Park Wavelengths - May 2003


May 28, 2003

The black bear sighting has generated a great deal of interest in the National Seashore and John Dell'Osso has given a number of interviews. The press release (and all park releases) may be downloaded from the park website at it should be available there by tomorrow. No additional reports of the bear since its Sunday morning visit so it may have been vacationing for Memorial Day!

The Lighthouse rehabilitation and restoration is just about completed with one additional closure - the access road from the parking lot to the Lighthouse observation deck will be paved on June 3-4. Visitors may drive out to the parking lot for a view of the Great Beach but they will not be able to walk the quarter mile to the observation deck on those days.

Spring bird migration continues with Wilsons and red breasted phalaropes reported in the stock ponds near Abbots Lagoon on the west side of the road. A rose breasted grosbeak and hooded warbler were in the Lighthouse trees. Up to date bird sightings are posted at (415) 681-7422, the rare bird alert line. Rangers and volunteers will be on the Great Beach on weekends to provide information about endangered snowy plovers. The large string enclosures constructed on the beaches provide protection to the nesting birds from predators such as ravens. The birds are easily disturbed by pets so use extra caution with dogs on the Great Beach and observe all posted regulations.

Wildflowers are winding down - beautiful displays of goldfields abound on the Chimney Rock road though the trail has dried out, a few displays of blue eyed grass may be seen. At Abbots and Tomales Point bush lupines and poppies remain strong, lots of lavender pea plants or vetch has appeared along Nicasio reservoir.

A molting elephant seal made its way up the driveway to the Historic Boathouse last weekend - the pups have returned to molt and lose their outer fur layer, about a dozen linger on the end of Drakes Beach visible from the Overlook Trail. Harbor seal pupping continues in the Estero and the first elk calves have been seen, seven at the Limantour herd and more at Tomales Point. It is common for harbor seal pups to be left on the beach while the parents hunt in the water - as a reminder stay away from marine mammals on shore.

Another seasonal occurrence is "rafts" of dead jellyfish off Tomales Bay, they were reported as an oil slick in the bay last weekend. Occasionally, with temperature changes where surface waters heat up, a die off occurs off. Jelly fish, who live predominantly in the top layers of water, are very sensitive to these seasonal changes. We see "moon jellies" a clear, dinner plate sized jelly fish with four distinct white half circles or "lions mane" jellies these are also dinner plate sized but appear as an ice tea or golden brown color. Usually, when they wash up on the beaches, the tentacles and feeding parts are gone, the heavy jelly portion is what helps them float. They are not poisonous to humans.

Ranger guided programs

Saturdays 2:00 pm - Earthquake Walk - Meet the ranger at Bear Valley Visitor Center for a one hour half mile walk on a paved trail.

Sundays 2:00 pm - Kule Loklo Walk - Meet the ranger at the Bear Valley Visitor Center for a one hour walk through the Coast Miwok exhibit.

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May 13, 2003

A wonderful opportunity to watch a lunar eclipse is coming up this Thursday, May 15th. The moon rises at approximately 8:07 pm, then as night progresses, will grow from a tiny crescent to almost full. Areas in the to watch from include Vision Road, Chimney Rock, Drakes Beach, and the parking area at Tomales Point as well. The full moon rises on Friday at 9:25 pm - the fish moon for Coast Miwok.

The eclipse brings some of the lowest tides of the year for early risers. Tidepooling Times:

Friday, May 16 5:53 am -1.7 feet
Saturday, May 17 6:46 am -1.9 feet
Sunday, May 18 7:32 am -1.8 feet
Monday, May 19 8:26 am -1.6 feet

As the tides are so low, even two hours after the low, there will be some solid tidepooling. Agate Beach County Park at the end of Elm and Mesa Road is Bolinas, Sculptured Beach, south or left on Limantour Beach are excellent areas.

The recent storms have brought unusual birds into the area. The spring migration of birds is underway. As birds move between winter resting areas and summer breeding areas they are caught in the storms and driven off course. On the relatively bare Point Reyes peninsula, the clumps of cypress trees scattered along ranch areas provide excellent cover for the storm tossed birds. A scissor tailed flycatcher, normally from Texas, was seen at C Ranch. Last weekend a hooded warbler and a Hammonds Flycatcher were seen at Nunes Ranch. Two harlequin ducks have been lingering at the Historic Boathouse. The common murre population at the lighthouse is filling up again as they return to the Lighthouse rocks for breeding. Visitors can check in at the rare bird line (415) 681-7422 which is updated regularly with bird sightings by local birders such as Rich Stallcup. The ranch areas are public lands - but please respect the privacy of families, close any gates behind you, and do not block any driveways or gates.

The wildflower season has been wonderful this year, the extra rains created a lovely field of tiny, annual lupines and poppies at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Goldfields brighten the road to Chimney Rock. Abbots Lagoon has poppies in abundance and the northern Tomales Point Trail is awash in bush lupines.

The Lighthouse construction project is almost complete except for restoring the pavement on the trail to the observation deck. A new fence and fresh paint makes it look quite shipshape.

Bayview Trail has been marked with orange flagging - this flagging ids for a proposed new fire interpretive trail.

Drakes Cafe has resumed summer hours - Thursday through Monday 10:00 to 5:00 pm/11:00 - 6:00 pm on weekends.

Upcoming Park Events

May 24th
"A Day For the Birds" 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Activities centered around the Bear Valley Visitor Center to celebrate International Migratory Bird Month. Bird Walks, crafts for kids, activities such as learning to use binoculars and making birdcalls, etc.

June 7-8
Rare Plant-a-thon
Volunteers needed to search the park for rare and unusual species. This fifth annual event welcomes volunteers from all levels of botanical experience; attendance at one or both days is needed.
Contact Michele Coppoletta (415) 464-5242 or 663-8522 ext. 5242.

July 19
Big Time Festival
Annual Native American Festival, Crafts and food on sale, traditional dancing Upcoming Park

Interpretive Programs

Saturdays 2:00 pm - Earthquake Program - Meet at Bear Valley Visitor Center for a .6 mile loop walk

Sundays 2:00 pm - Kule Loklo Program - Meet at Bear Valley Visitor Center for a 1.0 mile loop walk

Saturday (5/17) 8:00 pm - Evening Lighthouse Tour - Reservations needed. Call 669-1534 on Saturday to reserve, high winds do cancel the one hour program. Wear layered clothing and bring a flashlight.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; weather forecast; fire danger information; shuttle bus system status; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

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