Park Wavelengths - March 2004


March 26, 2004

Naturalist Notebook:

The full moon rises Monday, April 5th, full at 4:03 am. A few morning low tides are available on during Easter week:

Thursday April 8 8:00 am -0.9 feet
Friday, April 9 8:58 am -0.9 feet
Saturday, April 10 10:00 am -0.8 feet
Sunday, April 11 11:11 am -0.6 feet

Good places - Agate Beach County Park at the end of Overlook and Elm Road in Bolinas or walking down Limantour Beach to Sculptured Beach. Chimney Rock tidepools remain closed with the lingering population of elephant seal pups.

The northern migration of gray whales is in full swing, on clear days, 7-10 per hour have been spotted from the Lighthouse observation deck. Weekend shuttle service/road closures continue in clear weather - come early or on week days to avoid crowds at the Lighthouse and Chimney Rock areas. Check the webcam for weather at

Wildflowers are coming in everywhere! Large patches of Douglas iris are in bloom along the northern section of Coast Trail and at Chimney Rock - poppies are in at Abbots Lagoon! Rangers at Muir Woods report Giant Trillium, clintonia, milkmaids amongst the woods - they also see the years newest fingerlings in the creeks.

Birding is wonderful at the park! Rangers saw a Eurasian widgeon near the Johnson Oyster turnoff last weekend. Wilsons warblers and Warbling vireos may be seen along the Earthquake Trail at Bear Valley. Spotted owl season is also underway, surveys are ongoing at Muir Woods and Point Reyes to identify populations. A great spot to look for them is along the trails of Tomales Bay State Park, they often fly down into the picnic area at dusk. Endangered snowy plovers have begun their nesting season along the Great Beach. The beach area is now temporarily closed for dogs from the right side of North Beach north to Kehoe Beach, this temporary closure allows the birds to nest in peace. As nests are identified, look for wire and string enclosures to appear that prevent predators from disturbing the nests.

Spring is also harbor seal pupping season as large numbers swim into Tomales Bay and Drakes Estero to deliver their pups. Drakes Estero and South Blue Gums beach closed to boaters on March 15th. The National Seashore area is one of the largest nurseries for harbor seals in California. The seals are especially sensitive at this time to human and pet disturbance when they are on land and nursing. A safe area to observe is along the pullouts at Bolinas Lagoon and by hiking in the Estero Trail. Always observe at a distance and do not approach seals - who need this brief respite ashore to nurture the next generation.

A permit has been issued for a group picnic of 45+ for Bear Valley Picnic Area on April 1st. There may be some congestion in the area due to many schools on spring break and increased visitation in the area.

Marin County Open Space has some wonderful hikes coming up in the Point Reyes Area:

March 28th 9:00 am to 3:00 pm - Bird of Limantour Estero Meet at the Limantour Parking Lot area.

March 30th from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm Cypress Grove Preserve with Dr. John Kelly. Meet off Highway 1, north of the Marshall Petaluma Road for a glimpse at this special location on Tomales Bay.

April 1st 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Whales and Wildflowers of Chimney Rock. Meet at Chimney Rock parking lot.

Want to try banding and counting birds, mostly raptors? The Golden Gate Raptor Observatory is looking for volunteers for the upcoming migration season. Visit their website at or call (415) 331-0730 for more information.

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Last updated: March 22, 2018

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