Page:Condor12(5).djvu/19

This page needs to be proofread.


Sept.,1910 DISCOVERY OF NEST AND EGGS OF GRAY-CROWNED LEUCOSTICTE 161 tempted to fly up and over Harrison's Pass which is a thousand feet high and very steep. It flew up by degrees in a zig-zag line, stopping on the rocks at each turn. "July 18, 1901. Found Leucotictes on the top of Mt. Whitney, 14,500 feet. They hop along the ridges between the furrows of the snow. Noted them often at this date about the small lakes in the snow i.n groups of four. "June 2, 1902. Found on top of Mt. Lyell above Yosemite. "July 10, 1902. Found at Bullfrog Lake, 11,000 feet, and on top of Mt. Gould, 13,800 feet. "Of all birds the Leucosticte has ever had a fascination for me, but in all my travels I never sueceded in finding a nest." AN IRRIGATED RANCH IN THE FALL MIGRATION By FLORENCE MERRIAM BAILEY E ONCE spent the first two weeks of September on an irrigated ranch in southeastern New Mexico, and, while. the study of the prairie-dog problem had taken us there, we saw many interesting things in the bird line in passing. As the ranch combined alfalfa and stock, outside the branding corrals stood mowing machine and baling press, while the adobe houses of the Mexican laborers stood in the background. Behind the.house, water barrel and wood pile-- a pile of grubbed-up roots as big as a haystack--spoke of the waterless and treeless character of the valley; but leafy rows of cottonwoods growing along the irrigation ditches, and the vivid green alfalfa fields, gave richness to the immediate landscape. From the piazza, 'as we lookt out on the highroad, the principal passers-by were Mexicans. Sometimes there would be a prairie schooner drawn by four burros, on one of which rode a small bare-legged Mexican shaded by the inevitable peaked hat, energetically whipping up his bnrro train. Sometimes there would be six burros, three abrest; and frequently the load would be of mesquite roots sur- mounted by a Mexican. When we first got to the ranch the stock was being branded in the corral, and, as we past on our way back and fortIt to the dog field, the fire in the middle of the circle, the men with long branding irons making sudden lunges at the terrified cattle as they circled around the ring, the bellows of pain, the headlong plunge of a maddened steer at his tormentors, and the circle of Mexican on-lookers percht safely on top of the high corral fence, all made a sight that we were glad to leave behind for the peaceful, green alfalfa fields. The irrigation of the alfalfa was a novel and most interesting sight to me. The irrigator was a tall, spare Mexican with a picturesque high hat, purple shirt and red sash, carrying over his shoulder a long shovel. When he had turned the water in'to a field he would take off his sash, throw it over a fence post, roll his trousers high on his brown legs and then wade about among the ditches like a plover, letting the water out here, banking it in there, hurrying from place to place till he seemed to be everywhere at once. When a sluice had to be opened or shut in a distant field he would catch up his sash, noose it around the nose of a horse he kept near by and, with the shovel over his shoulder, go swinging off bareback, with the grace of a centaur. The water from the ditches strewed the fields with multitudes of minnows that