Author Archives: Marisela De Santa Anna

Spring Has Sprung

March 20, 2024 Spring came this week, for sure. The wildflowers have started blooming everywhere, the early morning is beginning to fill with bird song, and the days are warmer and longer. The birds are the most obvious signs of spring on the Mitigation Lands. Their songs fill our wildlife videos where there were not…

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The Tenacious American Mink

February 28, 2024 This week, I had the good fortune to see an American Mink (Mustela vison) crossing in front of me with a giant gopher in its mouth. It darted out from Outlet Creek and disappeared into a bulrush wetland across the gravel road I was driving. There was no time to get my…

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California Quail

February 22, 2024 The California Quail (Callipipla californica) is a common bird resident of the Willits Bypass Mitigation Lands. It is found in oak woodlands, riparian corridors, and in wetland habitats. This bird is about the size of a pigeon, nine and a half to ten and a half inches long and stands six to…

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Blooming Winter Willows

February 13, 2024 Today, I was out looking for signs of spring. Yes, it’s early, but there are signals that the seasons are changing. The days are getting longer, there is rain and warmth, and early flowers are beginning to bloom. There are not too many wildflowers on the Willits Bypass Mitigation Lands, but trees…

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Returning to Lichens

January 17, 2024 Once again, I want to talk about lichens. January is the best time to see these unusual organisms because the leaves are gone from the trees, and the rain brings them to life as they spread on the trunks and branches. California is home to over 2000 species of lichen. Lichens are…

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The Winter Solstice

January 3, 2024 While walking through the Willits Mitigation Lands in Little Lake Valley, I noticed a shift in the quality of light. The holidays have passed, and the winter solstice has arrived and gone. A few more minutes each day doesn’t seem to be a huge difference, but I see and feel it. On…

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Winter is Here 2023

It finally feels like we are entering winter here in the Willits Valley. The ground is saturated enough to fill our local creeks and the sound of flowing water is not only a welcome relief from the dryness of summer, but also soothing and gives me joy to hear it. With the end of 2023…

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