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Willits Bypass Offsite Mitigation Project

The Willits Bypass Offsite Mitigation Project is the largest public wetlands mitigation project in the State of California. In 2015, MCRCD assumed long term management responsibility for the 2,087-acres of wet meadow, stream corridors, and oak woodlands. MCRCD has four staff members managing and monitoring grazing impacts to listed species, ecosystem function, and overall biological diversity. CalTrans created a non-wasting endowment through the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation as a permanent source of funding for management and monitoring of mitigation lands. MCRCD was signatory to the Endowment Agreement, and signed a 10-year interim contract to provide necessary on-the-ground land management and monitoring services.

   Blog of the Week

“Observations and Ruminations”

blog authored by

Marisela De Santa Anna

Autumn Berries: A Feast for Birds

The white-blue berries of Brown-stem dogwood Masses of Poison oak berries hiding lots of Golden-crowned sparrows A petite Lincoln's sparrow in the Himalayan blackberries This immature White-crowned sparrow is sitting in a California wild rose bush surrounded by the...

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The American Pipit: One of our Fall and Winter Visitors

In the smoke-filled pasture there was a perky, tail bobbing American pipit. There were about 30 pipits grazing for insects like grasshoppers. This sparrow-sized bird has a uniform brown crown and upperparts buff with streaks: its' outer tail feathers are white. These...

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Communication in the Tule Elk Herd

Cow Tule elk with spring born calf  One of our large groups of cow elk and calves Side view of a large mature bull elk with nine points on his antlers Group of cow elk with their calves Big bull elk looking out for his herd Another herd with its "protector" bull elk...

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The California Ground Squirrel

A California ground squirrel on the lookout on one of our smoky days. A quick nose kiss to acknowledge the lookout Ground squirrel.A colony of ground squirrels live in this hillside. Look carefully and you will see a second Ground squirrel coming to look. Both of the...

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Late Summer Blooms In the Little Lake Valley

Western golden top or goldenrod,, Euthamia occidentalis, is a showy perennial that grows in the riparian corridors and wet meadow grasslands. It is used by many pollinators. Narrow leaf milkweed,  Asclepias fascicularis, is still blooming at this late date, providing...

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Three Species of Snakes in the Valley

This Western Terrestrial Garter snake, Thamnophis elegans, is our most common snake in the Little Lake Valley. A rare look at aWestern Yellow-bellied Racer, Coluber constrictor mormon, in one of our oak tree protection tubes. Probably enjoying the protection afforded...

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A Kettle of Kites

Adult White-tailed Kite perched high in an Ash tree looking into the grassy meadow below. Juvenile White-tailed Kite flying in Kettle with others. At least 5 Kites in the Ash tree next to another Ash with 5 or 6 more Kites. A juvenile Kite busy crying for food while...

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So Many Brush Bunnies!

Brush Rabbit adult, Sylvilagus bachmani,  in the Little Lake Valley mitigation land. This is a baby brush bunny which is very aware of its environment. Look at those ears! Notice the white "cottontail" that flashes as it hops away. As I watched, this baby bunny took a...

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Two Fabulous Flycatchers

July 27, 2020 This is a dry, hot time, and when walking out in the valley grasslands and riparian corridors there are many flycatchers eating the abundance of insects that fly up around me. Flycatchers are insect eaters, and today there are families of many different...

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Our National Bird

July 20, 2020 3pm In the last ten or so years, Bald Eagles have become more common in the Willits Little Lake Valley, especially along the Outlet Creek corridor. They can be observed every month of the year.  This stunning bird was chosen in 1782 by our congress to be...

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A River Otter Family Outing

Wednesday July 8, 2020 9am Along Outlet Creek at the north end of the Cox 80 parcel and north of the Willits Wastewater Treatment Plant, is a good place to observe the wildlife in the riparian area. The water in this section of the creek has been retained by beaver...

