June 12, 2012
My daughter and I went birding at the old wastewater ponds just north of the skateboard park in Willits. The birding was great! We found 47 species, including a Norther Shoveler (rare here for this time of year). In addition, we saw or heard at least 5 Yellow-breasted Chats, a Green Heron, a nesting pair of Red-naped Sapsuckers (5 species of woodpeckers), many nesting Tree Swallows (4 species of swallows), two pair of Bullock's Orioles, and two pairs of Yellow Warblers.
To get to this area, drive about 1/4 mile east from 101 Highway in Willits on Commercial. Just past the Roots of Motive Power (trains) area on the left is a skateboard park. Park in the skateboard park parking lot and walk around to the east of the park. Walk through the cow parsnip into the fields to the north of the park and watch and listen for birds along the way. The two ponds are about 300 yards north of the park. Approach the ponds carefully, as the birds are wary.
Check yourself carefully for ticks afterward! I found two crawling on myself today. Perhaps insect repellant is in order.