Nature Notes

Vol. XIV March - 1936 No. 1

Just Here and There

Six raccoons were seen coming out of the woodshed back of the community kitchen at Longmire, August 15, 1935. The young at about that time of the year are nearly full grown so it was hard to tell whether they were all adults or young. It may have been a mother and her young. Quadruplets were also seen near the cottages back of the Inn while two sets of triplets were noticed at different places. Twins, however, are quite rare. Only the singletons are real large so it is possible that these coons from the woodshed were not quintuplets. (Julius Hoverson)


The Park's most picturesque bird, the Bald Eagle, was seen quite frequently last summer on our all-day nature hikes. On several occasions this bird was watched while soaring over Eagle Peak. This peak, the westernmost of the Tatoosh Range, is clearly visible from Longmire, and once an Eagle was observed up there from the National Park Service headquarters. A nature party on the trail to Van Trump Park was greatly interested in watching through binoculars a large eagle wheeling constantly over the hilltop near Comet Falls. It is gratifying that our national bird is now being seen oftener in the Park than in recent years. (Alton A. Lindsey)


If last summer can be used as any kind of a barometer for this coming summer, a good place to observe the habits of some of the mammals will be back of the Inn and around the cottages at Longmire. The two most common visitors we had were, of course, the bears and the raccoons. The bears gave us a good cross section of their breed because so many different individuals came to pay their respects - to the garbage can. On the day of our arrival an old mother bear wouldn't let me unload the provisions from my car. She was hungry and wanted them for herself and her two little cubs which watched from a safe distance. A large male raccoon that lived under the back porch of the kitchen became very obliging. The chef at the cafeteria had won his confidence and named him "Oscar". At the sound of his name he would come out from under the porch even in the daytime. In this way we obtained some very good movies of him. Fortunately, the little white-footed mouse didn't bother us in the cabin because the little weasel that lived in the rock wall near the clothes was doing his best to decrease their number. Sometimes its big cousin, the Puget Sound Weasel, was seen dashing across the open area between the cabins. What his errand was or where he lived remained a secret for the summer for he was so seldom seen.

The interesting little chipmunk was an early morning caller for one of the neighbor ladies. Each morning for two months he preferred his breakfast of rice from her leap. From the middle of June till the middle of August he consumed two and a half pounds of that cereal.

A Douglas squirrel at our place preferred graham crackers but got them without our consent. One day when the house was empty, he chewed his way through the mosquito netting on the open window, and then proceeded to the cracker box and carried away most of the contents after opening up a huge gap on the side.

The golden-mantled ground squirrel and the Columbia black-tailed deer were especially friendly. For about two weeks during the middle of the summer a doe and her two fawns would come begging to the door. Their favorite food was salted soda wafers. Probably the most interesting sight of the summer was seeing two young bucks, with antlers in the velvet, dashing off through the woods with their heads held proudly high. (Julius Hoverson)


Two very rare plants were found when J. W. Thompson and I climbed Mount Wow late last summer. The legume Oxytropis mazama was described as a new species by Professor St. John from material collected at this same station many years ago by O. D. Allen, after whom Lake Allen on Mount Wow was named. In fact, this species has not been found anywhere else on earth unless a member of the genus collected by Mr. Thompson on Table Mountain, Wenatchee, proves to be the same plant. Our discovery of it near the summit of Mount Wow is, so far as known, only the third time the species has been found. The other rare plant found there was a diminutive fern, Asplenium viride, growing in small crevices on the north side of precipitous cliffs. This is the second record of this fern in Mount Rainier National Park. Should any reader know of further authentic records of these plants within the Park, we should appreciate the information as an addition to the Botany Section of the Park Naturalist Encyclopedia. (Alton A. Lindsey)

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