Nature Notes

Vol. III May 1, 1926 No. 18


Walk through the dense moss carpeted woods of the lower valleys, keeping to the moist well watered areas and sooner or later your eye is sure to be caught by a bunch of small orchid-colored streamers. You will stop and drop down in the moss beside it, for here is one of the rarest and the most exquisit of all the wonderful wild flowers found in the park. It is the Western Lady-slipper Orchid, (Cytherea bulbosa).

sketch of orchid Below the filmy streamers you will find a deep lavendar moccosin shaped petal as large as the end of a ladys small finger. The inside is yellow and brown and the edge is fringed with snowy white hairs. At the base of the four inch flower stalk is one glossy green leaf, parelell veined oval and about two inches in length.

They are abundant in certain places at present but rare because these places are hard to find and the flowers bloom so early that none but local residents who know when and where to look ever see them.

Other blossoms that contribute to the first flower display of the season are trillium, both yellow and blue violets, thimble berry, skunk cabbage, squaw grass, huckleberry, and dandelion.

Many of the trees are in bloom also. The douglas fir is covering everything with yellow pollen and the black cottonwood just bursting into leaf, filles the air for many yards with its sweet peculiar odor. Only a couple of miles up the trail snow still lies in the woods.


The robins are building again about Longmire Springs, and fighting. Whether the two facts have any relation to each other I do not know. Apparently however these supposedly gentle Robin-redbreasts are particularly quarrelsom of late.

Recently the naturalist watched a strange fight that did not add to his admiration for the robin. It was early in the morning, about sun-up. Two birds fighting on the wing tumbled down almost at my feet. I saw that one was a robin and the other a swamp-robin or varied Thrush. The robin was the aggressor. After falling to the ground they fought for a time and then the thrush went down. The robin immediately took advantage of his cousin and pecked him until he lay still. I was about to take a hand and stop the battle, but then another robin who apparently felt as I did about the matter, dashed the bully from his victim and chased him away.

The varied thrush was able to fly but he had a narrow escape.

The same day we found a robbin that had apparently been pecked to death but I do not know the rest of the story.

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