Park Wavelengths - August 2008
August 29, 2008
This fall, the Seashore will be focusing on contraceptive methods to control the non-native deer population. The park's ambitious deer contraception program will involve veterinarians and wildlife contraception experts and utilize the most advanced techniques to ensure that the remaining deer herd is safely and humanely controlled. Park biologists and wildlife experts have determined that application of fertility control methods to the estimated 100 - 150 remaining deer over the next 5 years will likely result in a non-reproductive remnant herd. Therefore, there will not be the need for any culling of non-native deer this coming year. The non-native deer will not reproduce and will live out their natural lives within the Seashore over the next 10-15 years. The park has successfully treated about 80 fallow deer to date with non-invasive surgical techniques and a new long-lasting, experimental contraceptive injection, both with no observed side effects. The Seashore's contraception program is one of the largest studies ever attempted with free-ranging wild deer.
Non-native deer, originally from the San Francisco zoo, were introduced to the Point Reyes area by a local landowner in the 1940s and 1950s, before establishment of the Seashore. By 2007, there were an estimated 900-1,100 non-native deer within National Park Service boundaries. Park scientists have found that the non-native deer have several serious impacts on Seashore ecosystems. For more information on the deer and the park's management program, go to the park's Non-Native Deer Management Plan page.
August 26, 2008
Very High FIRE Danger for Marin County through Friday, August 29th. Double check on whether Mount Vision Road will be open and if beach fires are permitted. Fire danger rating is calculated from air temperature, projected wind, and fuel moisture (dryness of grass and ground vegetation). Stinson Beach continues closed through August 29 due to a reported shark sighting Monday.
A new moon rises on Saturday, August 30, with higher than usual tides from 5.4 to 5.7 feet high, the beaches will seem smaller in mid-day!
A very high tide mid-day (5.7 at 1:05 pm) will make visiting the annual Sand Sculpture contest on Sunday, August 31st best early in the day. Registration for this event begins at 9:00 am and judges will be on Drakes Beach at 12:30 sharp.
The berry season is being followed by the development of tree nuts - look for bright yellow-green "mini-lemons" on the California Bay Trees; the outer covering will dry off to reveal a brown shelled round edible nut. Coast Miwok fire roast and eat the nuts. Buckeye trees are dropping their leaves along with brilliant yellow Big Leaf maples; gray squirrels are chewing up fir and pine cones to get at the seeds - all signs of the approaching autumn.
The tule elk rut continues - volunteer docents are on hand weekends with spotting scopes and have reported watching a dominant male with a 30 cow harem under his care; bachelor herds lingering around! Sparring and boxing elk may be seen during this busy time.
Permits have been issued for picnics at Bear Valley on Saturday, August 30; parking congestion expected. All park visitor centers are open on Monday, September 1st, Labor Day holiday. Coast and Sky Camps close September 2-11 for rehabilitation.
The ocean film series continues with a double feature on Thursday, August 28 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm - Restoring Balance: Removing the Black Rat from Anacapa island and Returning Home:Bringing the Common Murre back to Devils Slide Rock. Free and open to the public, bring your own popcorn.
Photographer Robert Campbell will be showing slides of his new book of aerial photographs on Saturday, August 30th at 12:30 pm at Bear Valley Visitor Center. Free!
August 22, 2008
Forwarded to Park Wavelengths subscribers - a little late due to vacations
August 12, 2008
The full moon rises on Saturday, August 16 - the "Collect Food for Winter Moon" for the Haida of the Pacific north coast. A few daylight low tides arrive just before sunrise:
The best window for tidepooling is an hour before and an hour after the low.
It is a great time for all species to be collecting berries for immediate consumption, jams and pies, et al. Berries of all colors sizes and shapes are ripe! Not for humans - Snowberries (solid white) and clear pink jelly berries from the Honeysuckle vine are excellent bird snacks. Humans have huckleberries and various blackberries to pick - the tiny native California Blackberry; the larger Cut leaf and Armenian (formerly called the Himalaya berry) blackberries are all ripening along trails and roadsides.
The first signs of seasonal changes are here- brilliant splashes of scarlet Poison Oak vines along roadsides and the beginning of the Tule Elk rut at Tomales Point - bulls bugling and thrashing vegetation; large groups of females —harems—have formed.
Activity continues in the Muddy Hollow Trail area; biologists are netting fish from the ponds in anticipation of the dam removal; historically these ponds were maintained as animal watering holes and stocked with bass.
A busy calendar of free events in the park over the next few weeks:
Curious about the Giacomini wetlands project? The contractor from Hanford will be on hand at 5th and C streets at 10:00 a.m. on August 23rd to answer questions and lead a short walk through the site to explain the current state of the project. This talk is the first in a series that will continue in the fall covering birds, fish, wetlands ecology, etc. Large amounts of levee removal debris is stockpiled off Sir Francis Drake Highway on the west side of the marsh; awaiting removal to quarry sites in the park.
A special book signing and lecture on marine photography is scheduled for Saturday, August 16th at 12:30 p.m. at Bear Valley Visitor Center by Marc Shargel who will showing slides and signing copies of his new book "Wonders of the Sea, North Central California's Living Marine Riches."
Also on tap the Fall 2008 Ocean Film and Lecture Series begins on Thursday, August 21st with "Papa Tortuga" a film about one persons efforts in Veracruz Mexico to help save endangered Lora Sea turtles. It will be shown between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. in the Red Barn Classroom at park headquarters.
Permits have been issued for a wedding at Limantour Beach on August 20th between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and also on August 23 between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Both are 50 or less people so no parking congestion is anticipated.
Last updated: February 28, 2015