Park Wavelengths - June 2013
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
In our last wavelengths, Francis Drake was spell-checked to "France"; our sincere apologies! Still repairing the spell check from stnkyngge to stinking fogs!
The silky tents covered with caterpillars have yielded the next phase: fluttering cream-colored moths busily chowing down on oak trees and assorted brush--Malacosoma californicum or California tent caterpillar moths! This species may go through two generations in one year of pupating and hatching.
Rainy weather brought out some California newts on pavements around Bear Valley. They have a brilliant orange belly under a chocolate back; they are partial to damp conditions.
The annual seal protection measures lift on June 30; Drakes Estero and South Blue Gum Beach are open to boaters again. Road repair season is underway: for those entering the West Marin area, expect weekday delays on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in the section above Olema, as well as on Nicasio Valley Road near the schoolyard.
The Lighthouse Visitor Center and the stairs leading down to the Lighthouse will be open on Thursday, July 4 (10am to 4:30 pm, weather permitting), as will the Bear Valley Visitor Center (9 am to 5 pm). Fireworks are not permitted within Marin County, which includes Point Reyes National Seashore and beaches. Fireworks may be viewed over the hill at the Marin County Fair or from the Marin Headlands of Golden Gate NRA.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Forwarded to Park Wavelengths:
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Subject: Vegetation Fire on Highway 1 across from Olema Campground
2:24 pm: A small grass fire due to downed power lines started across from the Olema Campground. It is located east of the Highway 1, north of Olema. It is under control and traffic control is in place. Please avoid the area.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Just after this year’s solstice of June 20, a full moon arrives on June 23, bringing very high tides in the evenings and very low tides in the early mornings before sunrise.
White blossoms scaling the roadside heights are poison hemlock (delicate and lacy flowers) and cow parsnip (heavy and cauliflower like). Both plants reach heights of 5 to 6 feet and are blooming profusely. Blue elderberry is also blooming right now (yellow flowering shrubs), while Red Elderberry is finished blooming and has sprays of bright red berries cascading downward.
This week in 1579, Francis Drake made his way to California’s shore in the "stinking fogges" as part of his circumnavigation of the globe. Scraping seaweed and resealing the bottom of his ship, the Golden Hind, with tar and oakum occupied much of the crew’s time, along with meeting the locals and hunting deer and "conies" (rabbits) [sic]. His name remains behind on the bay and roads!
The California State Parks are sponsoring a special hike and walk at Tomales Bay State Park on June 15 from 10 to 2:30 pm. Nick Tipon from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria will join park staff to talk about the history and natural world of the state park. Pre-registration requested at 707-769-5652 x 225.
[The Drake Navigators Guild concluded that the "strange kind of conies" described by the ship's chaplain, Francis Fletcher, are most likely Botta's pocket gophers (Thomomys bottae bottae). (2,949 KB PDF) - Ed.]
Did You Know?
In addition to raising sea levels and temperatures, the increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is changing ocean chemistry by reducing the pH of the ocean. This decreased pH reduces the availability of minerals which marine organisms use to build shells and reef structures. More...