Park Wavelengths - August 2004


August 27, 2004

Naturalist Notebook: The full moon at 7:21 pm rises just about half and hour after sunset on August 29th. It brings a couple of early morning daylight low tides on Monday at 5:45 am -0.6 feet and Tuesday at 6:27 am -0.2 feet for tidepooling and clamming.

Leopard sharks have been noted circling near the footbridge on the Estero Trail. These smaller, mottled brown sharks and skates are often seen in the estero, they like the eelgrass beds for shelter and also feeding on crustaceans. Sharks have to keep moving at all times and it is most likely that the circling is related to some type of food!

This time of year, schools of anchovies are coming closer to shore. This food source encourages minke whales which have been seen from the Lighthouse and Limantour Beach. They have a small dorsal fin on their backs unlike gray whales that have ridges or knuckles on their backs.

The tule elk rut is in full swing! The males activity, "bugling", sparring with antlers, thrashing on the ground - may be observed throughout the day. Docents are on hand weekends with spotting scopes, a full size elk model, and binoculars to assist in viewing. Early evening, the bugling is especially interesting as the notes are heard through the fading light.

The fall bird migration is underway with plenty of activity at Limantour Estero and Abbots Lagoon! To check on the latest rare bird sightings call (415) 681-7422 sponsored by the Golden Gate Audubon Society. It is updated regularly for all of the north bay area.

Next Tuesday, August 31st, crews begin the next round of iceplant removal at the Lighthouse areas. The large piles of pulled iceplant are left in place to compost. Activity will continue for a couple of weeks.

Reminders: September and October are the warmest driest months of the year when the parks experience most high fire danger days. Call ahead to check, Mount Vision Road is closed on extreme fire days and restrictions on barbecues and beach fires may be in place.

The car burglaries along Limantour Road have dropped off and rangers continue to develop their investigation. However, do not leave any valuables in your car; any packs, cameras etc. in the front or back seats. Report any suspicious activities to park visitor centers or rangers.

Roundup of Labor Day Activities:

The Santa Rosa Yacht Club has a permit for 100 on Marshall Beach for camping and holding Yacht Races in the bay. A picnic permit for 50+ people has been issued for Sunday, September 5th at Bear Valley.

Saturday, September 4th - Marin County Parks has issued a permit for White House Pool for a community event 50+ in the afternoon.

Sunday, September 5th - The 24th Annual Sand Sculpture Contest at Drakes Beach; registration begins at 9:00 am with judging beginning at 12:30 pm and prizes awarded at 3:00 pm. (415) 464-5140.

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August 12, 2004

Naturalist Notebook: The Perseid meteor showers have been occurring this week. They originate in the north northeastern sky in the constellation of Perseus-Cassiopeia. Though the peak day was Thursday, the showers continue for the next few days. Best viewing on a clear night is the top of Mount Vision, North Beach or South Beach, after midnight or before dawn.

Birders have been excited about a sighting of a juvenile Hudsonian Godwit at the Teal Pond, off Pierce Point Road. It is the third Marin County record for this species. Marin County Open Space is sponsoring a bird walk, "Birds of Tomales Bay; meet at the White House Pool parking lot on Wednesday, August 18, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Lots of questions coming in about the two colors of water around the Lighthouse! Upwelling creates the two colors - wind and ocean currents move surface waters which are replaced by deeper colder ocean water, drawn upwards. The deeper water carries plenty of nutrients to feed microscopic plants which in turn feed larger animals. The abundant marine life along the seashore enjoys this process! It occurs every spring and summer and generally is observed at the Lighthouse.

The orange lily currently blooming - long, thin pointed green leaves; flame orange with touches of brown is commonly called "South African Lily or Montbretia; scientifically it is classified as Iridacea called crocosmia. Though a beautiful flower, it is considered an invasive species and has been removed throughout areas of park lands.

New Exhibit at Bear Valley Visitor Center - "River of Words"; this is a collection of nature drawings by children from all over the world.

Car burglaries at Laguna, Limantour, and Sky Trailheads have fallen off since the last report - however, carry valuables with you; do not leave cars unlocked or any items on the seat to attract attention.

Saturday and Sunday - August 14-15 are the last brush drop offs for West Marin this year. Beebe Ranch at the foot of Olema Hill will be accepting material between 9:00-5:00 pm.

If you are traveling to the park this weekend - a reminder of two local events, the Inverness Fair in Inverness on Saturday; and the Point Reyes Art Festival at the junction of Highway 1 and Sir Francis Drake on Sat/Sun. Please drive cautiously in these areas as people walk to the events or look for parking.

Mark Your Calendar: Sunday, September 5th, the 24th Annual Sand Sculpture contest, Registration begins at 9:00 am with judging at 12:30 am at Drakes Beach.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


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