Park Wavelengths - December 2013
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Exceptionally high tides—king tides—peak Wednesday, January 1 at 9:46 am at 7.3 feet under a new moon:
A special photo session is scheduled for 10 am on Tuesday, December 31 at Tomales Bay State Park to photograph the king tides.
The first two elephant seal pups were noted last week in the main colony of the Headlands. Researchers have been dye-marking animals in the colonies to assist in identifying dominant males. Gray whale sightings have also been on the rise. Larger numbers are being seen earlier in the year than usual, which may be due to great weather for watching them or other factors. Thirty-four were seen on Saturday, December 28!
Bear Valley Visitor Center will be open Wednesday, January 1. The Lighthouse will not be open and remains on its regular schedule: closed Tuesday through Thursday; open Friday through Monday, 10 am to 4:30 pm. The Ken Patrick Visitor Center is open only when shuttles are operating.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The morning high tides continue in the six-foot-plus range with corresponding minus-tides in the late afternoons. Again, beach walkers should dress warmly against colder than normal temperatures and do not turn your back on the ocean! The high waves may bring in some early elephant seal bulls to Drakes Beach, so keep an eye out and be sure not to approach any marine mammals.
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.
Icy temperatures have put a chill on fungi; it may be a slow season for mushroom hunters until there is more warmth to spur growth of the tasty treats. There was plenty of rain over the weekend, but not enough heat. Fish numbers should be improving after the storm and will be reported as they come in to the staff.
The annual park open house is Friday, December 13 from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Come by and share a treat and visit!
Right around the corner is the 16th year of shuttle buses at the park. On weekends and Monday federal holidays beginning December 28, if the weather is clear, Sir Francis Drake Road is closed at South Beach and buses carry visitors to the whale watching and elephant seal viewing areas.