That wild life abounds about Mount Rainier for those who will leave the highways and take to the trails was thoroughly demonstrated last week when the Naturalist directed a party to Van Trump Park. In common with most visitors to the Park, the members of the party wore anxious to see wild animals, and were eager to get off the main roads so as to be sure of seeing them.
On the trail just below Comet Falls they were rewarded by the sight of a doe and her two fawns coming down the trail to meet them. A Hoary Marmet whistled at them from the porch of his rock house, and the usual squirrels and chipmunks played along the trail, watching the intruders with curious bright eyes. A sudden thunder of rapidly beating wings from behind a clump of Alpine Fir told them that a Ruffed Grouse did not much care for their company. Far above Mildred Point the eerie call of a Cony was heard from a talus slope, and presently the little Rock Rabbit, as he is known, showed himself to the group, his curiousity getting the better of his fear of the strangers.
Far across the valley, barely visible to the eye, but showing up strongly through the glasses, was a bearded partiarch of the rocky headlands, standing guard while the others of his herd rooted among the rocks and heather. No other Mountain Goats were seen on the trip, but signs of the animals attested to their abundance in the region.
But the highlight of the trip was the opportunity of watching a Bald Eagle, the bird of the American Emblem, as he soared above the timber of the ridge just above the falls. For sheer beauty and poetry of motion, the Eagle is not equalled by any other bird. With no apparent effort the huge killer wheeled and zoomed this way and that, turning and darting about above the ridges and the valleys in search of food. Several minutes passed rapidly while the glasses passed from hand to hand and from eye to eve as the members of the party watched the actions of the most perfect flying machine known.
Although Sooty Grouse hens have been observed around Paradise Valley for some time, the first flock of chicks was seen July 12. The exact number of the birds was hard to determine on account of their protective coloration, small size, and habit of "freezing" in the grass until nearly stepped on. Some six or eight of the little fellows were seen running about with their mother commanding the situation from a safe distance. The little birds appeared to be about a week old when seen, judging from the combined pin feathers and down in their plumage.
-- Vic Scheffer,
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