Park Wavelengths - December 2007
December 18, 2007
Winter solstice arrives Friday December 21 at 10:08 pm and the full moon rises December 23rd with another batch of dramatic daytime high and low tides beginning Thursday:
The winter beach is scoured off and the ancient shelves of sandstones and shale appear at Drakes Beach along with the remains of shipwrecks such as the Pomo. If these tides are combined with a storm coming in and surf warning, time to hike in the woods! The tides and storm surges will wash away large portions of the beaches and cause larger waves than usual. Plan any beachcombing for the afternoon low tide periods. Safe tidepooling is found at Agate Beach County Park on the exposed shale reef.
The elephant seal season is just beginning as immatures and yearling seals (about 80% of the total number of seals on the Headlands) have begun to take positions before the big males arrive and begin marking territory. 36 seals have been noted from the Chimney Rock Overlook.
Just before the rains began, Monarch butterflies were seen drifting back to the southern peninsula to overwinter in pines and eucalyptus. The warmer climates of Bolinas draw them to rest in distinctive large orange and black clusters. Butterflies rest with their wings folded upwards as opposed to moths who lay their wings flat out.
Mushroom Mycoblitz V is slated for Saturday, December 29, 2007 to collect fungi throughout the park and then sort and classify in the Red Barn Conference room. Meet at Bear Valley Visitor Center at 9:00 am to split into groups, no experience necessary.
Bear Valley Visitor Center closes at 2:00 pm on Monday, December 24 and remains closed on the Tuesday, December 25 holiday. The Lighthouse Visitor Center and steps close at 2:00 pm on Monday; closed normal Tuesday and Wednesday. Trails remain open and rangers on patrol. However, the following week, the lighthouse will be open 10:00 am to 4:30 pm on Tuesday, January 1st. If the weather is clear - the shuttles will be operating on January 1st.
December 4, 2007
The new moon rises on Sunday, December 9 with some dramatic tides 6+ feet over the weekend and minus tides in the daylight hours of the afternoons:
Agate Beach County Park and Sculpture Beach are both accessible for tidepooling; the hour before and after are the best windows to explore. The following week brings the Geminid meteor showers, up to 80 per hour in the early morning of Friday, December 14 originating from the Gemini constellation, look east towards Black Mountain.
Early surveys for salmon in the Olema Valley last Thursday did not turn up any sightings but the rainfall this week may bring them in; typically, the fish linger in the saltwater of Tomales Bay and when the first flush of rainwater washes down - they begin to move up the creeks. No reports of gray whales migrating by the Lighthouse or large bull elephant seals on the beaches but that can change anyday now!
Watch for large groups of folks on trails and near roads on Saturday, December 15th, the annual Christmas Bird Count. The counts provide a snapshot into the patterns and populations of the various species that live or pass through the Point Reyes peninsula.
This week, work is scheduled for the Estero and Mount Vision Roads depending on the weather. Road closures will be no more than a few hours each day to complete final asphalt work.
All are invited to the park open house, scheduled for Monday, December 17th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Stop by for snacks and to share the holiday spirit with park staff. Copies of the new park newspaper will be available.
Last updated: February 28, 2015