Skip to main content

Bird's Eye View

03/19/2013 03:21PM ● Published by Michael O'Brien

story: Michael O'Brien photo: Frank Kratofil

Birding at the McConnell Foundation's Lema Ranch

Lema Ranch is a birding oasis inside the Redding urban landscape. Originally a working mule ranch owned by Chuck and Peggy Lema, Leah McConnell purchased it in the 1970s as an investment property. In the 1990s when the McConnell Foundation needed a permanent home, Lema Ranch was the chosen place.

About 200 acres of diverse landscape provide habitat for many bird species. Four miles of paved trails allow for excellent viewing opportunities. Lema Ranch’s grasslands, oak and Manzanita forests, and aquatic habitats attract specific birds, and each area is accessible via the ranch’s trail system.

The property features five ponds originally built by the Lema family in the 1950s. The McConnells enhanced the ponds in 1997 to better attract plant and animal life. The Ranch’s trails skirt each pond, giving birders excellent, close views of waterfowl, marsh species and thirsty birds

Start your day at the trail parking lot. Three walking trail loops are available. Secluded Loop features grassland and pond habitats and is three-quarters of a mile long. Leah’s Loop surrounds four of the Ranch’s ponds, grasslands and oak forest, and is one and three-quarters of a mile long. Mule Loop circles the entire property, covering two and one-quarter miles. A map of the trails is posted at the trailhead, or view it online at www.mcconnellfoundation.org/lema/trails.

The walking trails are meticulously maintained and run smooth and flat. Benches are positioned along the way so you can stop, sit and see what flies to you. The bench on the Leah/Mule Loop trail overlooking Leah’s Pond faces west, and offers a striking view of Shasta Bally, the McConnell Foundation headquarters, grasslands and oak trees. Use your binoculars to scan the pond for ducks, geese and other water-loving birds. Check out the reeds for Red-Winged Blackbird and Marsh Wren. Lesser Goldfinch love the treetops and the shore vegetation. Look for Red-Shouldered Hawk nesting near the main building and keeping watch over the ranch like a self-appointed sentry.

The grasslands on the southern parts of Secluded and Leah’s Loops are alive with birds. Take your time along your way, stopping often to listen and look for species that thrive in this environment. Use your binoculars to scan brush that skirts the open fields to spot the striking Spotted Towhee, with its blazing red eyes and jet-black head. This bird likes to lurk in the underbrush, but is very vocal. Look into the oaks that jut up from the grassy hills and scan for Nuttalls and Acorn Woodpecker, Oak Titmouse, White-Breasted Nuthatch and Northern Flicker.

Lema Ranch birds seem used to people, so lengthy close-up viewing opportunities are abundant. Dogs, bicycles, skateboards and scooters are prohibited on the trails. People passing by greet you reverently, as if to maintain the serenity of the area and to enhance your birding experience.

In Print, Life+Leisure recreation Bird's Eye View Birding at the McConnell Foundation's Lema Ranch Frank Kratofil
  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/19/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Vine and Dine for Parks

    10/19/2017
    05:30PM — 08:00PM

    The Redding Parks Foundation invites you to come and enjoy Vine and Dine at Redding's City Hall. ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Vinyl Night

    10/19/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Vinyl Night! Join us downtown the first and third Thursday of every month. We are going to ditch ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/23/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/24/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • The Reformation at 500

    10/25/2017
    10:20AM

    Simpson University invites the community to join students, faculty and staff for a four-day comme...


  • Shasta College 2017 Human Library Event

    10/25/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    This event is sponsored by the Office of Student Equity and Inclusion; come to the library and we...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    10/25/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • Kids' Turn

    10/25/2017
    06:00PM — 07:30PM

    Kids' Turn is a six week workshop held one night a week that offers divorce education and childre...


  • Joan Osborne

    10/25/2017
    07:30PM

    Joan Osborne has rightfully earned a reputation as one of the great voices of her generation --bo...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/19/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Vine and Dine for Parks

    10/19/2017
    05:30PM — 08:00PM

    The Redding Parks Foundation invites you to come and enjoy Vine and Dine at Redding's City Hall. ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Vinyl Night

    10/19/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Vinyl Night! Join us downtown the first and third Thursday of every month. We are going to ditch ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/20/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    10/20/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • REDDING-Come see the dramatic theatrical event of the Fall season! This October Shasta College is...


