Nature Notes

Vol. XIII June - 1935 No. 2

Just Here and There

It didn't look much like the first day of spring but March 21 certainly had some indications of that season. On that date, near the Nisqually River bar just south of the Entrance Station, we discovered the first flower. There was more than the usual amount of snow at that point but this flower was blooming in a small patch of sandy soil that was free from winter's grasp. It was a member of the Composite or Sunflower family - the Coltsfoot (Petasites nivalis). This plant is invariably the first to bloom within park boundaries and while not very beautiful in itself, is the advance guard of Mt. Rainier's floral hosts. (CFB)

- oOo-

Hardly before the ink was dry on the last issue of Nature Notes the first bear tracks of the season were seen. February 27 was the date and the place was that odiforous spot - the garbage dump. (CFB)


Northern red-breasted sapsucker

NORTHERN RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER. (Sphyrapicus varius ruber). Often seen during the past winter along Bear Prairie trail near the park boundary.


mountain goat

One day in February District Ranger Oscar Sedergren stepped out of his cabin to see, of all things, a Mountain Goat (Oreamnos m. montanus) standing in the middle of the snow-blocked highway a short distance away. Oscar gave chase and the goat retreated at a rapid rate along the packed snow of the trail. What Oscar would have done with the animal had he caught it is a mystery, but the goat took care of that problem nicely by quickly putting considerable distance between him and his pursuer. He finally changed his course and began climbing laboriously through the soft snow upon the nearby hillside, pushing through the fringe of timber toward the "high country" from where he had evidently come. Oscar's station, during the winter, is at the White River Entrance at an elevation of 3500 feet. The goat had probably come from the Cascade Range, the summit of which serves as the eastern boundary of the park. (C.F.B.)


Oscar Sedergren's goat brings to mind that, on occasion in winter, these animals are seen at elevations below their usual haunts. One was seen by the road maintenance crew on the west side highway early in the spring several years ago, just below Round's Pass (at about 3500') and they have been reported on the Nisqually road on occasion between Longmire and the Glacier Bridge. Goat have also been frequently observed in the lower part of Stevens Canyon (3000') and in the vicinity of the Box Canyon on the Muddy Fork of the Cowlitz River (3000'). Generally they winter in a place that, while at lower elevation than their summer abode, is just as inaccessible, as far as two legged animals like you and I are concerned, as are the high rocky crags which they frequent in the more favored seasons. Cougar Rock, (3500') a short distance above Longmire is one place where they are observed and hardly do we drive down the road to the Nisqually Entrance but we see a few of these interesting animals high up on the rocky east face of Tum Tum Mt. This last named winter refuge is many hundreds of feet above the highway and about 3500-4000 feet above sea level. (C.F.B.)


Nutcrackers, commonly called Clark's Crow, are quite common in the Hudsonian regions about Mount Rainier. At Paradise Valley they are probably the most conspicuous bird, both in winter and in summer, but it is very rare indeed if they are observed at lower elevations. Nevertheless, two of these birds visited the feeding board at the writer's home for a few moments on March 14. They stayed only a short time, then left for parts unknown. (C.F.B.)


Most everyone who visits the Park - especially during early summer - has an opportunity to get acquainted with the Blue Grouse or "hooter" (Dendragapus fuliginosus fuliginosus) by means of this bird's peculiar ventriloquil call. These birds, are quite numerous at that time about Paradise. Comparatively few park visitors see another member of the grouse family which prefers the climate of the lower elevations - the Oregon Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus sabini). This species is not as numerous and because of the average visitor's hurry to get to the end of the highway it often passes unnoticed. On March 21 we saw a beautiful male of this species at Sunshine Point near the Nisqually Entrance and later in the month - March 27 - we again saw the bird along with several hens at the same point. (C.F.B.)


Museum Accessions and Donations

Dedicated to public service and the development of a greater appreciation of the National Parks by the people of the nation, the Naturalist Department of Mt. Rainier National Park has been materially aided by thoughtful donations from those whom it has served in the past. Books on natural history, on the human history of the Pacific Northwest, on Indian lore; interesting historical photographs or news clippings relative to the Park and magazines such as Nature, National Geographic, American Forests, Natural History, Bird Lore and the like have swelled our library and have facilitated a better presentation of the interesting features of this park to our visiting public through the various mediums at our command.

The Naturalist Department takes this opportunity to thank those who have contributed to the museum or the museum library since February 1, 1935. (C.F.B.)


A group of 32 government bulletins relative to animal life and ap plicable to the fauna of Mount Rainier National Park. Through N.P.S. headquarters Washington. 2/6/35
"A Study of the Life History and Food Habits of the Mule Deer in California" - Dixon. Joseph S. Dixon. 2/21/35
"A History of Scott's Bluff, Nebraska" - Brand. N.P.S. Field Division of Education. 3/5/35
"Material Culture of the Pima, Papago and Western Apache" - Beals. N.P.S. Field Division of Education. 3/8/35
"The Blackfoot" - Seward. N.P.S. Field Division of Education. 3/8/35
"Wings Over Land and Sea" - Pollock. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Nash. 4/3/35
National Geog. Mag, - 8 issues. Fred Bussey. 4/19/35
"Amphibians of North America" - Slevin. C. F. Brockman. 4/30/35
National Geog. Mag, - 11 issues. C. F. Brockman. 4/30/35
National Geog. Mag, - 22 issues. Natt N. Dodge. 5/8/35
Nature Magazines - 29 issues. Elizebeth E. Morse. 5/17/35
American Forests Mag. - 36 issues Elizebeth E. Morse. 5/21/35
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