The Sierras are full of wild and wonderful creatures. The hands-down coolest one that I saw on this trip was the Ceanothus Silk Moth, which measured about five inches across. The night that it flew up on the deck at the cabin, we briefly mistook it for a bat, which caused quite a stir! Early the next morning, I was able to hold and snap some photos of the sleepy moth before it flew off.
Other winged critters that were seen include a variety of moths, butterflies and colorful beetles, in addition to robins, chickadees (which are nesting in a knothole in the cabin), scrub jays, magpies, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and osprey.
Chipmunks can be seen scurrying around everywhere, be it around the yard outside the cabin or high-tailing it across Highway 49 (right in front of our car, no less). Those little things are fearless! We also saw a chunky chipmunk look-alike, the Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel. It looks like it has a squirrel head on a large chipmunk body. Weird!
Speaking of roadside spotting, I saw deer twice: a doe and her two white-speckled babies munching on ornamental grass along Gold Lake Highway and two juveniles with velvety knobby antlers just outside of Sierra City. I get so excited when we see deer... they're just so graceful and beautiful! (Too bad they've also been too fast for me to catch on camera.)
Another well-known inhabitant of the region is the black bear. Except for the one hanging in the lobby of the Graeagle Lodge, I've never seen one in person. We had a bit of excitement this winter when we learned that a mother and her cub broke into the cabin, sampling the only food items that we left behind: cocoa powder, ground ginger, fennel seeds and sugar. We lucked out in that they didn't do much damage aside from a broken window, messy sink, some bite marks on an empty shelf in the fridge and chocolaty paw prints trailing across the linoleum floor.
aaaaaa* photo by my brother-in-law, Scott
aaaaaa* another one from Scott
A neighboring cabin didn't fare well at all. Their visitors had the equivalent of a bear-style frat party, making the most of the feast that was left for them in the cupboards after the summer was over. Check out one of the empty beer cans that we found littering the neighbor's yard. Yes, the bears drank BEER!
Finally, there were a few non-native, completely domesticated creatures that I observed during our stay:
Daisy, Cousin Brian's feisty pug
Elvis, the Basset-Beagle-Doxie trail hound at Gold Lake Pack Station & Stables
Makeba, my sister-in-law's sweet, water-loving Lab
Stick around for more happenings from the cabin, including recipes, crafting and a hike that is dear to my heart! :o)