Park Wavelengths - July 2004
July 29, 2004
Warning Note: In the last week, car burglaries have occurred at the Sky Trail and Laguna Trailhead. They are "smash and grab", the window is broken and items left in view in the vehicle are grabbed, the trunk may also be accessed. Leave any valuables at home and do not leave items on the seats. The park experiences a few each year.
Naturalist Notebook: The Blue moon is here! The second full moon in a month rises at 11:05 am on Saturday, July 31st. It brings the last 'batch' of daytime low tides until well into the fall.
Tidepooling in Tomales Bay yields views of the native oysters whose population is rebounding. They cannot be exposed for long periods and are seen in the mid-tide area - they look similar to a grayish "potato chip" on the rocks!
A pinhole leak in a sewage line was discovered at Drakes Beach last weekend. As a precautionary measure, a small area of the beach was closed as repairs were completed and rangers closed the road for two evenings to insure no accidental contacts with potentially contaminated water. The closure was lifted Tuesday.
2004 harbor seal counts from the monitoring program: 5817 animals which includes 1271 pups. The harbor seal population is healthy and can easily be viewed from Highway 1 at the Bolinas Lagoon.
Marin County Open Space and Parks have delayed the implementation of parking fees at White House Pool, citing the economics, it is being reconsidered in light of the fact that the fees may not cover the costs of installing the and maintaining the fee devices.
Park botanists have shared a new website where listings of local plants may be obtained: http://www.marin.edu/cnps/MarinCNPS_Plant_Lists.html. Many thanks to volunteers who have compiled the lists; they are organized by location so can be printed out for Abbots Lagoon, Chimney Rock etc.
Marin County Open Space and Parks sponsors a bird walk with Rich Stallcup on Wednesday, August 4th. Meet at the Limantour Parking lot.
July 14, 2004
Naturalist Notebook: July 17th is the new moon, this is called Jumada II, the sixth month of the Islamic calendar. Coming up July 31st is a "Blue moon", a second full moon in one month, an occurrence normally about every two and a half years. Early risers can catch some low tides on Saturday, 6:06 am -0.6 feet and Sunday at 7:37 am -0.6 feet.
Mountain lions have been reported along the upper trails of Muir Woods and trailheads have been posted. Typically, one to two year olds cats disperse, moving away from the mothers' range, looking to establish their own ranges (estimated from 8-10 miles or larger depending on available food). They are not expert hunters yet, a skill that develops over years. Occasionally, it is these young cats testing their skills that have negative interactions with humans. They feed primarily on deer, watching the animal for several minutes before making a quick, running leap to grab the neck of the animal and crush it with a single snap. Statistics show that humans are more likely to be injured by deer or bees than cats!
Water conservation measures are in place at Stinson Beach, low flow toilets, waterless urinals have been installed in the public park facilities and the outdoor showers are limited. Water saved will enhance fish habitat in Eastkoot Creek and Bolinas Lagoon, the creek area is being landscaped with native alders and the riparian habitat restored.
Berries are bursting out everywhere! Huckleberries are along the trails in Tomales Bay State Park, the upper Bayview Trail and Meadow Trail! The larger deep purple Himalaya berries, introduced from India in 1885 by Luther Burbank are coming is as well! The bright red salmon berries are out, they appear as brilliant cluster similar to salmon fish eggs with distinctive hairs on each berry. These are not considered as tasty as blackberries or huckleberries!
Saturday, July 17 is the 23rd annual 'Big Time" Native American Festival at Kule Loklo from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Cultural skills will be demonstrated, vendors of traditional crafts and dancing. No admittance fees. Bring a lunch and something to sit on. No dogs or alcohol.
Permits have been issued for a 1/2 marathon run on July 24th staging out of 5 brooks Trailhead with a possible 200 participants. A picnic permit has also been issued for 50+ people at Bear Valley Picnic area on July 24th as well. A wedding permit has been issued for South Beach on July 25th with an expected 70 people. There may be parking congestion in those areas.
Marin County Open Space and Parks is sponsoring some walks in the West Marin area:
Saturday, July 17 7:00-9:30 pm
Wednesday, July 21st 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at Tomales Bay State Park. Meet at the Jepson Trailhead (off Pierce Point Road) for a leisurely walk down to the beach. (Huckleberries are everywhere!)
Did You Know?
In the mid-1800s, the tule elk was hunted to the brink of extinction. The last surviving tule elk were discovered and protected in the southern San Joaquin Valley in 1874. In 1978, ten tule elk were reintroduced to Point Reyes, which now has one of California's largest populations, numbering ~500. More...