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The Importance of the Oak Woodlands

July 7, 2020 9am Walking out in the Willits Valley I am always astonished by the differences between the environments in each of the habitats that exist out there. When it was over 100 degrees in the valley a couple weeks ago, the habitat I most enjoyed was the shaded...

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Red-tailed Hawk Nests

June 28th 2020 Monday, 9am This year has been a very good year for finding raptor nests in Little Lake Valley. There are two Red-shouldered Hawk nests and two Red-tailed Hawk nests that I have observed. Today I want to focus on the Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensus....

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Rare Vagrant Bird in the Willits Valley

June 17th, 2020 Wednesday 9am As I was driving the utility terrain vehicle out to a nesting bird survey on the mitigation lands, I was stopped by an unusual bird song along Davis Creek. As I got out to get a look at the bird, the song got louder. This was not a song I...

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The Willits Valley Tule Elk in Spring

June 15th Monday 9am. It has been two weeks now since I have seen the Tule Elk, but I wanted to post what they are up to during this time of the year. The bulls are still “in velvet,” which is a term for the process that the antlers go through as they are growing back...

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Taking a Leap: More on Wood Ducks

​Monday June 8, 2020 This week’s blog is on the beautiful Wood duck, Aix sponsa, which means “waterfowl in a bridal dress.” Last week, we retrieved our video cameras that have been positioned at one of our Wood duck boxes. The footage they captured was precious. The...

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The Yearly Willits Mitigation Lands Breeding Bird Survey

June 1st, 9 am. 2020 In case some of you were wondering why we did not post a blog last week, I wanted to update you all on what we were up to. For the last five years we have been conducting a bird survey during the months of May and early June to gather data on the...

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The Elegant Swallowtails

May 16, 2020 09:00 am These beautiful spring days are made even better by the late May rains. The many green colors are vibrant and refreshed by the coolness and water. It seems there are at least seven or more different shades and hues. As I am taking in this verdant...

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North Coast Semaphore Grass

​ May 10, 9:30 am Today we are going to look at a rare plant, the North Coast Semaphore Grass, Plueropogon hooverianus. This is a perennial grass that is found in grasslands and riparian woodlands. It grows to a height of 1 to 1.6 meters and blooms from April to June....

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The Glorius Red-winged Blackbirds

April 29th 9am This time of the year, one bird that seems to be everywhere, with its dashing scarlet epaulets blazing out, is the Red-winged blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus. This bird’s habitat includes wet meadows, riparian corridors, freshwater and brackish marshes,...

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The Hum of Pollinators

Wednesday, April 22nd, 9 am The valley is turning into the “Sea of Blue” that was described by the original group of botanists from Jones and Stokes Associates that came out to do biological assessments of the proposed Caltrans routes for the Willits Bypass in the...

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Nesting in Place

April 15th 9am. It has been a long time since we have gone somewhere out of the county during this time of the year. Usually the pull to travel to other places takes us away, but the garden needs to go in, weeds must be pulled, the grasses mowed, fruit trees pruned,...

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Moss Magic in the Plasma Forest

April 10th, 9am Today I am returning to one of my favorite topics before the warmth and lack of rain alters them so much that we don’t even notice them anymore, the mosses. Right now, they are spectacular lush green carpets of soft velvet, reaching up with their...

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A Resident Small Gray Bird

March 25th 9am. As March is proceeding with its variable weather, and some rain thank goodness, the birds are really beginning to exhibit nesting behavior. I see that many are in pairs now, calling back and forth to each other in the trees and shrubs. Today I am going...

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An Inside Look at Trillium in Spring

March 17th 9 am. It is time to check on the Trillium, those beautiful lilies, Trillium albidum. Last year, there were hundreds of them blooming in the two oak woodlands in our valley, and with the extra rains we got, they seemed to thrive. This year I am sure the lack...

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What are the Beavers Doing Now?

March 10, 9 am. Today there is one animal I am interested in finding signs of and that is the American beaver, Castor canadensis. My colleagues have been observing trees that have been worked on by them in the vicinity I am walking and sure enough, I see a small...

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Whose Homes are These?

