Blog

The Common Merganser

June 29, 2022 One of the many projects I am involved with on the Willits Bypass Mitigation Lands is installing video cameras in locations where we can capture some wildlife activity. This duty is shared with my colleague and awesome wildlife observer, Jacob Stubberfield. He has taught me a lot about how and where to…

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Our Large Lagomorph

June 20, 2022 Traveling down one of our narrow dirt roads on the Bypass Mitigation Lands may sometimes be interrupted by the crazy antics of the big, long-eared Black-tailed Jack Rabbit, Lepus californicus. It is fascinating to watch them as they zigzag across the road, stopping and looking intently at the electric UTV in the…

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The Mud Nests of the Cliff Swallow

June 14th, 2022 Have you ever wondered about those mud dwellings that birds build on the underside of bridges or on the sides of big buildings? Sometimes the number of birds flying around them seems enormous as you drive over that bridge. If they have rust or cinnamon colored rump patches, these are the industrious…

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Welcome Spring Rains

April 14, 2022 When Little Lake Valley gets significant rain in April or May (at least two or more inches), especially after having dry months of winter, I breathe a sigh of relief. The creeks fill up, the ground saturates, and we get some inundation in the north end of the valley. This is important…

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The Sounds of Spring

April 4, 2022 Having been out of town for the entire month of March it is very exciting to return to find spring is well on its way here. There are flowers blooming along the roadsides such as Lupines and Buttercups. The vibrant green of the Willits Valley is soothing to my eyes and psyche.…

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A Misty Walk through the Wetlands

3/17/2022 During a rainy and foggy Thursday morning walk, I observed a wide variety of wildlife congregating on the wet meadows of the north end of the valley. As I looked through my binoculars to identify the groups of Mallards and Wigeons, I noticed several Greater Yellowlegs foraging at the edge of the inundated field.…

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Red-shouldered Hawks in the Valley

2/19/2022 While enjoying a mid-day lunch break in an oak woodland on the south end of the Willits Mitigation Bypass Lands, I was fortunate to experience three Red-shouldered Hawks putting on an early spring display. The incessant shrieking of this forestland raptor sent alarms throughout the canopy. As the hawk’s calling grew louder, it appeared…

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Another Look At Lichens

February 22, 2022 While out in the valley I am always astounded at the sheer volume of lichens hanging off a variety of trees. Some of them actually look “cloaked,” blanketed with foliose lichens. In the past I have talked about the fishnet lichen, Ramalina menziesii, also called Lace lichen, which is one of our…

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