MOUNT RAINIER NATURE NOTES
The theme song of spring is as varied as are its numerous interests
and it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep abreast of seasonal
happenings at this time. Consequently NATURE NOTES seems to be always
about a month behind this spring.
The deep woods are now entirely free of snow up to about 3500' and
the first plants are beginning to push their way through the moist humus
of the forest floor. A hike brings us to the rocky river bar of the
Nisqually where the melodious tinkle of the Junco's song is heard above
the roar of those glacial waters. Almost ventriloquil in its effect, it
requires a moment to locate the singer but, perched on the very tip of a
small pine, we see him and with the aid of our binoculars watch this
bird pour forth his version of the season's awakening.
Deep woods again. The carpet of ferns and mosses is glossy in the
wake on one of our spring showers. The tardy sun projects its rays
through the heavy canopy of evergreen foliage overhead. Great firs and
hemlocks lift their trunks from the tangled mass of vegetation on the
forest floor and only the distant hum of the Nisqually and the song of
the wind in the tree tops disturbs the impressive silence of the woods.
The effect is cathedral-like. And then, from somewhere within the deep
recesses of the timber comes the melody of the Winter Wren that blends
with the low tones of the wind and water as does the acria of some
hidden organ. The fronds of the bracken are unfolding and the delicate
Oak fern is also evident for the first time. The trail skirts a small
meadow. Two Swallows cleave the air in fantastic gyrations. Two yearling
deer stop feeding for a moment to watch, alert, as we pass.
And as the shadows of night envelop the hills the resonant voices of
frogs arise from along the marshes. The "theme song" of spring is