50 THE CONDOR VOL. VI FROM FIELD AND STUDY Notes on the Habits of the Water Ousel (Cinclus mexicanus).--My attention was first drawn to these birds by a gentleman who claimed he had seen them eat young salmon. At the first opportunity I began watching to see if I could verify his statement. The birds are seen at all hours of the day flying near the surface of the water, chasing each other from stone to stone, until they alight on some large boulder where they sit and sing. The song is as clear as a linnet's and considerably louder. The first time I heard one singing was on the ?sth of October. The old birds were feeding their young until October 7, and whether this prevented their singing, or whether they do not begin to slug until cold weather, as the people here say, I cannot just now definitely state. So far as I have been able to observe, their food consists of insect larvae, water-bugs, and sal- mon eggs and young fry. In their search for food they alight on the stirface of the water and paddle about with their wings, their feet, I believe, being absolutely useless at this time. They can make headway easily against a strong current. In moving over the water they dip their head at intervals beneath the surface, drawing the white, nictitating membrane over the eyeball before each dip. In this way they locate their food before diving. Once the food is seen they dive immediately and bring it up in their bill, swallowing after they reach the surface. They al- ways come to the stirface in nearly exactly the same place that they go down, and I have seen them dive repeatedly for salmon eggs, and bring them up, in two feet of swift water. Their stay under water is short, not longer than ten seconds. The larva of a small black fly that infests the waters here, and attaches itself to every sub- merged stone or stick, forms a great part of the food of the ousel. He perches himself on a rock in mid-stream, dives above it, allows the current to carry him back past the stone, and tears off the larva as he goes by. One bird found his way into the hatching house, one day, through the aperture which allows the water to come in from the flume outside. The hole is submerged three inches under water, yet the bird never hesitated when frightened to find the opening and go out.--J. S. BuR- CHAM, Lilooet, ?.C. Eggs of Flammulated Screech Owl and Western Evening Grosbeak taken in Estes Park, Colorado.-- There was taken in Estes Park, Latimer Co., Colorado, by my 'hired assassin' last June, ?9o3, two sets of eggs of three each of the flammulated screech owl (W/effascops ifammeola) with two female birds. There was taken also the nest, a set of four and the parents of the western evening grosbeak (Coccothrausles vesperlinus mo?zlanus). The eggs were prepared Successfully.--FRED M. D?LLE, Lott?mo?t, Colo. [Mr. Dille has promised an account of these 'finds,' with photographs, for an early issue.--El).] California Vulture in San ]?ateo Co.? California.--One afternoon about the middle of January (x9o4) Prof. Harold Heath of Stanford University saw a California vulture (Gymnogyps californianus) a short distance west of the university, near a place locally known as the 'Basaltic Columns.' What was probably the same individual was again seen a week later by l?Ir. Ernest Dudley, about a mile from the first station.--WALTER K. F?SHER, ?a/o ?z1/to, Cal. Notes on the Birds of Hoopa Valley? California a.--Hoopa Valley is a curious little Up- per Sonoran 'island' tucked away among the mountains of Humboldt county. It is not more than six miles long bytwo broad and is a mere widening of the canyon of Trinity River about twelve miles south of the mouth. The valley occupies the center of the Hoopa Indian reserva- tion, and is a secluded spot of great natural beauty. Steep mountains rise on all sides, pierced only on the north and south by the narrow canyon of the Trinity, These mountains are on the borderland between Humid and Arid Transition and they possess a singular charm from the large proportion of deciduous trees which one encounters; black, garrya?a, golden-cup and tan- bark (dens,flora) oaks, chinquapins (Castanopsis chrysophy/la), and madtones being mixed with Douglas spruces, incense cedars, and a few yellow and sugar pines. But it is the valley which claims our attention. Here are groves of digger pine (Pinus sabini- a?a), and thickets of Ueanothus cuneatus and .4rctostaphy/os manzanita, red-bud ( Cercis occide?- la/is), Christmas-berry (/-/eteromeles arbutifo/ia), Smila:r ca/ifor?ica, and wild grape (Viiis ca/ifornica). All will be recognized as characteristic Upper Sonoran species. The following birds are found about the borders of the valley or in the mountains near. They are the ordinary Transition species occurring in the coast ranges. Starred * species are rare: a. The easiest way to reach Hoopa Valley is by wagon road from Blue Lake, near Humboldt Bay. The writer had a drive of two days from this place over the Hoopa mountains, and spent from May ?9 to June 7, x899 either in the valley or in the mountains near.
This page needs to be proofread.