Nature Notes

Volume VI No. 4 - September, 1933

Crater Oddities
Geese Rest On Crater Lake

By Ranger Dwight A. French

On the last day of August a great flock of geese was observed on the surface of Crater Lake. The next morning they resumed their flight south. The geese were Canadian Honkers which migrate with the changes in seasons. This particular species breed and hatch their young in northern Canada each summer and when the weather gets cold in the fall they migrate to a warmer clime.

Water fowl never stay long on Crater Lake because there is a lack of adequate food and their presence here occurs either in early fall or spring. When geese start south in August and early September old timers shake their heads and predict an early and hard winter.

Crater Oddities
A Warning

By Ranger John S. Day

"Wa'll, she's goin' to be a hard winter," mused old Sour Dough Pete, as he squinted a pair of pale blue, watery eyes towards the sky. "See them thar Honkers, wall, they're way head of schedule".

And sure enough, far up in the blue, the old familiar wedge-shaped line was moving silently southward. Now and then an eerie call would drift down to us, but for the most part they winged quietly and relentlessly on their way toward warmer climes.

The great Canadian Gray Geese migrate with the seasons, going north in the spring and south in the fall; and they are expected visitors over the park during April and October. But why should they be moving south in September? For several days, now, flock after flock of the great Honkers have been passing over; some flying so low that they have to climb higher when going over the Cascade Divide, and other so high that they are barely visible.

Maybe the infallible instinct which graces all wild life has told of early storms and cold weather in the north, and they have followed Nature's warning by migrating early. Probably old Sour Dough Pete was right when he prophesied a hard winter.

Crater Oddities
A Fading Cloud

By Ranger-Naturalist A. E. Long

Despite the uninviting appearance of the tumbling cloud mass about the summit of the Watchman the evening of August 19 a few hardy or perhaps stubborn individuals with tightly buttoned coats ascended the slopes to the viewpoint station. Arriving on top they found themselves to be above a jumbled blanket of clouds instead of among them. On the right were the topmost crags of Hillman Peak, Llao Rock, Mt. Bailey, Mt. Thielsen and Diamond Peak; to the left all the peaks were covered but behind them the lake remained clear of clouds.

One of the most striking features of the many beautiful cloud structures was the mass between Hillman Peak and Llao Rock. Here a great blanket of clouds seemed about to pour into the crater and yet, though it moved rapidly toward the lake, the lakeward portion of the cloud mass disappeared as quickly as it drifted over the brink of the rim.

The cloud blanket was in a colder mass of swiftly moving air but when it reached the rim to pour over into the lakeward side warmer currents of air streaming up from the lake absorbed the water vapor and therefore the cloud seemed to be evaporating. Warmer air can hold, in an invisible state, more water vapor than can colder air, hence the disappearance of the cloud masses as they drifted across the rim.

sketch of clouds descending on lake

Crater Oddities
Old Or Young, A Rodent Is A Rodent

By Ranger Warren G. Moody

As it frequently happens they boys had drifted together for some kind of a session. This particular night the subject of contention was wild animals and the gang was at it to see if they knew their animal offspring. Elk, deer, antelope, bear, cougars, coyotes all have little ones which are called something or other. The review was going fine until someone got to wondering what the young of a porcupine was called. There being no authority present to refer to, some of the names already given were again recited. It certainly couldn't be a calf, or a fawn, or a kid; and it surely didn't look like a cub or a kitten, or a whelp. So the head scratching became general.

On such a propitious occasion someone is bound to hit upon a way to solve the difficulty. And so it was that the bright member broke out with these words, "Let's call him 'Junior'".

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