Park Wavelengths - July 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
August's full moon rises on Thursday, August 6, full at 5:55 p.m. If you are traveling to the east coast, you will see a penumbral lunar eclipse though we miss it on the west coast. The low tides associated with the moon are before sunrise, a bit of a chance for tidepooling on Thursday at 6:06 a.m. with a low tide of -0.1 feet. Mark your calendars for the summer show of the Perseids in the following week between August 10 and August 14—the best evening for seeing "falling stars" should be Wednesday.
The first rumblings of the tule elk rut—or breeding season—are witnessed as harems are being formed around bull elk. The males' bugling can be heard out at Tomales Point. The rut begins in early August and continues through the fall. Volunteers staff the trail on weekends to provide a closer look and answer questions.
Summer Berry time: the first ripe blackberries are appearing along roads and trails—both the native "Cutleaf" and the exotic Himalaya berry! Scarlet thimbleberries are ripening along the Bear Valley Trail and hairy salmonberries along the lower Bayview Trail. Huckleberries appear throughout Tomales Bay State Park, though no reports from Old Pine Trail yet!
Marin County Fire Department is sponsoring two weekends of free brush drop-offs at the Beebe Ranch, the gate directly across from Olema Inn in downtown Olema! They are scheduled for August 1 & 2 and August 7 & 8 between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Expect congestion on Sir Francis Drake Highway through Inverness on Saturday, August 8 when a community event takes place near the fire station.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
A new moon rises on July 21st with a solar eclipse. We won't see it in the US but if you are traveling to India and southern Asia, you'll have a ringside seat! One of the Algonquin names for this moon is the Thunder Moon—marking various summer thunders storms in their east coast territory. A few daylight low tides close out the summer tidepool season:
Snowy plovers continue to really hang in there. The mid-season report is 17 nests with 7 nests actually incubated (dad sitting on the eggs!) and 10 chicks hatched; 1 chick has fledged and 5 chicks on the beach. Good numbers so far compared to last year!
Quail coveys have hatched. Look for guard quail on fence posts, watching as the young feed below.
Long-tailed weasels have been scurrying across the Lighthouse parking areas and the road out to Chimney Rock. These small red-furred creatures feed on gophers, lizards and other critters.
Coming up on Saturday, July 25 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at Kule Loklo—the Coast Miwok Exhibit—is the 29th Annual Big Time! During summer, with abundant food supplies and good weather, it was a good time to gather with family and friends to feast, trade, dance and sing! Dancers from the Intertribal Pomo group and the Dry Creek Pomo will sing and dance; various vendors will be selling handmade California Indian items, books, etc. Bring a picnic, no dogs or alcohol and spend the day. It is free and open to the public.
The group picnic area has been reserved on July 18 (35+) and a permit has been issued for a ceremony at Limantour on July 25 from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm (75+). Expect congestion at the beach parking area.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
The earth reaches aphelion on Friday, July 3rd—the moment in its orbit when it is farthest from the sun. A lunar eclipse occurs on Tuesday, July 7th, peaking at 2:38 am. Late watchers will barely notice the tiny shadow on the moon. Very early morning low tides correspond to the eclipse:
Common murres have been laying eggs and hatching them on the rocky Lighthouse cliffs but encountered a new challenge this year—sea lions jumping onto the rock and smashing through the eggs. The sea lions are hauling out, part of their daily routine in warming up. Murres can lay another egg—re-nest; researchers are watching the phenomenon and are not sure how it will affect the overall murre population.
The great blue herons are BUSY nesting at Bear Valley—not going "bust" as noted in the last wavelengths!
Easy way to distinguish between the two pine species on the peninsula: Monterey (three syllables) have three needles; Bishop (two syllables) have two needles! The Bishop pines are seen through Tomales Bay State Park and along Inverness Ridge. The Monterey pines are easily noted on the Estero Trail—remnants of an old Christmas tree farm.
New artwork on display at the Bear Valley Visitor Center—butterflies and insects by Mollie Brown.
All park visitor centers are open on Friday, July 3rd, the federal holiday, and as usual on Saturday, July 4th. Fireworks are not permitted in Marin County and in Point Reyes National Seashore.
A special presentation by aerial photographer Robert Campbell is scheduled at the Red Barn Classroom at park headquarters on July 4th from 1:00–4:00 pm.
Annual seal protection measures are lifted today—kayakers may use Drakes Estero and all boaters may use South Blue Gum beach until next spring.
Did You Know?
Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are present in the waters of Point Reyes year round. Every spring, approximately 7,000 harbor seals, or 20% of the mainland California breeding population, haul out on the beaches of Point Reyes. Look for them in the esteros and in Tomales Bay and Bolinas Lagoon. More...