March 5, 9 am. Finally...a cool, almost moist day and I am out in the northern wetlands walking around looking at some very interesting mounds of wet clay. What are these burrow-like things? Some look like little volcanoes, others like caves flooded with water....

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The Mourningcloak Butterfly

The Mourningcloak Butterfly March 2, 2020 As I walk along the riparian corridors in the Little Lake Valley, I notice that there is a large maroon or dark brown butterfly with pale-yellow ragged edges flying along beside me. It is not landing for very long making it...

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The Lack of Rain

February 20th 9am The fact that we have not had much rain so far and it is late into February has me thinking of the weather patterns and their influence on wildlife, particularly on the birds. The days are perfectly gorgeous, with blue skies with sometimes billowy...

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King-o’-the Woods

February 3rd, 9 am. Today the frost on the ground is thick but the sky is blue and clear so I know it will warm up. I am at our upland site called Plasma, adjacent to Eastside road and heading for the valley oak woodland toward the north western edge. The first...

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The Great Blue Heron Compared With the Great Egret

January 31, 10 am. Walking around the valley grasslands and riparian areas I always come across the Great blue heron, Ardea herodias, hunting in the fields. It is looking for those Pocket gophers or California voles that may have been drowned by the recent flooding or...

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More About Lichens and a Little About Mosses

January 25th, 9 am This time of the year, because of all the moisture in the ground and on the trees, is the best time to look at the fabulous world of lichens and mosses. The lack of leaves and all the wetness allows these species to grow, reproduce, and be noticed...

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The Small and Active Townsend’s Warbler

​January 16, 10 am. In one of my walks out on the north end of the valley, as I was observing the lichen hanging from the trees in the ash forest, a brightly colored active bird caught my attention. It was flashing black and yellow as it clung upside down to the...

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The Feral Pigs

January 6th, 10 am. Today I want to talk about the feral pigs that have recently become a serious problem on the mitigation lands. The last few years we have seen some pig activity but this year it appears we have as many as 30 pigs that are roaming the valley digging...

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Tree Silhouettes in Winter

Tree Silhouettes in Winter December 27th, 9 am. It is the last week in December and the evenings have brought freezing temperatures between the small rainstorms. This morning, the frost is thick on the ground and the temperature gauge in the car reads 29 degrees. The...

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Bright Colors in Winter

December 18, 2:00 pm As the days of fall end, it gets darker earlier and the colors become more muted and what I call, “earthy”. These are shades of oranges, yellows, and all manner of browns that are a softer version of what they were a month ago. On a fence pole I...

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What Are the Elk up To?

December 11, 3:00 pm. As winter is quickly approaching the elk are showing themselves more each day. The pressure for mating and keeping a harem is not as important for the dominant bull, though there are nineteen or so cows and calves who are still together with this...

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The Important Job of Scavengers

December 9, 10 am. A couple of weeks ago we had a female elk get hit by a car on Hwy 101 just north of the Willits on-ramp. No people were hurt but unfortunately the elk died from the collision. The RCD decided to take the opportunity to learn what animals would come...

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Robins in the Rain

Sunday, December 1, 10 am. The day is grey, with low clouds covering the hillsides and drizzle as I am walking near Mill Creek, on the east side of Highway 101.  Since my rain gauge showed it rained over 2.50 inches during the last week, I am curious to see if any...

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Wild Turkeys

​ November 24th 10 am As Thanksgiving approaches, I always want to write about our Wild turkeys that are found throughout the area in grasslands, wet meadows, mixed forests, and on the drier hillsides. Last year I wrote about how these turkeys are not native to this...

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A Few Fascinating Facts About Woodpeckers

November 14, 9 am. It is another beautiful fall day as I walk around the Willits Valley Mitigation Land along Davis Creek. The trees have mostly lost their leaves, their silhouettes outlined against the blue, blue sky. I can hear the drumming of a close-by woodpecker....

