Nature Notes

Vol. IX August 15, 1931 No. 8


Down under the rocks of a cascading stream is the favorite haunt for the nests of the Water Ouzel. This bird may be identified by its apparently uniform slate-grey color, its wren-like habit of curtseying, and its passion for turbulent streams and waterfalls.

A nest of young Ouzels was recently found under a rock in the middle of Lodi Creek in Berkeley Park. This particular location must be considered an ideal home by the Ouzel family, as they have returned to it after having used it last year.

They were first noticed last year by the Mountaineers when they were camping in Berkeley Park during their circuit of The Mountain. The family this year consists of Mr. and Mrs. Ouzel and their four children. The group has provided much entertainment to those who have been on the Nature Hikes into Berkeley Park during the past week as the visitors may sit on the bank of the stream and watch the mother busily at work carrying food to the open mouths of the youngsters.

--Kenneth Bravinder,

We find in the Park two small animals that are never seen by tourists but yet leave undeniable signs of their presence. The Pocket Gopher and the Mole spend their entire lives in tunneling through the ground, piling up on the surface mounds and ridges of the evacuated earth. Their choice of a home is very similar, but in regard to food and feeding habits they are quite different. The Gopher lives on fleshy roots, bulbs and underground stems, (those being abundant on the Lupine and the Avalanche Lily), and because he has large chisel teeth for cutting roots he is classed as a rodent along with the Rat and the Mouse.

The Mole, on the other hand, feeds on earthworms, grubs, insects, and other living animal food and is classed as an Insectivore. His teeth are sharp and fine as needles, enabling him to get a death-grip on his wriggling prey. Earthworms, of course, are found only in moist ground, so that the Mole does not occur in the Park far from lakes or streams. The Gopher is not so particular, and his mounds have been seen on the dry pumice slopes near Sunrise at an elevation of 6,000, feet.

-- Kenneth Bravinder,

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