Nature Notes

Vol. IX July 1, 1931 No. 5

Hiking in the Rain

June--up in the alpine meadows Spring and Summer are waging a battle for supremacy with Spring almost ready to admit defeat. With alternate spells of driving rain and pine-scented sunshine the dainty Avalanche Lilies continue to open their petals day after day, serenely confident of many warm days to come. When a sudden snowstorm swept up the valley the other day most of the tourists scurried for shelter, while two of the Naturalists set out for Panorama Point to enjoy the beauty of the whirling, white flakes. Hardly had we left camp when we saw that there were others, too, who were out for the air. Two Sooty Grouse cocks were strutting solemnly about in the heather, each trying to outdo the other in the noise he could make and both apparently oblivious of our approach. As the Sooty Grouse emits his peculiar hoarse, hooting call, he jerks his head and tail fan in unison, continually exposing a round, flaring expanse of skin on either side of his neck. A few yards up the slope and a Black-tailed Deer slowly crossed the trail and entered a clump of Alpine Firs to stare out at the intruders.


Over in Indian Henry's Hunting Ground last week further evidence was seen of the fact that many animals are perfectly at home in the snow. Scattered about on the grass were curious, branching piles of earth, showing by their size and regularity that they were excavated debris from the burrows s of the Meadow Mouse (Microtus sp.) pushed out underneath the snow blanket during the winter.

Vic Scheffer
Ranger Naturalist.

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