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The Benefits of Grazing on the Mitigation Lands

November 11, 2 pm   Upon looking out into the Little Lake Valley landscape, what is seen is the flat, open grazing lands that are an important part of the complex ecosystems within it. The Willits Bypass Mitigation Project covers 2,094 acres of the Little Lake Valley...

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Two Migratory Raptors

October 29th,  9 am.  In October and November there are many raptors that arrive here in the Willits Valley on their way south from the far northern regions. This week I was lucky to see two of these species, the Rough-legged hawk and the Ferruginous hawk. The...

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The Western Gray Squirrel

October 22, 10 am.   There are many Western Gray squirrels, Sciurus griseus, in the oak and ash tree woodland we call "Plasma" in the Willits Valley. This year there are some very large and beautiful valley oaks there that have plenty of acorns. It is delightful to...

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Bright Red Wild Rose Hips

October 16, 9 am. Fall is a time for wild berries and seeds - our oaks are full of acorns, the madrones full of their red-orange berries, dogwoods have their purple berries, poison oak has pale white berries, and the wild rose has its bright red “hips.” These are the...

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The Crowned Sparrows are Back!

October 9, 2019 This time of year, the birds that come back to winter in the Little Lake Valley begin to fill the void that those spring nesters have left. They don’t sing as much and are not as brightly colored, but they are a wonderful presence. Today I am looking...

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A Few Juvenile Birds

September 23, 10 am.First day of fall and it is perfect out. The clear blue sky with that crispness in the air says fall is here. I am noticing an increase in the sparrows, the crowned sparrows as they are called, with their songs of "oh dear me" and the sweet...

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Gathering Snowberries

September 18, 9 am.Walking out along Davis Creek, the scent of fall is in the air.  I admire the vegetation that is growing all around me, there are grasses of different shades of green, wild roses, some very tall mugwort, and a charming round bush with white...

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A Tree Climbing Fox

September 14, 9 am.This week I am focusing on the Common Gray fox, Urocyon cinereoargenteus. We were able to capture one on our video cam recorder and I had the good luck of having a young one visit our land and got one photo of it with my phone. The other photos are...

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A Glorious Insect

September 4, 9:30 am It is a clear warm morning and I am walking along Davis Creek, listening for any unusual sounds, keeping my eyes open, looking all around for mammals that may be out this morning. The birds are active in the riparian areas, taking baths and...

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Elk Friendly Fence Crossings

September 1, 9:00 am.The days are getting shorter, each day the sun is coming up a little later and setting a little earlier. The hot afternoons make me forget the cool crispness of the mornings yet every morning, as I take my morning hike up the mountain, it is...

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A Family of Beavers

August 28th 10 am. This week I am going to talk about the American Beaver, Castor canadensis, one of my favorite mammals.When researching the history of beavers in this area I found that there are no written records of beavers living in the Little Lake Valley. This...

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Late Summer Diversity

August 19th, 9 am.The long summer days are beginning to get shorter and the mornings have a crispness to them. Even so, summer is still here for another month and I am thinking of how much diversity there is in our Little Lake Valley. By that I, of course, mean the...

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A Very Large Spider and a Nasty Thistle

July 31, 10 am. Today we are working as a team to try and control some of the invasive thistles and other invasive plants that grow on the mitigation lands. we are looking for the thistle called Canada thistle or Creeping thistle, Circium arvense. Canada thistle is a...

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Poison Hemlock as a Food Source for Birds

Monday July 29th, 12:00 pmThe heat has eased off today and there is a pleasant breeze as I walk along the riparian area in the center of the valley. It is alive with fledgling birds begging for food from their parents as usual. Along the fence there is a variety of...

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A Lovely Migrant

Thursday, July 18th 9 amIt is a glorious summer day and I am walking along the riparian corridor of Berry creek heading to Davis creek. It is late July and there is still water in both of the creeks, though Berry creek has slowed down and I know it will be dry after...

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Flowers and Pollinators

July 15th, 9:30 amAs the summer moves along I am taken with how mild this summer is compared to last year. The temperatures have been marvelous, not too hot, and not too cold. Having fog last week, in the early hours of the day, and then the temperature not going much...

