Park Wavelengths - October 2009


Friday, October 30, 2009

Subject: Oil spill in SF Bay

The vessel tanker Dubai Star of Panama was refueling from a barge and began losing bunker oil into the SF Bay this morning around 2 miles south of the Bay Bridge. The spill has formed a slick around 1.5 miles long and initially the oil went 4 miles south , in the middle of the Bay, but now is going north with the out-going tide, and may be pushed east by the wind, toward Oakland, Alameda, and Bayfarm Island. There are some eelgrass beds there, and San Leandro Bay has nice marshes. Presently there are no reports of oiled wildlife, and the skimmers are picking up the slick under calm weather conditions.

Currently OSPR and US Coast Guard are responding to the spill with helicopter and boat recon.

In spill events in the past that occurred in SF Bay, including the Cosco Busan, oil eventually is drawn out of SF Bay by tides and currents and drifts north to Point Reyes. Over the next couple of days, we will monitor the spill movements and see if oiled wildlife or oil lands on Point Reyes Beaches.

If you do find oil or oiled wildlife, call dispatch 415-464-5170 and/or directly to Marin OES 415-499-6584.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

A full moon—the Sassafras Moon for Choctaw people of the eastern states (a good time to harvest the aromatic bark of the tree)—beams across Tuesday night, November 3, with extreme high tides in the mid-morning. Another meteor shower, the Taurid shower streaks across the sky the week of November 5th, but is harder to see due to the waning moon.

Draping sprays of scarlet madrone tree berries are providing some last minute nourishment for birds along Limantour Road and at Kule Loklo. The trees are easy to recognize for its bark which curls off the trunk in thin sheets.

Northern Elephant Seals have been seen on the outer Chimney Rock beaches. Typically, seals return to the beach where they were born, so what we are seeing are the younger seals. None of the 'big boy' dominant males or females are here yet, but the kids are back! The larger males begin to trickle in by mid-December to establish territories.

The planned prescribed burns for this fall have been cancelled due to the early rain. The combination of heat and damp can create damaging steam for seeds.

Those 308 steps and two ramps to the Lighthouse reopened yesterday with a new chain link fence in place!

Park visitor centers will be open Wednesday, November 11, Veterans Holiday; holiday hours at Bear Valley 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and regular hours at Drakes Beach 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the Lighthouse 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Orion, the hunter constellation, lends its name to the meteor shower peaking this Wednesday, October 21. Look for bright, fast "stars" streaking away from Orion in the southern sky throughout the week in the early morning hours. Mid-day high tides continue throughout the upcoming week.

A regular sighting at Bear Valley is a young Black-tailed doe who limps on her rear left leg due to a congenital condition. She has twin fawns this year that she brings down to the oak trees for last minute fattening on acorns.

Winter conventioneers: A Great Blue heron and 8 turkey vultures on the fence posts at the top of Schooner Bay across from the Coast Guard station turn off. Lots of flapping and squawking last Thursday but everyone got their own post.

Annual reminder from the trail crew as storm season begins: if you encounter a downed tree, please bring this information to park staff/visitor center: location where you encountered the tree; size around of the trunk; type of tree; whether the tree is blocking the trail for people and horses; whether a person can get around but not a horse. This information helps them respond to the tree more efficiently.

The 308 steps and two ramps down to the historic lighthouse are closed this upcoming week Monday–Friday October 19–23 so that the protective chain link fencing can be replaced. The observation desk is accessible as usual during the week and the Lighthouse Visitor center will be open regular days of Thursday through Monday.

The Brown Bag Lunch series continues on Thursday, October 22 with "Tracking the Crab Population connectivity along the California Coast." The talk begins at 12 noon in the Red Barn Classroom at Park Headquarters and is free and open to the public.

No tricks, just treats: Marin County Open Space rangers lead a hike on the Estero Trail on Saturday, October 31. Meets 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to look for owls roosting in the old Christmas tree farm along the trail!

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Subject: Special edition - Glenbrook Dam removal

Point Reyes National Seashore Completes Restoration within the Phillip Burton Wilderness - October 9, 2009 (157 KB PDF)

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Subject: Lighthouse Stairs to Close for Fence project on October 19, 2009

The Lighthouse fencing repair project will start the week of October 19, Monday–Friday. The stairs will be closed for this project as the rusting chain link is replaced. The first priority for the contractor is to remove and replace the fencing along the stairs. Barring severe weather conditions, they believe they can have that work accomplished that first week. We will update you as to the status.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Subject: Tidewater Goby monitoring volunteers needed

We've gotten another request for volunteers, this time for some fish counting with GOGA Aquatic Ecologist Darren Fong. He needs some help counting tidewater gobies at the end of the month. You would be counting live and dead gobies for some translocation work being done at Indian Beach, Tomales Bay State Park. It would last for about 5 consecutive days, with just a few minutes of counting fish in the various buckets. (According to Darren, most of the time would be tied up in travelling to and from the work site.)

If anyone is interested in doing this, please contact Darren Fong directly. He can be reached at 415-331-8716 or by email.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


(415) 464-5100
This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; weather forecast; fire danger information; shuttle bus system status; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

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