Images of Winter in the Little Lake Valley

 Mill Creek floods its banks after we have over 6 inches of rain which creates a wetland.
This bedraggled immature first year Bald eagle is drying out after a rain.
A brilliant male Western bluebird sunning on a post.
These American wigeon are found in our flooded wetland areas along with other waterfowl.
As the morning fog lifts, the bare trees are silhouetted against the horizon.
The main Tule elk herd running through the Mill creek marsh.
Another raptor, a Sharpshinned hawk, drying itself after it rained.
Our smallest falcon, the American kestrel, looking a little bit annoyed at being all wet!

Finally, it is feeling 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 ending of 2020 there is much to contemplate. As I walk the mitigation lands, I see the animals that inhabit the different ecosystems going about their business. Their presence is either seen in their scat that they deposit along the trails or in the tunnels and mounds of soil everywhere.

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 are among many birds that appear to be drying their wings, soaking sunshine into their feathers by turning to face the sun. The valley flooding is always exciting to observe because the waterfowl and water birds gather in high numbers. This assemblage attracts the Bald eagles as they 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 keep being resilient ourselves and continue supporting, through conservation efforts, the environment that allows wild animals to be resilient. A new year’s resolution for all of us. May the new year bring you joy!