Park Wavelengths - May 2005


May 20, 2005

Shipwreck update

Here is the latest information about the 65-foot boat that leaked about 700 gallons of diesel fuel at Bolinas Point.

Clean-up on Bolinas Point Underway

During extensive low tides next week, a comprehensive clean-up of the beach and remaining shipwreck will be completed. Salvage crews will remove debris on the reef and beach and stock-pile it near the cliff area. Once it is consolidated, a heavy-lift helicopter will lift the debris in cargo boxes to the bluff area above the beach for removal (probably on Wednesday). The debris is coated with diesel fuel and it is not recommended that individuals handle it without the proper protective gear. Trained Marin Conservation Crews should be on-site on Tuesday to take advantage of the low tide.

By the end of next week, the entire beach and sensitive habitat reef area will be cleared of all debris. NPS rangers will check the area on a regular basis and if additional debris is sighted it will be removed. Later in the week, researchers will be assessing the damages to the reef area and if restoration is needed, drawing up a proposal for long-term protection.

The cleanup will be completed by US Coast Guard, Parker Dive Services, Marin Conservation Corps, National Park Service, Department of Fish and Game, and NOAA Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

John Dell'Osso
Chief of Interpretation and Resource Education
Point Reyes National Seashore

The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

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May 17, 2005

Naturalist Notebook: The full moon rises May 24th; the "Planting Moon" for people at the San Ildefonso Pueblo in the southwest. It brings some good daylight low tides:

Tuesday, May 24 6:11 am -1.6 feet
Wednesday, May 25 6:58 am -1.8 feet
Thursday, May 26 7:48 am -1.8 feet
Friday, May 27 8:42 am -1.6 feet
Saturday, May 28 9:38 am -1.2 feet
Sunday, May 29 10:36 am -0.8 feet

Agate Beach County Park near Bolinas at the end of Elm off Overlook; Sculptured Beach and Chimney Rock provide opportunities for exploring. Always watch your footing so as not to step on creatures and don't turn your back to the waves! There may be juvenile elephant seals molting or losing their fur at Chimney Rock, so avoid approaching them or disturbing them in any way.

21 pairs of Northern spotted owls have been noted in the Seashore with six establishing nests in the older Bishop Pine and Douglas Fir forests along Inverness Ridge. They depend on the healthy local population of woodrats for food (their endangered Pacific northwest 'relatives' feed on flying squirrels). The owls are particularly easy to spot just before dusk in the picnic area of Tomales Bay State Park.

Other birder delights, a male rock wren, singing heartily in the spring winds along the Lighthouse steps; he is on the conglomerate outcropping about step #250. Inside the historic fog signal building, scientists have begun annual spring studies of the common murre nesting colony below the Lighthouse.

International Migratory Bird Day is being celebrated at Muir Beach on Saturday May 21st from 7:00 am to 12 Noon. Mist nests will be set up which allow a close up view of birds as they are banded. Shade grown coffee and chocolate will be served; part of educational efforts on protecting habitat for migratory birds. Call (415) 388-2595 at Muir Woods for more information on this public and free event.

A small shipwreck occurred off the Bolinas/Commonweal coastline last Saturday evening. The surf had broken up the boat; debris may be scattered throughout the Agate Beach and Palomarin Beach area. Fuel from the wreck was released and park scientists are monitoring any effects on marine life.

Marin County Parks and Open Space is sponsoring a hike in a lesser known area of the national seashore on Tuesday, May 24th. The Five brooks to Mud Lake hike is slated from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm; meet at the 5 Brooks Trailhead, off Highway 1. There is some steady uphill walking in this area!

Rangers and the county sheriff arrested a suspect in last week's car burglaries at Sky Trailhead; items from the thefts at Point Reyes and in other areas were recovered from the vehicle. However, always keep valuables with you or locked out of sight if you leave a car at trailheads.

New artwork on display at the Bear Valley Visitor Center - abstract landscapes created with earth pigments by Pamela Kelly. The Visitor Center is open seven days a week 9-5/8-5 weekends.

