I have the perfect antidote to the Coronavirus that has everyone in a panic. Notice I didn’t say cure, or even prevention, just something that will help – with the feelings of overwhelm, at least. It’s the opposite of quarantine but it’s far from crowds. Get outside and go into nature. Go for a hike. Go to the beach. Go see some wildlife. Take a deep breath and then another. I promise you will feel better and calmer. We are so lucky to live here where natural beauty surrounds us and there is wildlife in abundance. March is a great time to go whale watching, or birding, or just for a drive to see all the baby cows and sheep.
I was in Mendocino last week and went to the headlands to look for whales. It was awesome! We saw a lot of spouting, backs and a couple flukes. But the highlight of the weekend was when a whale breached not just once, not twice or even just three times – he playfully launched himself up and then crashed back into the water four times in a row! That was something to see! And no, I didn’t get a picture of it because who knew he would do it again? So I just have the memory and no proof of what I saw – of course, I wasn’t alone so there were other witnesses. Seeing a whale breach is a rare occurrence unless you are in the right place at the right time of year.
This time of year, the whales are heading back north to Alaska from Baja Mexico where they have spent the winter breeding and giving birth. Now they are returning to Alaska for the summer to dine on the krill and herring. It’s amazing to think that these giants – the largest mammal we have on earth, can go six months without eating while they migrate to breed and give birth. But they definitely make up for it during the other six months! Did you know that a single humpback whale can eat about 5,000 pounds of plankton, krill and other small fish in one day? That’s a couple of big meals!
If you can’t get up to Mendocino to see the whales there are places a little closer. One good place is by the lighthouse in Pt. Reyes National Park. Even closer is out at Bodega Head, part of Sonoma Coast State Park. Heading north there are good viewpoints at Gualala Point Regional Park, Sea Ranch, Stillwater Cove Regional Park and Salt Point State Park. I haven’t been to them all myself so I can’t make a recommendation of which is the best.
If whales aren’t your thing there is always the flat easy walk around Shollenberger Park in Petaluma which is a protected bird sanctuary and wetlands. It attracts 231 species of birds making it a paradise for bird watchers. If you are just looking for some nice hiking areas and fresh air, Taylor Mountain is super close by and beautiful. Heading south to Petaluma there is Helen Putnam Regional Park and Tolay Lake Regional Park. Both have areas where you walk through cow pastures and might meet a four-legged friend with a calf. Just want a quick, close walk in Rohnert Park? We have a beautiful creek path that runs along both sides of Copeland Creek from Commerce to Sonoma State University.
We are so lucky to have all of this so close by and accessible. So instead of listening to the news and getting more stressed out, take a break and head outside. It really will help you feel better, I promise!
Postponed – Sonoma County Bunfest originally scheduled for March 28. New date not set yet, so check our Facebook page or sign up for our emails on our website. (rpanimalshelter.org).
Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $100 dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.