Park Wavelengths - July 2007
July 31, 2007
The new moon rises August 12th and will not hinder viewing one of the brightest of the annual meteor showers on August 13, the Perseid shower. This shower averages about 50 meteors per hour - fog permitting, the greatest number may be seen late August 12 or early August 13th. The peak for West Coast viewers is midnight, note the meteors can be seen evenings before and after that peak night.
Summer brings some annual bloomings - the exotic flame orange lily - Croscosmia (sp.) or Montbretia is brightening roadsides. This South African native has naturalized well along with the hybrid Himalaya Blackberry which are ripening now. Early reports of huckleberries are from Tomales Bay State Park in the picnic area, none yet from the Old Pine Trail in Point Reyes. Time for jam jars and cobblers!
The young osprey rescued from the Bear Valley Trail did not survive; it is being studied by state fish and game to see if its demise is linked to demolic acid poisoning. This naturally occurring poison has been affecting primarily marine mammals. Ospreys are primarily fish eaters and researchers are looking at whether there are links.
Non-native eucalyptus trees are being thinned to lower fire danger along the Coast Trail near the Palomarin Trailhead. Short delays no more than 15-20 minutes may occur as large limbs are chipped on site. The work is ongoing on weekdays only. Many have noticed the removal of the lone Monterey Cypress at the Abbots lagoon trailhead parking. It is a California native species but well out of its range and thus an exotic species for Point Reyes. The removal was to prevent additional seeding in an area of traditionally treeless native dunes which support the snowy plover population.
Marin County Parks and Open Space naturalists are leading a night hike on Wednesday, August 1st at Roy's Redwoods from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm. Flashlights and a warm jacket suggested!
Ocean Film Night at the Red Barn at Park Headquarters on August 10 from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm "A Life with Skulls" with filmmaker Beth Cataldo and Ray Bandar. Ray, who is the subject of the film, is a long time collector of skulls.
A permit has been issued for a wedding at Drakes Beach on August 4 for 80 people between 12 noon and 3:30 pm. No congestion expected.
Brush disposals weekends continue on August 4-5 at the Beebe Ranch from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. This area is off Highway 1 next to the Epicenter complex of shops.
July 20, 2007
A sailboat wreck is currently on the beach at Abalone Point in the south area of the park near Palomarin Beach, the two operators were rescued on Thursday and a salvage operation is underway. It was traveling from San Francisco to Fort Bragg and fog is blamed for the wreck.
Here's a bit more on the plover life from Ranger Jess Taylor "When a nest is laid the male and female share incubation. The female typically incubates during the day and the male at night. Once the eggs hatch, typically the female leaves to find another mate, while the male broods the chicks for a month, or until they began to fly, roughly 28 days. If something should happen to the male during or before the hatch, the female will brood the chicks and in rare cases has found another male to take the chicks on. So just to clarify the female does not look for another male until after the hatch."
July 17, 2007
The full moon rises July 29th, the Raspberry moon among the Ojibwa of northern Minnesota (still waiting on the huckleberries here!). Some early morning low tides coming up:
Snowy plover nesting continues with 28 nests being observed this year, 6 are renests (once the eggs are laid, a female will often then seek another partner and create another clutch of eggs while the male incubates the eggs). Dads are busily incubating 7 nests with 21 potential chicks!
Rangers at the lighthouse watched by a humpback whale last Thursday which was feeding off the point amongst dozens of fishing boats and rafts of birds. These whales often blow a curtain of bubbles around schools of fish almost like a bubble net before swallowing them up. Humpbacks are drawn in to the coast by schooling fish and usually are seen closer to the Farallons.
The tule elk are moving slowly toward the late summer rut; weekend docents have observed occasional sparring; some of the older males have shed the velvet from their antlers; no harems observed yet.
The park recently published the summer edition of the National Seashore News.
Permits have been issued for a picnic at Bear Valley Picnic Area on July 27 from 4:30 pm-10:00:30 pm and weddings at Drakes Beach on Saturday evening July 21st and Saturday, afternoon, July 28. expect congestion in those areas.
A new art exhibit at Bear Valley Visitor Center, River of Words; environmental artwork from children around the world.
Attached is a photo of an immature osprey found on the Bear Valley Trail by park rangers last Sunday; Rich Stallcup is holding the bird and thought it was the smallest of the clutch which had fallen or was pushed out of the nest. According to Rich and local rehabilitation agency, Wildcare, the bird was emaciated and dehydrated.
July 3, 2007
The juvenile whale in the photo above washed up at the Chimney Rock beach area near the boathouse; cause of death unknown.
In the bobcat photo to the right, the seal is dead, creating a windbreak/napping spot for the bobcat!
July 3, 2007
"...a narrow valley lined by massive barren hills, winds its way to the Pacific. Mammoth oaks adorn its wild and tangled glades, huge redwoods lift their lofty tops to the sky, while ferns and trailing vines festoon the banks and rocks with such luxuriance that the whole seems a riot of contending greens. Winding in and out like a silver thread among the stately trees saplings is a little stream which fills the air with freshness and the cadence of song..."
The new moon rises July 14th with some early morning low tides:
A car fire at Dogtown yesterday is a reminder of the fire danger; the park is on high fire danger alert through Thursday due to dry fuel on the ground and high air temperatures. No beach fire permits will be issued for the Fourth of July.
Lots of activity around Drakes Beach as a salmon fishing boat has gone aground. No injuries and all the fuel has been removed; now the challenge of moving it off the beach.
Looks like summer snow - fluttering everywhere of oak moths a small creamy brown moth! It has been an impressive year for butterflies and moths partly due to the weather. Eggs are laid on host plants and often die in late winter freezing temperatures. The mild winter this year preserved many eggs and irruptions of tortoiseshells butterflies were seen along Inverness Ridge; oak moths are everywhere. How to tell a moth from a butterfly? Moths usually lay their wings flat when they land while butterflies hold their wings upright. Moths have feathery antennae while butterflies appear smooth; The 33rd annual butterfly count for Point Reyes is slated for July 6th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. More information can be obtained at http://nabacount.googlepages.com
Annual seal protection measures have been lifted for Drakes Estero and South Blue Gums beach as of last weekend June 30th.
Reminder: Fireworks are not permitted in Marin County including national park beaches at Point Reyes and Stinson Beach. Legal fireworks may be viewed at the Marin County Fair In San Rafael. Bear Valley and Drakes Beach Visitor Centers will be open on Wednesday, July 4th, the Lighthouse is always closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Mark your calendars: Saturday, July 21st is the annual Native American Trade Festival at Kule Loklo, the Coast Miwok exhibit. Traditional dancers, skilled craft people will demonstrate arrowhead making, basketry, etc. The event runs from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and is free.