THE CONDOR VoL. IX We skinned him next morning and found that four shots had hit him. He had several old scars that showed that he had fallen before, but if you would look at some of the places that they go you would not be surprised. The fur was poor but the skull was about as large as the largest we have. The next day we hunted beaver and got two beaver cubs. The next morning Hasselborg and I started out for Ptarmigan. We climbed up a ways and it began to get steep and cliffy and we came to some terrible places where we scarcely could go at all; we often had to turn back and hunt a better place. The ravines were filled with snowslides part way up; a swift stream came down and had thawed a large cavity out at the top and had undermined and made a passage below the snow. While I was crossing one of these slides the snow gave way and I fell in. I hung onto the gun and that was all that saved me from being put into cold storage for eternity, as the slides rarely melt. The gun caught on each side of the hole and I did some pretty lively scrambling, I can tell you! When we got up on top it began to blow and snow, but there were small patches of heather that were bare, and the snow was hard enough to walk on. As we neared the summit I saw what looked like a pigeon circling around; but pretty soon it came closer and I saw that it was a Ptarmigan. They would fly out over the mountain side and let out a rasping cackle which sounds just like some one running a nail over the teeth of a stiff comb. Then they would hover for an instant and finally swoop down and light on a rock. I only saw five, but I got three of them. They were all males still in white winter plumage (May 31). One was just beginning to get a few dark brown feathers on his head and neck. Hasselborg saw a female the day before which was mostly brown, but we walked all over every bare space near the summit without scaring any up. He also saw what must have been a Leucosticte, but we could not find any of them again. The Ptarmigan have a black line thru the eye and are comparatively small so I suppose that they are Rock Ptarmigan. Hasselborg says that there are some here that have an entirely white head in the winter and are larger, so I guess the Willow must be here too. We had a hard time getting down the mountain and came to a place where we crawled down some alders and hung on to some twigs and peeked over. There was a 75-foot cliff below us and we had to go a mile to get around it. I started to slip in one place and grabbed a sharp rock that tore a big hole in the side of my hand, but I had to grab something or I would have gone clear down to the lake. We saw two immense bears up on the mountain side but they were in a place that we could not climb to. It is surprising where they can go. They are big and heavy but they can go lots of places where a man can't. I was looking over your "Special Desiderata." We are trying to make a big hole in it. Have the Ptarmigan, four pairs of grouse, and a pair with nest and set of eggs of Sharp-shinned Hawk. Saw a pair of Redtails but could not get them. Stephens and Hasselborg are up to the lakes now and I think that they will get some Leucostictes. We saw several Townsend Warblers over at Windfall Harbor, but none here. Varied Thrushes are quite common here but are hard to get. We have everything that you got at Sitka (of the land birds) except eight species. In addition ?e have White-winged Crossbill, Northern Redbreasted Sapsucker, Pine Siskin, Myrtle Warbler, Redbreasted Nuthatch, and possibly some others that I do not remember without looking them up. Miss Alexander is going to Juneau in a day or two to see what has become of our launch. We have been waiting for it for over a month now but the weather has been bad. Our next stopping place will be Red Bluff Bay on Baranof Island.
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