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 there is much to contemplate. As I walk the Mitigation Lands, I see the animals that inhabit the different ecosystems going about their business. There are also signs of their presence including scat that they deposit along the trails and the tunnels and mounds of soil out in the fields.
Many of the tall trees have a raptor or raven silhouetted against the sky. A coyote runs along the tree line with a jackrabbit bounding ahead. Turkey Vultures and Ravens are among many birds drying their outstretched wings, soaking sunshine into their feathers by turning to face the sun. The flooded valley is always exciting to observe because the waterfowl and water birds gather in high numbers. This assemblage attracts Bald Eagles and other predators that would love a meal of a duck.
With all this life around us it brings hope for the future, this wheel of life that keeps going round and round. Resilience is the word that comes to mind. We must continue supporting, through conservation efforts, the environment that allows wild animals to thrive. A new year’s resolution for all of us. May the new year bring you joy!