Park Wavelengths - Friday, May 6, 2016
The Eta Aquarid meteor shower remains active in the late evening through May. The meteors rise out of the Aquarius constellation, which typically is not seen until 2 am or later! Ten to thirty meteors per hour may be seen.
A rare view of the transit of Mercury [across the Sun] may be seen on May 9. Warning: you must use sun filters to watch the planet Mercury, which will appear as a small black dot passing [in front of] the sun. [Check out NASA's Eye Safety During a Total Solar Eclipse page for more advice concerning safely viewing solar eclipses and transits. - Ed.]
Fire season begins this week as hillsides are showing tinges of brown. Late spring sightings include the return of the great blue herons hunting gophers in the picnic area and badgers digging dens in the horse pastures.
Exclosures are going up along the Great Beach between North Beach and Abbotts Lagoon in anticipation of the upcoming nesting snowy plover season. The exclosures are designed to protect the ground nesting birds from predators.
On display at the Bear Valley Visitor Center are winners from the California Coastal Commission Art and Poetry contest. Marin County winners include poems from Elise Wing of Kentfield, Peri Benjamin of Tiburon, Alana Jacqueline of Ross, and Morgan Drake of Sausalito, as well as a painting by Lily Toussaint of Stinson Beach.