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Summer Wild Flowers

July 8, 11 am.It is a cool, foggy morning and I reflect on how wonderful it is to have fog in the summer. So far this summer has been the perfect temperature a far as I am concerned. The afternoons have warmed up nicely but the mornings retain their coolness until...

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Happy July 4th!

June 26th This is a short blog to let you all know I will be off for this coming week. To celebrate this holiday with you,  I had to post these photos of a Common Yellow throat warbler with food in its mouth for a young fledgling (I did not get a photo of the...

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The Management of Some Invasive Plants

Monday, June  24th, 9 am.Today I am going to talk about some of the work we at the Mendocino Resource Conservation District are doing on removing invasive plants from the mitigation lands. As part of the mitigation and monitoring proposal for the Willits Bypass,  we...

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The Hard Work of Being a Bird Parent

Monday, June 11, 9 amThe days have turned hot and the cicadas are singing in full force. Even though it is not yet the 97 degrees it is supposed to be later today, there is a cool freshness to the air, especially in the shade of the Valley oaks and Oregon ash trees I...

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A Spectacular Field of Sunflowers

June 8, 9 am.The last week of May I was on the property we call the Benbow area, walking along a small creek that has no name, when ahead of me I saw a field, stretching as far as I could see, that was filled with a golden yellow sunflower. When got closer I could see...

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The Elusive Grasshopper Sparrow

May 29th, 9 am.Sometimes it is the bird that is not so colorful or flashy that catches my attention. Today as I am walking around the grassland fields in the south end of the valley, I hear the high trill of the Grasshopper sparrow, Ammodrumus savannarum. This little,...

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Ode to Cow Parsnip

May 17, 9 am. Today the plant, Cow Parsnip, Heracleum maximum, has caught my attention. In the woodlands and along the creek it is a spectacular specimen of a plant.  It is also known as American cow-parsnip, Indian celery, Indian rhubarb or pushki. It is sometimes...

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Hidden Nests in the Grass and Wetlands

May 12,  9 amIt is with much anticipation that I set out today in hope of finding some nesting birds. For weeks now, it has been apparent that birds are displaying territoriality everywhere I go. The Red- winged blackbirds are the most dramatic with the showing off of...

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The Handsome Common Merganser

May 6, 9 am.Today the sunshine is intense, I can feel the ground drying up around me as I walk along the east side of Outlet creek.  The sky i s a brilliant blue and I am grateful for our wonderful air quality. It is a lucky day for me because I am alone in the beauty...

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The Sea of Blue

May 6, 1:00 pm.Today is a glorious day and I am out looking at the flowers that are blooming in the Little Lake Valley. It is the peak of the Blue Camas bloom, Camassia quamash, a perennial with leaves emerging from a persistent bulb in a basal rosette. This is the...

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The Breeding Bird Survey

April 29th, 8:00 amFor the last 4 years the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, or MCRCD, has been conducting a breeding bird survey on the Little Lake Valley mitigation lands specifically around the riparian and wetland areas. It is mostly a listening...

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Singing Warblers in the Valley

April 19th, 10 am.Spring is in full swing and the days are longer and maybe a little bit warmer too. It is such a delight to head out to the oak woodland in the south end of the valley. The sun is streaming in through the just barely breaking bud branches of the great...

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A Surprise Encounter

April 3, 12:00 pmIt is a glorious spring day. I have walked out to Outlet creek from the Harc 4 gate, around the south end of a small oak woodland we call Lusher. The Giant white wakerobin, Trillium allbidium, are in bloom here with Meadow Rue and Milkmaids...

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An Abundant Trillium Year

April 8, 10 am.Spring has truly begun even if the rain just keeps coming. The warmth and moisture is making all the green plants push up and up. Sometimes when I am out for a while in the dampness, it seems things are growing right in front of my eyes! The many...