  • The Wildcat Granfondo

    10/21/2017
    07:30AM — 07:00PM

    The GranFondo has its roots in Italy and loosely translates to "big ride." Riders ranging from el...


  • Return of the Salmon Festival

    10/21/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    Free event for the whole family including children’s activities, natural resource information, an...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/21/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Art & Soul Festival

    10/21/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    JOIN US for the 2017 Art and Soul Festival at the Center for Spiritual Living 1905 Hartnell Ave...


  • Enjoy Makerie

    10/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Meet us at the Makerie! Where hand-selected artists, musicians, farmers and craftsmen will share ...


  • The ASPCA & Subaru have teamed up to help find homes for shelter animals! If you’ve been wanting ...


  • Congressional District 1 Candidate “Meet & Greet” Location: Community Room Shasta - County P...


  • The Alyssa Araiza Wings of Angels Organization 16th Annual Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser is hosted ea...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    10/21/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • French-Italian-Jewish-Greek-German-Irish Andy Ooley, Bob Cosindas, Pat Karch


  • Off the Charts with Pat Karch

    10/21/2017
    06:30PM — 09:00PM

    Music featuring ; French-Italian-Jewish-Greek-German-Irish And paired with delicious wine!


  • REDDING-Come see the dramatic theatrical event of the Fall season! This October Shasta College is...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/22/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Beginning Encaustic Workshop

    10/22/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    On Saturday and Sunday, October 21 & 22, Mt. Shasta artist Cathy Valentine will teach a workshop ...


  • Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser For Krystal Marie

    10/22/2017
    05:00PM — 06:30PM

    Please join us on Sunday, October 22nd from 5-6:30pm as we host a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for...


  • REDDING-Come see the dramatic theatrical event of the Fall season! This October Shasta College is...


  • Travis Tritt

    10/22/2017
    07:30PM

    Country soul singer Travis Tritt was one of the leading new country singers of the '90s, blending...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/23/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/24/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • The Reformation at 500

    10/25/2017
    10:20AM

    Simpson University invites the community to join students, faculty and staff for a four-day comme...


  • Shasta College 2017 Human Library Event

    10/25/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    This event is sponsored by the Office of Student Equity and Inclusion; come to the library and we...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    10/25/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • Kids' Turn

    10/25/2017
    06:00PM — 07:30PM

    Kids' Turn is a six week workshop held one night a week that offers divorce education and childre...


  • Joan Osborne

    10/25/2017
    07:30PM

    Joan Osborne has rightfully earned a reputation as one of the great voices of her generation --bo...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/26/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • The Reformation at 500

    10/26/2017
    10:20AM

    Simpson University invites the community to join students, faculty and staff for a four-day comme...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/27/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • The Reformation at 500

    10/27/2017
    10:20AM

    Simpson University invites the community to join students, faculty and staff for a four-day comme...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    10/27/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Fly Fishing Film Tour

    10/27/2017
    06:00PM — 10:00PM

    The world's best fly fishing films are coming to the Cascade Theater on Friday, October 27. The ...


  • Nocturnes: Nightfall Illuminated

    10/27/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Trinity Alps Chamber Music Festival continues its seventh season with a program celebratin...


  • Search for the Spawning Salmon

    10/28/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    Join Department of Fish & Wildlife biologist Matt Johnson for a walk along Clear Creek to observe...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/28/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • The Reformation at 500

    10/28/2017
    10:20AM

    Simpson University invites the community to join students, faculty and staff for a four-day comme...


  • Halloween Goat Yoga Party

    10/28/2017
    04:00PM

    Come celebrate Halloween with costumed-goats, yoga, costume contests (including a dress-a-goat co...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    10/28/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • GNRM HARVEST OF HOPE

    10/28/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    SPONSOR A TABLE EARLY AS THEY GO FAST FOR THE GOOD NEWS RESCUE MISSION’S NINTH ANNUAL HARVEST O...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/29/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Silver Screen Classics Party

    10/29/2017
    06:00PM

    A Movie, A Party, An Experience! Party at 6:00pm, Film at 7:30pm Combine your love of film w...


Enter to Win!

 
Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living
Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors