Park Wavelengths - July 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
A new moon rises on August 9 with some early morning low tides:
The natural fireworks of the annual Perseid meteor showers peak in the sky on Thursday, August 12, though they may be seen, fog permitting, throughout the week of August 9–13. The sky display will be particularly brilliant this year with the configuration of the evening planets Venus, Mars, and Saturn along with a sliver of crescent moon in the early evenings!
Minke whales, a smallish whale with a dorsal fin and white patches on the underside of its flukes, have been seen from the Lighthouse; they have been lingering and feeding around the point.
Cool summer weather has not delayed the berry season: plenty of thimbleberries along Bear Valley Trail; blackberries along the Levee Road in the full sunshine; and huckleberries at Tomales Bay State Park. Let the pie making begin!!! Berries, a renewable resource may be gathered in the park for non-commercial use—2 quarts per person per day.
Marin County Open Space rangers lead a hike out Bear Valley Trail on Friday, August 6. Meet at the Visitor Center parking lot for this 9.0 mile round trip through the evergreen woods into the coast chaparral. The following week they have a family walk at Kehoe Beach Trail from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
A wedding permit has been issued for July 31st; 100 people at Drakes Beach 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Mark Your Calendars for Sunday, September 5 for the annual Sand Sculpture Contest at Drakes Beach with local celebrity judges Charlie Morgan, musician and KWMR radio personality and Cheri Leirier, art and science teacher and local business owner. Plan for carpooling—parking is congested at this popular event!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The full moon rises Monday, July 26. The usual low tides associated with the full moon will occur before sunrise in the early morning darkness. As summer continues, Venus, the bright early evening "star," moves a little lower with Saturn and Mars close to it.
The treasure of the day being turned into Bear Valley Visitor center is shed snake skins, mostly from gopher snakes. Unlike other critters, snakes shed their whole skin in one continuous piece; it helps remove bacteria and parasites. They are temporarily blind and vulnerable afterwards. Rattlesnakes get a new rattle piece each time they shed.
The Northern Spotted Owl nesting season is wrapping up. Thirty nesting sites were monitored this year. The majority of sites were occupied by adults, but only ten of the nest successfully fledged young owls. The late rainy season may have influenced the numbers. One nest may have failed due to interactions with a male barred owl.
Tule elk breeding season—the "rut"—is warming up! Volunteer docents are at the elk range on weekends with spotting scopes to help find elk and identify behaviors. Early morning visitors may be rewarded with the bugling sound of males through the fog. Coyotes have been "singing" behind Kule Loklo in the mornings recently.
The 30th Annual Big Time Festival will be held Saturday, July 17 at Kule Loklo, the Coast Miwok Exhibit near Bear Valley Visitor Center. Traditional dancers, vendors and a great day in the sun! No dogs or alcohol permitted.