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Turkeys in the Springtime

March 24, 10 am.Spring is definitely  here in the bird world. As I walk out to the wetlands the sounds of Redwing blackbirds, Western meadowlarks, Song sparrows, and lots of wild turkeys fill the air. As I look ahead to the west there is a large flock of mixed...

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The Search for Nesting Spaces

March 19, 9 am.The feel of spring is in the air as I make my way to the north end once again. Today my intention is to observe the nesting behavior of two cavity nesting birds, our year-round resident the Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana, and one of our migrants, the...

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The Tule Elk in the Spring

March 13, 2019  9 am. It is a cold and clear day with a promise of warmth later on. I am headed out to the north end of our valley to count the Tule elk and check on how it is going with their antler shed. This time of the year the bull Tule elk begin to act a little...

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A Break in the Rainy Weather

March 11, 11 am.After a storm system which, in some places in our county, dropped over 10 inches of rain, it feels good to have a break with blue sky and sunshine. I am headed out to Berry Creek, at the HARC 2 gate. The fog is still low in the valley but the rich...

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More Water in the Little Lake Valley

We have a small break in the rain and snow today and I am heading out to see how flooded the valley has become over the weekend. My waders and raingear in hand, I head out to the middle section. As soon as I arrive I can tell my waders will be necessary. There are a...

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Poetry in Our Valley

February 11, 1:00 pmToday as I walk out along Davis Creek, my mind is on poetry. A myriad of green hues stand out in the winter light, alive in the lichens, grasses, shrubs, trees, and mosses. The sun has penetrated the grey fog that was present earlier, adding a glow...

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Another Winter Day in the Valley

February 6, 10:30 am. The snow has fallen thickly at my house and I try to remember seeing this much on the ground before. I am anxious to see how the valley floor is looking so I head for the south end. My first stop is the northern offramp of the highway where there...

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Elk in Action

January 29th 1:00 pmAnother gorgeous warm blue sky day. Rain is in the forecast for later in the week which allows me to relax and enjoy this winter day that feels like spring. I have come out to the HARC 4 gate to see what the inundation looks like now that we have...

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Helping Wood Ducks

January 24th, 9 am.Today I am excited to be able to help one of our volunteers, Jayman Cooper, and our Project Assistant, Jake Stubberfield move some wood duck boxes, we had put up last year with the help of our Project Manager, Chris Bartow, from an area along Outlet...

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Lichens and Mosses

January 8,  9 am.Another wonderful rainy winter day as I head out to the Berry Creek area with my full rain gear on, raincoat, pants, and high top rain boots. I even bring my umbrella so I can take photos while it rains. Today the colors of the lichens and mosses...

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One of Our Dazzling Resident Birds

January 4, 9:30 am.It is colder than I expected today but I am content that we have more rain coming with winter in full swing. The bird that is attracting my attention, on this day, is the Western Meadowlark. There is a little drizzle as I start out which seems to...

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Our Wetlands Return and so do the Ducks!

January 1, 2019 10am.It is a clear, cold, icy day with the sky above me an astounding blue. I am out in the western area of the mitigation lands, drawn here to find the ducks I have been hearing out where Mill creek overflows. As I approach over the wet and muddy...

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Two Different Buteos

December 17,  10 am.Today is a damp and foggy autumn day. The rain over the weekend and last night has soaked the ground and caused the creeks to rise. It is not cold and I am anxious to get walking out on the valley floor. This is the time for migrating raptors to...

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Planting Shade and Diversity in the Pastures

December 8, 9 am.This week our team is planting for diversity and shade in some of our open grazing areas. Construction efforts on Mitigation lands left several areas utilizing livestock as a management tool with a lack of natural shade for animals during the hot...

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The Return of the Bald Eagles

December 5, 9 am.Today it looks like it will rain before too long. I am wearing a rain jacket and pants plus have an umbrella for taking photos.  As I get out of the car, I see a pair of magnificent Bald Eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, sitting in the trees on the...

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A Perfect Fall Day

November 28th, 10am.This is my favorite kind of fall day. We have had over 4 inches of rain and today it is a little drizzly but very warm. There is a chance the sun may come out for a bit later on but more rain is due tonight. That feeling of drought is...

