter, which is so plentiful in the Hudsonian meadows during the summer.
Park children at the Nisqually Entrance received their best thrill of the holiday season on New Year's Day when old "Buck" returned to his winter range. Old "Buck" is a Columbia Black-tailed Deer who was found exhausted and starving in the deep snow last winter and was fed and cared for until spring when he followed the herd to the upper slopes of the mountain.
Old "Buck" had not been seen since he left for the summer ranges and it was feared that he had crossed the park boundary and there met the fate of so many of his kind. A picture which appeared in a local newspaper during the hunting season showing a fine 5-point buck and his proud (?) killer tended to confirm the worst fears, but when he returned proudly bearing a 6-point set of antlers and again started his daily rounds of friendly back-door calls, one youngster exclaimed:
"Gee, old Buck is too wise to be caught by hunters. I'll bet he has been helping Santa Claus!"
Beaver in the park seem to be taking advantage of the depression. Within the last two years beaver colonies here have built more lodges than had been built up to that time during he depression when building material and supplies were cheap and easy to get. Additions have been built onto old lodges as well as many other improvements are in evidence.
As a rule our beaver seek their protection by burrowing into the banks, but two very recent houses were built out in the open water. One of them was constructed around a badly decayed stump which was crumbling away. The lodge was built closely around it leaving a small portion of stump sticking out of the center, the lodge itself extending as high as five feet above the water.
Two valuable reels of 16mm. films were recently added to the park movie library through the cooperation of Mr. Joseph Yolo of the Yakima Film Laboratories of Yakima, Washington. One reel covers subjects of a general nature including glimpses of outstanding scenic features, flowers, forests, wild life, and activities of the park personnel, while the other covers a series of remarkable winter scenes and winter patrol work of park rangers.
During his service as Temporary Ranger, Mr. Yolo has had exceptional opportunities for filming the outstanding features of the mountain, the wild life, forests, flowers, etc. His patrol work has taken him to all sections of the park and to many districts seldom seen by park visitors. In addition to his complete files of national park films Mr. Yolo has numerous scenic and industrial features of the Pacific Northwest.
The two reels just received, and several others that are being prepared by Mr. Yolo, will be used by the Naturalist Department to illustrate nature talks and at camp fire entertainments.
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