Our Mt. Shasta Forest pond, Northeast of McCloud, 2014

At 4570' elevation in chaparral with White Firs and Jeffry Pines, our pond is the ONLY water for many miles in all but one direction. There is very little human occupation.
It is a magnet for birds, butterflies, dragonflies, deer and more exotic mammals.

April (click on any image to enlarge)
Our first visit to our "Mountain Home" was in mid-April this year.
Some years there is still snow on the ground, but this year there was only one tiny bit of ice where the roof dumps snow, and the pond was completely thawed.

One of our first "visitors" was this Stellar's Jay who seemed to be collecting mud (for a nest?)

Coming in for baths were Yellow-rumped Warblers (who we affectionatly call "Butterbutts" in memory of Les and Evelyn Bowen, founders of Madrone Audubon
Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Cassin's Finches.
We think we could title this next image "When is a rock not a rock?" This time, click on the larger image to bring into focus the 'rock'!

We think this was a very special visit so we took many images.
Although we hear the sound of the Sooty Grouse booming all spring, I think we can count on our fingers the few times we've seen them...
It's the male grouse who makes the eerie booming sound by inflating special patches on his chest.
This is the female who visited us. They are ground nesters and we hope the neighbors keep their cats indoors and their dogs on a leash.

But even this early in the season, Mt. Shasta had very little snow.

May (click on any image to enlarge)
We were able to spend time during mid-May at our McCloud home.

It was time to put up the protective bird netting around our native currants and penstemon. This allows the deer to use the pond, but not to EAT our plants.
One of the larger birds to use the pond came in, the Band-tailed Pigeon. This is NOT the same bird as in city parks! It seems odd to HEAR the bird's wings as it flies in.

Our first Ode (Dragonfly) of the year was a Variegated Meadowhawk. This is especially interesting as this species is known to be a migrant. Was this one? We don't know!
And our first pond plant to bloom was the native Bog Bean. It has a gorgeous flower!
Not gorgeous at all is the 3rd image above! Let me explain:
I wanted to thin the reeds in the bog as they'd grown so thick that they were obscuring our view of the birds that came in to bathe and drink.
So, I put swim leggings on (they are like long black tights) and entered the bog. I had to sit down so as not to spend an hour bent over.
When I arose, I found these 2 leeches on the outside of the leggings. They hadn't been able to feed on me, and I didn't put them back in the pond.
I wouldn't have been targeted by them if I hadn't been sitting still for over an hour, disturbing their habitat.
I've been in the pond, bare legged, many a time before and after this, and NEVER had an encounter with a leech.
How'd they get there? Probably in mud with a native plant I brought in.

We're getting to spend the whole summer with our pond!!
June 2014 (click on any image to enlarge)
(Click on any of the following images to enlarge them).
We installed a new 'trail cam' when we came up in May and this is what we found on it when we came up in late June!

This is "Mickey the Mantled Bear" - He/She has been visiting us for 4 years now! We suspect Mickey is a male bear as their has never been a cub in evidence.

Click here to go to our photos from the rest of our time at our Mt. home in 2014!!