2014 Harbor Seal Pupping Season Closures
From March 1 through June 30, the park implements closures of certain Tomales Bay beaches and Drakes Estero to water-based recreation to protect harbor seals during the pupping season. Please avoid disturbing seals to ensure a successful pupping season. More »
2014 Winter Shuttle Bus Operations Have Ended
March 30, 2014, was the last day for the 2014 Winter Shuttle Bus System. Sir Francis Drake Blvd. is open daily from now through late December 2014. More »
Operational Changes Took Effect on May 1, 2013
The Lighthouse Visitor Center is now only open Fridays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays through Thursdays, including Thanksgiving. The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center is open on weekends and holidays when shuttles are operating. More »
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
April brings some wonderful skywatching, beginning with a full moon and lunar eclipse on April 14, mostly visible around 12:42 am. The Lyrid meteor shower peaks following Easter on April 21 and 22 with a projected 20 meteors per hour with long bright tails. It is the oldest recorded shower, first noted by Chinese astronomers in 687 BCE.
Shade-loving wildflowers along the Bear Valley Trail include "Dutchman's breeches," lavender pink heart shaped flowers, also called "bleeding hearts." The elusive creek dogwood is in bloom along the trail, planted near the site of an old weekend cabin. [Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches) is native to eastern North America and is not known to occur naturally at Point Reyes. Dicentra formosa (western, wild, or Pacific bleeding heart) is native to Point Reyes and does occur along Bear Valley Trail. Cornus sericea (American dogwood, creek dogwood, redosier dogwood, red osier dogwood, red willow, redstem dogwood, redtwig dogwood, red-rood, or western dogwood) is native to Point Reyes, may be seen in many locations throughout the park along creeks and marshes, and has clusters of small white flowers and red-colored twigs. The non-native dogwood which was planted on the east side of Bear Valley Creek and is located about a quarter-mile south of the Bear Valley Trailhead is a Cornus nuttallii (mountain, Pacific, or western dogwood). It is more conspicuous than Cornus sericea when in bloom, with relatively large, showy white bracts, which many mistake for the petals of the dogwood flower. The flowers, as opposed to the bracts, are small and inconspicuous—2–3 mm across—and produced in a dense, rounded, greenish-white flowerhead that is 2 cm in diameter. - Ed.]
Mark your calendars for an e-waste drive at Bear Valley on Tuesday, April 22.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
A new moon rises Sunday, March 30, but viewing may be hampered by predicted showers.
Wildflower season is on! Light-colored flowering shrubs along roadsides are red elderberry and are very profuse along the Coast Trail. Douglas iris beds at the Estero Trailhead are blooming and poppies are everywhere!
The northern elephant seal season is winding down with most females gone to sea and this year’s group of "weaners" still on the beaches. They will linger molting and losing fur for another few months. Whale spotting has been hampered by dense fog at the coast, but, this past weekend, more were seen from the Lighthouse.
A new species of fly was discovered in the park along Limantour Road by scientists from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. It is a type of fungus gnat (Megophthalmidia saskia) which, yes, feeds on fungus!
This weekend is the end of the 2013–2014 shuttle season; subsequently, Sir Francis Drake Boulevard will be open on weekends through late December 2014.
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.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Beginning May 1, the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center at Drakes Beach will be closed except during the shuttle bus season. The Lighthouse Visitor Center and the stairs leading down to the Lighthouse will be open Friday through Monday; closed Tuesdays through Thursdays (the parking area and observation deck are open Tuesdays through Thursdays). The Bear Valley Visitor Center will be open 10 am to 5 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 5 pm on weekends.
Did You Know?
Elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) regularly plunge to depths of 2000 feet to find food, but even far below the ocean's surface they are affected by warming temperatures and melting Antarctic ice. More...