Our Sebastopol Pond's 17th year - 2012

The pond is NOT as it was! See Catastrophe Xmas Eve. And click here to see how the pond HAD been

We totally spent January dealing with the downed Oak Tree, (see Catastrophe above) but we decided that although it wasn't pretty, we should document what was happening, so on February 1st....

February (click on images to enlarge)

There was SO much debris in the pond, broken branches, lichen, etc, etc. This put a lot of nutrients in the pond and fueled quite an algae growth - much like what happens in a first year pond. Plus, the tree coming down ripped a hole in the pond liner, so we're having to add fresh water constantly this year....and that adds more nutrients too.

March (click on images to enlarge)
It was a real treat when our pair of Mallards reappeared after an absence of several years....at least THEY didn't mind the algae!!

April (click on images to enlarge)
The good news is that as the plant life has begun to grow after its winter dormancy, it is using the nutrients and the algae growth is slackening.
(The 'secret' to an algae-free pond is to have enough plant growth to use the nutrients in the water). Photos taken 4/02/2012.

By the middle of the month, the change was more profound. Photos taken 4/17/2012.

This young Cardinal Meadowhawk male oversaw the development of the area around the Oak stump.

The flowers in the sunny bog went hog wild and even my brother's cat, Max, stopped to enjoy the buttercups!

May (click on images to enlarge)
Great month for the pond!! The pond seems to be in full recovery now and just looks gorgeous. All the plants are growing like crazy. Pond on May 16
I'm so glad to have this pond right next to the house where it is a constant delight!

The Blue Flag Iris was lovely! And another emergent plant we haven't 'featured' any other months - Water Pennywart grew well too.
As was the Seep Monkeyflower in the "sunny bog". We had totally dug out this bog area and replanted it last fall.

June (click on images to enlarge)

This year, knowing that the pond has a damaged liner from the large Black Oak that fell into it Xmas Eve (link), we're just letting the plants grow! No thinning. The plan is to 'save' as many plants as possible this winter into a kiddy’s wading pool for replanting after we take the pond apart and reline it! Having said that, click on this thumbnail to see the whole pond....nice and full of plant life!!
The Anna's Hummingbirds love using the 'bowl' of the waterfall for their drinks and showers and we even had a female Pacific Spiketail with gorgeous blue eyes come visit.

We spent the whole month at our McCloud home and pond, so there are no pictures of our Sebastopol pond. But at our McCloud home, we had a Black Bear come swimming!! Click this link to see a short video (YouTube) of this event:

More images and stories from our McCloud pond can be found as a link about half way down the pond's entry page, on the right.

August (click on images to enlarge)
We were gone most of the month, but when we returned a beautiful Wilson's Warbler came to visit, and a Meadowhawk emerged from our pollywog tank. Then we had a pair of Common Green Darners tandem oviposit in the pond - can't wait to see them emerge next year!! And a softly toned Mourning Dove became a regular visitor. An unusual visitor for our area was a Stellar's Jay while a more usual guest was the California Towhee!

September and October (click on images to enlarge)
These months had some thick haze/smoke which gave the pond an eerie look - as if it were reflecting the beginnings of Fall colors:
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One of our strategies for making our wildlife pond seem more natural is to have a tub of horsetail, 'escaping' thru our patio.
This year, year #17, it needed to be thinned for the 3rd time. Click here to see the process.

Each year, a great joy the pond has brings us is the fall migrant birds which come in close enough for us to see them well.
The Townsend's Warbler is always a favorite. Click on his image below to see his whole body.
Bird species #58 was a shy Fox Sparrow. Look closely to see him. (HINT: He is sitting on a water-clover leaf).
The American Robin is ALWAYS a favorite.
MUCH less of a favorite is the wasp commonly called the bald-faced hornet, a relative of the 'yellow-jacket', they are plentiful in the fall.
Juncos, House Finch, W. Bluebirds and Lesser Goldfinches make for colorful bird bathing images!!
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November (click on images to enlarge)
A highlight for the month was watching this Anna's Hummingbird bathing in the bowl of the waterfall.
And we were FINALLY able to get a couple half decent pictures of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet - it has visited the pond each fall, but is so 'boucny'!!

By Thanksgiving, the pond was showing off glorious fall colors.Click on the Thanksgiving message to see the pond.

An old Painted Lady butterfly seemed to signal the 'end' of the pond's life as well, as it was time to drain the pond and rebuild it, as it was leaking like a sieve ever since the Black Oak fell into it last fall. It was time for a redo!!

Here we are draining the pond. I've got my waders on, and I'm pulling up plants to 'save' them by placing them in a 'kiddies' wading pond to overwinter while we drain every bit of water out of the pond, take out all the muck and even every pebble. It was a month-long job to get every bit out!!

Interestingly, even with the pond half-drained, and plants flopped over on the surface, the Finches and Robins still came in for drinks and baths!!
As we pulled plants out, we had to constantly be looking for dragonfly nymph such as this darner and these Meadowhawk and Forktails, waterbeetle larva, etc. When we found them, they went into the 'kiddies' pond with the plants we were saving.

December (click on images to enlarge)

By Christmas, we had emptied the pond.
What is left showing in the image is the old blue-colored swimming pool liner, brittle and punched full of holes from when the oak fell into the pond.