June 28, 2006
Naturalist Notebook: The years lowest daylight hour tides are coming with the full moon on July 11th:
Peregrine falcons have been swooping over the Lighthouse. Researchers report that there are three fledglings at Chimney Rock and a pair at McClures Beach (no fledglings). Peregrines were reintroduced (hacked) along the rocky cliff areas at Point Reyes and appear to have settled in! Look for them on the west side of Chimney Rock; usually the nest sites may be identified by the white droppings, nearby are feeding sites where there are droppings and feathers.
It is not a crop of giant marshmallows (as one visitor questioned) sprouting along Sir Francis Drake Highway towards the Lighthouse. Grass and hay are being cut and stored as food. The plastic wrapped grass is typically chopped and will ferment to become silage - pickled grass which is part of a dairy cows diet. Sometimes the silage is stored in long plastic covered tubes.
Spit bugs are out - technical term is 'spittle bug'. Local ceanothus bushes are dotted with white globs of 'spit', careful inspection of the mush shows a tiny green insect inside, the nymph or immature stage between the egg and the adult. The 'spit' keeps the insect protected from drying out and nourishes it as it grows. In other insect news, ladybird beetles aka ladybugs are massing at Muir Woods!
A major effort begins this week to remove the yellow flowering broom in the Drakes Estero area. Crews will be hand pulling and mowing throughout July on Ottingers Hill, Mount Vision, and Estero Trail.
Drakes Estero and South Blue Gum Beach re-open to boating on Saturday, July 1st after annual seal protection closures.
Bear Valley and Drakes Beach Visitor Centers will be open on the Tuesday, July 4th Holiday; the Lighthouse is closed as usual on Tuesdays/Wednesdays.
REMINDER: Fireworks are not permitted in Marin County. Legal fireworks may be viewed at the Marin County Fair in San Rafael. As usual, park beaches close at midnight.
Beach Cleanup coming on July 8 at Muir Beach from 10:00 am - 12 noon. Contact the Farallones Marine Sanctuary at (415) 561-6625, x 307 for more information.
Permits have been issued for a wedding on Limantour Beach on July 2 and for a seal release at Chimney Rock on July 1st. No congestion is anticipated in parking areas.
June 13, 2006
Naturalist Notebook: A batch of daylight low tides follows last weekends full moon:
The summer solstice and the official first day of summer arrives next week on Wednesday, June 21st. the sun rises and sets at it's most northerly points on the horizon.
The park rainfall recorded to date this year is 56 inches, higher than anytime in the past 30 years except for the 80 inches recorded in 1983! The damp winter is supporting many types of bacteria and viruses that thrive in moist conditions and can affect plants - bay trees in particular, especially those in "bowl areas" where there is less drainage have been affected by leaf drop caused by bacteria. It won't affect the life of the tree but will affect the crop of leaves and nuts available for wildlife.
Local bat populations are thriving, an up side to the extra rain, perhaps, is the amount of insects hatching out of puddles and ponds; feeding the bats and swallows. 242 bats were counted at the Randall area site and 220 at the Palomarin site. That's the highest count ever for the Randall site.
The first spotted owl fledglings have been seen in Tomales bay State Park and along Horse Trail; a few western migrants from Rich Stallcup: A catbird at the Nunes/A Ranch under the cypress trees; an ovenbird under the cypress trees at the Lighthouse walkway. Construction on the Lighthouse walkway is sporadic this week so watch out for heavy equipment.
A permit for a large group picnic (85+ people)at Bear Valley Visitor center has been issued for Wednesday, June 14 from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm. Expect congestion.
West Marin will be featured on a television program "Animal Planet - Get Out There" series on Thursday, June 15th at 8:00 pm.
The Marin County Fire Department has scheduled free brush drop-offs: June 24-25 in Nicasio at the Marin County yard. Dates in Olema are July 22-23/August 5-6/12-13 9:00 am - 2:00 pm.
Last updated: February 28, 2015