Park Wavelengths - March 2007


March 20, 2007

The spring equinox arrives at 5:07 pm today with some extreme high tides, 6 feet and over at night; followed by some morning daylight low tides:

Wednesday, March 21 7:26 am -0.5 feet
Thursday, March 22 8:20 am -0.6 feet
Friday, March 23 9:31 am -0.5 feet
Saturday, March 24 10:29 am -0.4 feet
Sunday, March 25 11:44 am -0.2 feet

The lovely weather last week, kick started the wildflower season throughout the park, poppies, iris, mallow, even the first pussy ears were seen at Chimney Rock. Few chocolate lilies or mission bells have been seen this year. Large fields of iris are also seen down Laguna and Coast Trails.

Gray whale sightings peaked last Friday, over 50 whales spotted during the sunny, clear day. The weekend was very disappointing as fog obscured much of the Headlands viewing. However, three whales were seen in Drakes Bay from the Chimney Rock area.

The fish eating raptors are out and about. The uncommon sighting of a mature bald eagle above Tomales Bay overshadowed the regular nesting of ospreys around the bay, approximately a dozen or so nest sites (they look like huge piles of sticks) are known on the Inverness Ridge. It's the time of year when courtship and nesting are occurring for the black and white striped birds.

The recent tule elk census has been completed with 518 elk noted, the highest number since relocation in 1978. Most of the males have dropped their antlers which provide an excellent source of nutrition for smaller mammals who like to gnaw on them.

Watch for one lane traffic on Sir Francis Drake between Platform Bridge Road and Highway 1 as repairs begin on the slumping road side this week. The contractor will be working weekdays only. Lot's of construction activity continues around the Lighthouse as new restrooms are installed.

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March 7, 2007

The new moon rises March 18 brings higher tides this year soon followed by the spring equinox on March 20 and some daylight low tides:

Thursday, March 15 3:23 pm -0.4 feet
Friday, March 16 4:04 pm -0.5 feet
Saturday, March 17 4:45 pm -0.4 feet

Daylight morning hightides on those days are all 6 feet or more.

Northbound gray whale sightings have been increasing over the past few days with a Saturday high of 54 seen over the day! Good weather made the viewing especially easy from the Lighthouse. Most of the northbound are adults so far, almost no mother/calf pairs yet.

Coho salmon season is officially over in the park for the season. One of the highlights was a tally of 18 steelhead in Olema Creek, the highest one day count in 10 years of the monitoring program. Steelhead eggs are hatching, on view, in the Bear Valley Visitor Center aquarium.

Wildflower season is off to a slow start. A few purple Douglas Iris at Chimney Rock, a few poppies at Abbots Lagoon. More sun and warmth are needed.

Seal pupping season is here and annual protection closures are in place - Drakes Estero is closed to boating and South Blue Gums Beach on Tomales Bay is closed to landing until June 30. Seal pups may be left on the beach while parents swim nearby to feed. It's essential not to approach marine mammals such as young seals, give them a wide berth to rest from the rigors of the Pacific Ocean.

Film permits have been issued for most of this week - a car commercial at McClures Beach on Wednesday, March 7; and another on Thursday, March 8 on Limantour Road followed by a fashion shoot on Friday, March 9th on Limantour Beach. Ranger monitors will be at both of the car permits and no delays or parking congestion is anticipated.

A free lecture at the Seashore Red Barn is scheduled for Thursday, March 8 'Evaluating macroalgal impacts and patterns of nutrient supply on eelgrass survival' from 12:00-1:00 pm. Eelgrass beds are important feeding areas for leopard sharks, rays and other seas creatures in Drakes Estero and Tomales Bay.

Construction begins today on weekdays for new Lighthouse restrooms; visitors should watch for equipment and vehicles on the walkway between the parking area and the Lighthouse observation deck.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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