Park Wavelengths - February 2014
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
The new moon of March 1 ushers in a week of 6-foot-plus high tides in the mornings with afternoon minus tides.
Spring is peeking out everywhere with the first of the blooms. Pinkish white milkmaids are thriving at the Elephant Seal Overlook and in some full sun areas. Visitors may even see a Douglas iris or two. Bay trees are also in bud and willows are fuzzy with catkins.
Whales are few and far between, but the elephant seal colony at North [sic] Drakes Beach is full of activity. Weaner pods of pups are forming and males are swimming about blowing bubbles and sneaking up on the beaches. [The colony is located at the southwest end of Drakes Beach. - Ed.]
A rare image of a Northern Spotted Owl feasting on a California Quail has been posted to the park Facebook page. Typically, they feed on rodents and rabbits, so the quail image was an unusual sighting in the park forest.
Annual seal protection measures begin March 1 with Drakes Estero [and Estero de Limantour] closed to boating. South Blue Gum Beach in Tomales Bay and the very tip of Limantour Spit are also closed. Harbor seals will be pupping on park beaches and need time to rest ashore as they raise their young.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers
Thursday, February 6, 2014
A full moon comes up Friday, February 14 with high early morning tides.
A very unusual sighting of a sea otter in Tomales Bay was reported by local outfitter Point Reyes Outdoors. Typically, the kelp bed habitat preferred is found along the outer seashore areas, where occasional sightings have been reported. The overall population of sea otters, most prevalent in Monterey Bay, has sustained various illnesses so there are fewer animals to recolonize Point Reyes.
Spring seems to be arriving on its own schedule with bright yellow acacia trees in full bloom along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. Flowering plum and other fruit trees are awash in blossoms, along with native pink flowering currant on Bear Valley Trail.
The recent dry spell has affected spawning salmon in park creeks both at Point Reyes and Muir Woods. The news concerning Lagunitas Creek has been more positive: Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) reported 118 live adult coho and 45 new coho redds last Friday. Our Dual-Frequency Identification Sonar (DIDSON) system that uses sonar to produce fish images documented a net upstream movement of 267 adult salmonids. Based on MMWD survey data the majority of these fish are likely adult coho!
Follow the link below to see some of our DIDSON video clips on Lagunitas Creek:
Did You Know?
Four species of pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) rest onshore or breed at Point Reyes: the Northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), and the Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus). More...