Blog

The Common Merganser

April 15th, 2024 The spring weather was perfect for being out and observing this week. The water in Willits Valley is drying up in the grasslands and flowing nicely through the creek beds. There is still some inundation left on the north end of the Mitigation Lands. I must use knee-high rubber boots to walk…

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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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Quote the Raven

2/8/2024 Common Ravens are widely distributed and thrive in many habitat types throughout Mendocino County. They can be distinguished from crows by their larger overall size, big bill, and deeper ‘gurgling croak’ vocalizations. Ravens are omnivores so have been just as successful at adapting to human infrastructure as they have to natural environments. They have…

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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 Short-eared Owl

January 10, 2023 Recently, a Short-eared Owl was observed on the Willits Mitigation Lands. It was captured on a wildlife camera that was facing a regularly used perch in the middle of the valley. This caught my attention immediately because, although fairly common and widespread, this species has yet to be documented on the property…

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