Friday, January 19, 9:00am

Earlier this morning it rained very hard but right now the sun is shining and the blue sky is making the clouds look white and puffy. There are bird calls and songs in the air. Meadowlarks are singing that beautiful melody that reminds me I am in the valley again. They seem to be everywhere, in the trees and on the ground.  What I notice most of all is the screams and calls of the Red shouldered hawks in the ash and alder trees along Mill Creek and then the loud calls of a pair of Redtailed hawks that are flying in circles above me.

Towards the south end of the valley I watch a pair of White shouldered kites displaying as one of them dives down and catches what looks like a meadow vole, one of their favorite foods. It carries this up to the top of an alder and begins to eat it as its’ partner soars above. Then it hits me, these birds are beginning their mating rituals. Raptors (birds of prey) begin in February to mate and build nests. It seems early but the weather has been warm so maybe this is enticing these birds to get started! Just then 3 Tree swallows fly over and I am further convinced that birds are beginning to feel the urges of spring.

At the end of my walk a beautiful double rainbow arched over the valley, lit up by the beautiful sunshine which disappeared as more rain began to fall. Time to get back.

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