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The Beautiful Black Cottonwood

November 12, 9 amThis is another clear blue autumn day with no rain in sight. Today the trees have begun to show more color maybe since the evenings have become cooler. It is the Black Cottonwood, Populus trichocarpa, that really stands out as a vivid yellow candle...

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The White-Tailed Kite

Nov. 15, 9 am.It is a frosty morning, the air crisp with some haze around the hills in the distance. There is a lot of bird activity at the beginning of my walk along Berry Creek towards Davis Creek. The Wrentits are singing that ping pong ball song on either side of...

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One of the World’s Most Impressive Birds

November 11, 8:30 amThere is a bit of ground fog this morning, so it is a little cooler than the past few days.I am walking out along Mill Creek on the east side. It is a fine riparian corridor with lots of streamside vegetation, such as Oregon Ash, Willow, and Leaf...

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Two Hoofed Mammal Cousins

November 5th, 10 am. Today is another cool, clear, fall day. It is a day for me to compare two ungulates, the Black-tailed deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus and the Tule Elk, Cervus elaphus nannodes, that live in the mitigation lands and in  Mendocino County. Our...

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A “Day of the Dead” Blog

October 24th, 8:30 am. As autumn progresses and Halloween approaches I begin to see the earth around me full of signs of the season. I am not a great fan of Halloween but prefer the celebration of the Day of the Dead, El Dia de los Muertos, because I do love the idea...

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What a Difference Some Rain Makes

October 8th, 10 am. The bright clear sky is an intense blue. It is crisp out but it will be warm this afternoon, so I am dressed in layers. There is a sweet smell in the air of dampness. The mosses have turned dark green from the moisture. I am aware of a sense of...

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RCD Team Busy in Streams Before Waters Rise

October 2nd, Wednesday, 2:20 p.m. LARGE DEBRIS ACCUMULATIONS. Yesterday and today the Willits RCD team, and fisheries biologist, Joe Scriven from the Ukiah office, have been working on Stream Channel Maintenance. For the last 5 years the stream channels on...

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The Autumn Singer

September 24th, 1:00 pm. This is a fine autumn day. The morning was cool enough for me to start the day wearing layers including a down vest. Now the temperature is approaching hot so I am down to my t-shirt layer! The sky is a clear, brilliant blue with...

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Many Woodpeckers and Some Fall Color

September 4, 9:30 am As I am walking along Berry Creek on this beautiful day, I am struck by the sound of tapping on a small Ash tree. I climb down into the creek bed and begin looking for where the sound is coming from. It is a Hairy Woodpecker, Picoides villosus. I...

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Late Summer Action

Wednesday, August 29th, 8:30 am It feels like a bit of fall is in the air. The nights have been cooler, we had 47 degrees this morning, and the days take longer to warm up. Of course, the sun is setting earlier which shortens the amount of time outside. Today I am...

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In Search of the Tule Elk

August 25th, 8:30 am. It is a very foggy and cool morning. We are a group of 12 brought together by our interest in the Tule Elk of the Willits Valley. I have been looking for them all week hoping to scope out where they might gather so we can all see them. The path...

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A Small and Creative Marsh Dweller

August 15th 9 am It is an extremely smoky morning and I am out in the northern wetlands immersed in the tules. This is a plant some people call common tule or hard stem tule, but its scientific name is, Schonoplectus acutus. This for me is one sign of a true wetland...

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Video of the Week

The Weekly Media is taking a short hiatus….Stay tuned

Week #36 Bobcat Siblings

This week’s video features two bobcat kittens traveling through Little Lake Valley with their mother. Also, learn more about the variety of fall berries that are an important food source for birds in this week’s blog and photos!

See this week’s Videos!



The Willits Bypass Mitigation Project was featured in the June 29, 2020 edition of KZYX Community News. Listen here to learn more on the history of the project and progress that has been made since its inception.

Gallery of Weekly Videos & Photos