There have been days when the sun has shone, ever bright and golden. Days when not a single cloud called the blue sky home. Days it seemed the temperatures could not possibly get any higher and the humidity and lower.
There have been evenings too. Naturally. Evenings when the sound of a cool breeze through the grass and the serenade of a nighttime choir were a nightly occurrence. Even more so, there were evenings it seemed that no “delta breeze” could ever cool the valley.
Those times have since passed. Being far from my northeastern home, it has been difficult to adapt to a climate where days are predictable. Having spent a few years in Syracuse, NY, I had grown accustomed to the chance that it could be sunny and 65, snowing and freezing, and raining torrentially all in a single week.
Summer (and most of Fall) in the Sacramento Valley left me pining for a change in weather from day-to-day. Something other than warm, sunny, and the occasional slight change in how breezy it was. October and November have so far fulfilled my wishes. We finally had our first few good bits of rain, which is a great help for our wetland management program and also rejuvenated my interest in staying here a little while longer. With the changing of seasons, I was fortunate enough to be granted a short extension. Now I will be around until the holidays, providing me an opportunity to gain more experience and to enjoy more time at the preserve with our feathered friends.
Lately, we have been in our last stages of our flood-up schedule. We just have a few more ponds to flood over the coming weeks before Christmas (typically the peak of waterfowl migration in the area). It is exciting to see all the birds utilizing the habitat we have worked so hard to manage. Learning the wetland system has been a truly interesting aspect of my internship. All the ponds are different in their own ways. In that way, managing them becomes a cooperative agreement between the manager and the wetland itself. In only a short time I feel as though I have begun to see and know some of these intricacies.
Living in provided housing on the preserve, I am lucky enough to fall asleep each night listening to the sounds of the birds that we work for. Almost like a “thank you”. They all have such unique calls and I am working to learn them.
My other major objective has been completing the installation of display panels and mounts in our visitor center. I hope that this will be my lasting contribution to the preserve. Something that I can come back to in 20 years and see. I’ll remember the process. How the walls were white and bare. How the first panel to go up was almost experimental and how it required some problem-solving to adjust. I’ll remember the wood ducks on their perch. The massive antlers from a local buck that died of old age. Hopefully, these things will be appreciated by many people to come.
I am looking to make the most of my time over the next few weeks. While I am looking forward to going home, I am beginning to process just how much the preserve and my experience here has meant to me.
One thing I won’t forget is the first rain after months without it. The rain brought me a fresh perspective and newfound appreciation for this place and my experiences here.
-Tyler Rose –
Cosumnes River Preserve