Author Archives: Marisela De Santa Anna

Turkey Time

November 18, 2022 The Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, makes up a large portion of the fauna in Little Lake Valley. It is a resident found year-round, sometimes congregating together in flocks of over fifty birds. A few years ago, I counted over two hundred of them making their way into the north end of the…

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The Crafty Coyote

October 26, 2022 Coyotes, Canis latrans, are routinely observed in Little Lake Valley. Even if not seen, one can usually at least find their scat and other signs of their presence. It is always a pleasure to see one of these beautiful animals loping past in the distance or intently hunting gophers and voles. Their…

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Shades of Autumn

October 17, 2022 This is the time when the Willits Valley begins getting some beautiful fall colors. The orange of the oaks, yellow of the ash and maples, and the red of the poison oak are all being prominently displayed. This year has been different from last year as we have not had any near-freezing…

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The Secretive Virginia Rail

September 28, 2022 When checking on one of the video cameras that I had placed in Davis Creek, I approached quietly to observe if anything was present at the small water hole. Something moving in the woody debris caught my eye and I saw it was a Virginia Rail, Rallus limicola. It is such a…

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September Bugling

September 19, 2022 When the weather begins to cool off and we get some morning fog it is a special time in Little Lake Valley because the Tule bull elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes) begin their version of spring bird song. It is called bugling, but a bugle is not what it sounds like! The first…

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The Active White-breasted Nuthatch

August 23, 2022 This morning, before the temperature got too hot, I was walking through a beautiful stand of valley oaks when I began counting the different species of birds that were flying about them looking for food in the branches and trunks of the trees. I heard the familiar nasal calls of the White-breasted…

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Hurray For Milkweed and Monarchs!

August 15th, 2022 As the dog days of summer go by there are exciting things happening out in Little Lake Valley. One of the fascinating midsummer blooming plants is milkweed. We have two species that occur in this valley, the narrowleaf milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis, and the showy milkweed, Asclepias speciosa. Supplemental plantings of these milkweed…

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Dragons of the Sky

August 10, 2022 It has grown quieter out in Little Lake Valley. The territorial singing of the adult birds has mostly stopped and made way for the interesting sounds emanating from the bills of juvenile birds. Some are learning their mother’s songs while others are communicating hunger, fear, and many other emotions. The pollinators are…

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