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Tuesday, March 31, 2015
The full moon of April 4 will appear in Easter bright color! A lunar eclipse is on the calendar beginning at 3:15 am early Saturday morning. The moon passes into the earth's shadow from the sun and will take on a reddish color. Total eclipse is from 4:58 am to 5:03 am.
Northern elephant seal numbers continue to decline, though numerous weaner pods (or groups) of this year's class of pups may be seen near Chimney Rock. Whale watching has been up and down with fogs and wind obscuring the viewing on Friday and Saturday [March 27 and 28], but calmer weather on Sunday and Monday [March 29 and 30] brought up the viewing possibilities. A freshwater otter scampered across Drakes Beach on Saturday!
Poppies are the newest blooming wildflowers starting to show in the pastures around Bear Valley Visitor Center.
The annual park Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) youth employment program is recruiting teens between 16 and 18 [years of age] for a two-month program clearing brush and trails in the summer. Applications for the non-residential program may be requested from Nicole Whittington at 415-464-5112 in the maintenance office.
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 new 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.
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.