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Wednesday, March 11, 2015
The new moon rises on the vernal equinox (day and night are equal length) of Saturday, March 20, the first official day of spring. It combines with a solar eclipse which will not be visible from most of North America. A partial eclipse will be visible at locations from the north Atlantic Ocean, northern Africa, and Greenland north and east to Siberia. Mark the calendar as a total lunar eclipse will color the full moon on April 4.
More flowers appearing on south facing sunny slopes include fiery orange Indian paintbrush and lavender Douglas iris. Blue-flowering California lilac (Ceanothus sp.) shrubs may be seen along roadsides.
Springlike weather with calm seas is ideal for whale watching, but northbound whale sightings have been few and far between, with only four seen this past Monday.
New displays at the Bear Valley Visitor Center include knit crafted nudibranchs by local resident Celeste Woo. These colorful "seas slugs" live in the intertidal wilderness—tidepools—feeding on microscopic algae. Quilts from the traveling national park show "Piecing Together Climate Change" also go on display this week.
Bear Valley Visitor Center closing time was extended to 5 pm with daylight saving time changes.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Forwarded to Park Wavelengths in the local area:
Thursday, February 26, 2015
The full moon rises on Thursday, March 5. Called the Deer Moon by the Natchez of the southern states and white-tailed deer country, as the deer return from overwintering.
The drama of northern elephant seal life played out last Sunday at Drakes Beach where two young males and one older male spent the day sparring over the lone female, just inches from the parking lot under the watchful eyes of docents. By the end of the day, all were resting and then the males slipped out with the high tide. Elephant seal numbers have peaked in February as females are beginning to return to the sea.
Annual seal protection measures begin on March 1 as Drakes Estero and South Blue Gum Beach in Tomales Bay close during the harbor seal pupping season. Protection measures end each year on June 30. The protection measure provides the seals with a time to return to shore and rest while the pups are born and then nursed.
The cycle of the seasons continues with more wildflowers blooming, including Chocolate Lilies at Chimney Rock. Occasional daffodils along the northern sections of Coast Trail are remnants of the bulb farm once found at the Hostel area.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Researchers from Tottori University in Japan are tracking tsunami debris by releasing brightly colored drift bottles (see photo to the right). If you come across one on local beaches, please follow instructions on how to contact the researchers.