Park Wavelengths - November 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
The highest tides of the year arrive with the new moon on December 5:
The high water could bring up salmon and trout from Tomales Bay!
West Marin School students will be "Turkey Trotting" on the Bear Valley Trail Monday, November 22 between 10:00 a.m. and 12 noon. The annual run/walk is so named because the winner receives a turkey. Cheer the students on and then check out new displays inside the Visitor Center—artwork from West Marin School students and a traditional California tule boat constructed by students at Neil Cummins School.
Water and warmth mean mushrooms are fruiting along rotten wood and in damp habitats. Some species are intimately connected to certain species of tree, sending out tiny rootlets from the mushroom to the tree root in a mutually beneficial relationship. Banana Slugs, also very present in damp conditions, often carry the reproductive spores of mushrooms as they slime their way through the forest duff. For more on mushrooms, Marin County Open Space Naturalists will lead a mushroom hike at Tomales Bay State Park on Tuesday, November 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Meet at the Jepson Trailhead off Pierce Point Road.
All Park Visitor Centers are open on Thanksgiving Day until 2:00 p.m. and throughout the holiday weekend.
Mark your calendars! The park Open House is December 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Catch up with park staff and have a snack.
Monday, November 8, 2010
The Leonid meteor showers roar through the sky, peaking on November 18, just before the full moon on Saturday, November 20. The meteors are few and may be obscured by the moon, but look for them early Thursday morning. The full moon brings morning high tides ranging from 6.1 to 6.3 feet:
Over five inches of rain were recorded in the last two weeks at the Bear Valley rain gauge which means the salmon return is on the way! None are expected until Thanksgiving week or early December. They will be entering Tomales Bay's salt water and then waiting for large storms to flush fresh water down Papermill Creek, which in turn triggers the upstream return.
Fuzzy caterpillars have been drawing attention along the Bear Valley Trail and in Inverness. Commonly called "Woolybears" these are the larva that will eventually become Tiger Moths. They have dark bands along their ends with a rusty reddish brown to yellow middle, sometimes with a few spiky white hairs. They often feed on coniferous or oak trees!
Rose hips are an additional dab of fall color along trails; berry-like scarlet and rose-orange rounds on prickly wild rose bushes. California Christmas Berry or Toyon is also showing bright hanging sprays of red berries. They will be an important source of food for over wintering birds.
Last but not least in the plant community: the Buckeyes have dropped their leaves and are showing those "greenish tennis balls"—large seed pods for their chestnut brown seeds.
Last updated: February 28, 2015