Page:Condor12(5).djvu/7

This page needs to be proofread.


Sept.,1910 DISCOVERY OF NEST AND EGGS OF GRAY-CROWNED LEUCOSTICTE 149 ably shorter. The day was intensely warm and the trail, which winds for a num- ber of miles up an almost perpendicular cliff, over rocks and boulders and thru dense thickets of brush, possesses scarcely a single shade-tree and not a single brook for relief of the tired. tramper. As soon as we reacht the edge of the Pyramid Peak plateau, however, all the beauty of Sierran woodland was spred out before us. Beneath the great trees, shaded from the sun, lay cooling beds of snow, while pellucid streams of snow-water, crystal lakes and verdant, but very boggy, meadows were encountered in all directions. Here, as on the summit of the stage road, we found bird life abundant, and the occurrence of such rarities as the Sierra Crossbill, Sierra Sapsucker, Williamson Sapsucker, and California Pine Grosbeak, for a second time made the abandonment of the journey to the peak seem more than probable. At five o'clock we arrived on the Forni Meadow and encampt for the night. The following morning the weather conditions being very favorable we decided upon the ascent and left camp a little after daybreak. At 8,500 feet elevation I consumed con siderable time endevoring, tho ineffectually, to reach the nest of an Audubon Warbler (Dcn:bvica attrttt- bonD, placed on the very bough-end of a giant fir; while Carriger at an alti- tude of 8750 feet retaliated by spending over an hour, climbing to, and excavat- ing, the dwelling cavity of a Mountain Bluebird(AS7alia cu rrttcoidrs), which, situat - ed twenty feet up in a dead tree trunk was found to contain five eggs in a well advanced state of incuba- tion. On ascending high- er, birds grew fewer; Red- shafted Flickers ( Colapies caret collaris), Mountain Big. 45. HEINEI?ANN GETTING BREAKFAST NEAR LAKE LUCILE; RAY STUDYING I?AP OF THE ROUTE Chickadees ( ])enlhesles g?ambel/) and California Pine Grosbeaks (P/nicole e. cali- ?.brnica)were still met with; but above 9250 feet naught remained but the noisy Clarke Nutcracker (]Vucifra?a columbiana), cawing from among the dreary wind-blown hemlocks and dwarf pines that mark the limit of timber. Above us, upspeering into the clouds, still towered Pyramid Peak, the home of the Leucosticte. As this was an early summer the broad fields of snow were traverst without much difficulty and we were soon clambering up over the gigantic mass of huge granit boulders, which, piled in chaotic confusion, extend to the apex. This we reacht at 10 a.m.; but of the birds we were in search not a single iudividual had so far been seen. Now, from the summit, however, we notist some half-dozen Leucostictes flying among the rocks and on the snow-drifts below, on the north and northeast side of the peak. Desiring to see if more birds could not be brought to view we started several boulders down the mountain side and discharged one of our fireams a