Nature Notes

Vol. IX August 1, 1931 No. 7

Birds of the Month w/grosbeak

Clark's Crows, noisy and quarrelsome, are the most noticeable birds about the Camp Grounds at Paradise. This bird's grey body coloring with black wings and tail aid in making the Nutcracker, - as he is often called,- one of the easiest of our birds to identify and observe.

We find the Shufeldt Junco nesting at this time and were fortunate in finding two nests,- one with eggs and one with young,- recently. The Junco is a past master at camouflage for the nest, which, though built on the ground or upon a slope, made of grasses and well-hidden from the eyes of all save the most observant persons. The peculiar clicking call, "Tsip! Tsip!" its sparrow-like size, black head and throat and contrasting white outer tail feathers make the Junco easy to recognize.

The familiar Robin is still wearing his bright spring coat at the elevation of Paradise Valley, and the Alaska Robin, or Varied Thrush, as he is more generally known here, finds the dense clumps of Alpine Fir in the Hudsonian meadows more to his liking. Stellar Jay

He is a shy bird and not generally seen but the blackbreast bar, reddish-brown streak above the eye and bright wing bands give him a very handsome and distinctive appearance. His whistling call with its many inflections is often heard in the early morning. Recently a group of young Varied Thrushes were observed just learning to fly. They would not have been discovered had not the call of a Douglas Squirrel been heard. Closer inspection of the source of this call led to the birds for the call was not that of a squirrel but that of the female Varied Thrush. This was indicative of the varied repertoire of this bird. One of the most beautiful and common bird calls at this time is that of the Hermit Thrush. The bird itself is shy and rarely seen but his song is one of the beauties of the Hudsonian meadows now.

The Slender-billed Nuthatch and his characteristic, nasal call - "Yank! Yank!" is also much in evidence. Several of these busy little acrobats have been observed in the vicinity of Fairy Pool. The Olive-sided Flycatcher is heard particularly in the neighborhood of Reflection Lakes, but being hard to approach may be seen only at a distance. Chickadees and Waxwings have been seen in great numbers - the former being especially numerous about Reflection Lakes, while down in the lower reaches of Stevens Canyon where Salmonberries are plentiful now the most flashy of our native birds, - the Western Tanager - was observed many times.

The smallest of all our bird visitors, the Hummingbirds - particularly the Rufous Hummingbird - are very numerous in the bright flower-carpeted meadows. The high-pitched, shrieking noise they make as they attack one another and the metallic flash of their wings and bodies as they dart about among the flowers gives evidence of their presence. About the Camp Grounds at Paradise one may also see numerous Northwestern Flickers. One pair is nesting near the Community House, much to the enjoyment of its visitors. Sooty Grouse are especially plentiful. A female with a large brood of young was encountered on one of our hikes and member of the party were able to pick up the young birds without any sign of disturbance on the part of the hen. Ptarmigan, - the high altitude relative of the grouse, have also been noted many times. The Park Naturalist was able to make some excellent movies of a Ptarmigan hen on her nest near Sunrise a week or so ago.

A Bald Eagle was seen by a party of hikers with Naturalist Earl Danner in Van Trump Park the other day, and a few days later another party saw a young Golden Eagle in the same vicinity.

Pipits, Rosy Finch, Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets are also found readily and observed by hikers in various sections of the Park, while at Longmire Springs the Band-tailed Pigeons are present in large numbers. Visitors to Reflection Lakes will be almost certain to encounter the Sandpiper.

--Charles Landes,

Hermit Thrush

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