Park Wavelengths - October 2006
October 31, 2006
All Hallows Eve is a good evening to beginning looking for the Taurid meteor showers and then through the next week just before dawn. They originate near the Pleiades, a small cluster of stars also called the 'seven sisters'. They will be dimmed by the full moon rising on Saturday, November 4. It is called the Hunters Moon (the first full moon after the Harvest Moon) or Kasi-sa 'cold begins' among Kashaya Pomo.
A prescribed burn is being ignited today along Limantour Beach Road. This fire was delayed by last weeks warm weather. It is intended to create a 'fuel break' - remove materials that might feed a larger fire. Use caution when driving on the road and watch for emergency vehicles and personnel.
A Palm and a Nashua warbler are reported at the Chimney Rock trees. A golden plover at Abbots Lagoon! Bird migration continues and with upcoming storms predicted for this week, more unusual birds may find haven by the weekend!
Ladybugs or more properly ladybird beetles are beginning to seek hibernating places especially among oak leaf litter. They have been seen flying and crawling about the Earthquake Trail.
All park visitor centers will be open on Friday, November 10, the Veterans Day Holiday.
Permits have been issued for a foot race on Limantour Beach to Coast Trail and through to the Hostel on Saturday, November 11 from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. Expect some congestion on the trail and parking areas.
October 26, 2006
Update -Bear Valley Trail CLOSED on WEEKEND
Bear Valley Trail will now remain closed between Mt. Wittenberg and Meadow Trail junction through this weekend and through next Friday, November 3rd. Contractors will be working in the area to repair a culvert. Hikers and horseback riders may access Mt. Wittenberg trail and go up and around the closure. We will advise when the work is completed and the trail is open.
October 24, 2006
Bear Valley Trail CLOSED this week
Bear Valley Trail is closed beginning today, October 24 through October 27 between Mt. Wittenberg and Meadow Trail junctions. Hikers and horse riders may access Mount Wittenberg to go around the closure. A contractor is working to repair a drainage area/culvert. It is estimated that the trail will be open by the weekend.
October 17, 2006
The pale light of the new moon this weekend allows good late night (after 11:00 pm) viewing of the Orionid meteor showers. Expect 20-25/per hour swift meteors - falling stars, caused by dust particles from Halley's comet falling through earth's atmosphere. They originate - fall out of the constellation Orion the Hunter; usually appearing in the southern sky.
The local soundscape is full of the yowling, grunting and snorting of the fallow deer rut which can be heard 24/7! Rangers investigated a report of a mountain lion scream and determined it was fallow deer. How to tell? Mountain lions make a high-pitched scream during their mating season encounters, typically in the early morning or evening not in daylight hours. It is possible to hear the 'caterwauling' by both males and female cats year round as they don't have a specific breeding season like deer. Fallow deer are noisy all the time, they are heard from the visitor center porch throughout the day - a lower pitched, raspy, heavy breathing sound.
Buckeye seeds are seen now as the trees drop their leaves; the heavy green fruit splits open to reveal a shiny brown seed. The trees have an odd appearance as the bare branches with the fruits look like they are growing 'green tennis balls' in the words of a recent visitor. The pollen and nectar of the flowers are poisonous to honeybees and the brown seeds are considered poisonous to humans - traditionally Coast Miwoks reportedly buried them in mud to make them edible as back up food when other foodstuffs like acorns or bay nuts were not available.
Permits have been issued for a USGS teacher workshop (35) on October 20 to Kehoe Beach and Bear Valley; parking at Kehoe Beach may be congested in the afternoon. The car company permit continues this week; with drivers arriving for lunch at Limantour and circling back to Sausalito.
Additional work on Chimney Rock Road is tentatively slated for this Thursday, October 19; the road will be striped in the morning hours. No car, foot or bike traffic will be permitted.
October 4, 2006
"Olema, dear valley, sheltered by hills; Far from the city; it's noise and it's ills..."
The full moon on October 6 is the nearest one to the autumnal equinox and thus is called the Harvest Moon - leaving enough daylight for farmers to complete their annual harvests. The full moon falls on the same day as perigee and there will be higher tides than usual - 6.2 and 6.5 mid-day high tides across the weekend. Among the Cheyenne it is the "moon when water begins to freeze on the edge of the stream."
More on the pink lilies sprouting everywhere - Proper name is Amaryllis belladonna (Brunsvigia rosea) - common name naked lady or belladonna lily. Native to South Africa it gets all it's moisture from winter rains. This year's flowering is particularly impressive because they received so much water last winter according to nursery workers.
Slow It Down! Deer are on the roads! As the tule elk rut winds down the black tailed and fallow deer rut heats up. Coastal black tailed deer lose weight in the summer and begin to fatten up after the first fall rains bring new growth and the acorns ripen. The males are solitary and usually active throughout the morning and evening, resting mid-day. Seeking water, areas like the Nicasio Reservoir and along Bear Valley Road are good places to watch for deer - especially as their darker coats blend in so well. Fallow deer rut is marked by the barking noises the males make!
A variety of permits have been issued for activities in the park:
Friday - October 5 - Cross country run at Bear Valley Visitor Center - race monitors will be in place during this annual West Marin School event
Saturday, October 7 - Annual 'Piper On The Ridge Event - expect congestion on Mt. Vision Road
Friday/Saturday, October 6 - A celebration/wedding at Bear Valley Picnic area and in the Rift Zone meadow
Saturday, October 6 - Weddings on the Chimney Rock Trail between 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and at Limantour Beach
Saturday, October 14 - a picnic at Drakes Beach - Master Mariners - 2:00 pm - 11:00 pm
An event permit begins October 15 - a media event for Ford Motor company where a new model car will be driven to Limantour beach for activities ("automotive sand sculptures"!) and lunch will be served before they drive the car back to San Francisco. Various drivers will be there each day until October 19.
Last updated: February 28, 2015