Mark Your Calendars: Brush Disposal weekends at Beebe Ranch in Olema are slated for June 11-12/ July 23-24/ August 6-7/August 13-14.

Memorial Day Weekends - Beginning May 28th, shuttle service to Muir Woods from Marin City Shopping Center off Highway 101 begins; weekends and holidays throughout the summer busses will run every 1/2 hour between 9:30 am and 6:00 pm. This pilot project by the County of Marin hopes to assist with overcrowding in the Muir Woods parking lot and traffic congestion on Highway 1.

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May 7, 2005

Here is a more effective webcam address to check coastal weather:

Some great opportunities to see the newest park residents are the Tule Elk reserve where 8 calves are reported so far in the calving season. At the bottom of the Lighthouse steps and under the back eaves of the Bear Valley Visitor center, barn swallows have been building nests and their noisy, hungry youngsters can be heard. At the Lighthouse, they have moved into a hole in the hall originally used for fire hoses, watch closely as the parents fly in and out. At Bear Valley, the mud and horsehair nests may easily seen at a safe distance for the birds and you can see the fledglings pop their heads out!

Along Highway 1, the large white cauliflower-like flowers of Cow Parsnip may be seen, a native plant called puluti by Coast Miwok. The thick stalk was eaten when tender. Specimens can be 5 feet high! Poison Hemlock, a non-native plant is also flowering with white bloom - it has more delicate flowers and leaves like carrots and reddish spots on the stem.

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May 3, 2005

"For pure, unadulterated sea air, full of fog and oxygen, charged with ozone, salubrious and salsuginous, invigorating and life-giving air, that will make the pulses leap and bring the roses to the cheek, one should go to Point Reyes, where it can be had at first hand, bereft of nothing."
-- J.P. Munro 1880 History of Marin County

If you are heading to the coast; check the webcam for wind information - it is the spring wind season with the Lighthouse clocking some 35-50 mile per hour winds - The 300+ steps to the Lighthouse are closed when winds reach 40 mph.

The new moon on Mothers Day brings some early morning low tides:

Sunday, May 8 5:54 am -0.9 feet
Monday, May 9 6:33 am -1.0 feet
Tuesday, May 10 7:12 am -1.0 feet
Wednesday, May 11 7:53 am -0.8 feet
Thursday, May 12 8:37 am -0.6 feet

The Eta Aquarid meteor showers, as the earth passes through debris left by Halley's comet, may be seen in the early morning hours of Thursday and Friday, May 5th and 6th. This shower produces some unusually bright meteors called 'earth grazers' because they move horizontally and slowly across the sky.

*****Two cars were burglarized last weekend at Sky Trailhead. A reminder - please keep valuables out of sight or carry with you. The burglaries are "smash and grab" where a window is broken quickly to grab an item in plain view.

It is the season for mother and calf gray whales to be seen from park beaches. The calves are sometimes called 'pickleheads' because of the wrinkled or pickled appearance of their bodies. They are the last to return north to the Alaskan feeding grounds (pregnant females leave first, followed by juveniles and non breeding animals, lastly this years generation of calves and their mothers). It requires patience, plan for a picnic and keep an eye on the water.

A sure sign of early summer is the return of the Velella velella or "By the Wind Sailors" on the beaches. These animals are small hydroids and appear as piles of bluish colored cellophane. A live Velella floats and drifts in surface waters with small jellyfish like tentacles hanging down in the water. Large numbers are driven onshore by the wind where they dry out. An example may be seen in the newly remodeled tidepool exhibits in the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

County park rangers will be leading a walk - Birds and Butterflies of Arroyo Hondo on Saturday, May 14 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. This trailhead is off Mesa Road in Bolinas just below/south of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory. Birdsong enthusiasts are encouraged to come early at 8:30 am to listen and learn songs.

Permits have been issued for a Sunset magazine photo shoot at Limantour Beach today and for the Ridge to Bridge Hike on Saturday, May 7 which may affect hikers and bikers along the Bolinas Ridge Trail - this hike is an annual event that is sponsored by the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council. Saturday, May 7th there may be parking congestion at White House Pool County Park due to the area being used for parking for a special event.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station , CA 94956


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