Park Wavelengths - March 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
A new moon rises Sunday, April 3, with a moderate cycle of tides. Rough weather dropped numerous branches and trees along trails; there is seasonal flooding over a small portion of the Coast Trail near the northern trailhead, but most downed trees have been removed; muddy conditions prevail!
Pacific Gray Whales continue north regardless of weather and waves! The third pulse of migration has been observed--these are the mother and calf pairs who typically travel later. They tend to stay closer to shore to avoid deep water predators like orcas and sharks. They are most vulnerable passing through outer Monterey Bay and the deep water drop-offs in that area. The last of the elephant seals are popping up here and there on Drakes Beach.
Wildflowers continue their seasonal blooming! Miner's lettuce spreads it brilliant green cups around tiny white flowers. Light yellow spikes of Red Elderberry shrubs again appear along Sir Francis Drake Highway. There are some very early flowering of yellow bush lupine in warm spots near Lighthouse buildings. The spell of warmth this week may bring up the peak of the season by next week???
Puddles around the Bear Valley Visitor center may have horsehair worms spinning through them–they do look like thin strands of horsehairs. They develop as a parasite inside grasshoppers and crickets, and then, once released, they spin round into knots. They are completely harmless to humans, but interesting to watch!
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Fowarded to Park Wavelengths subscribers:
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The vernal equinox slips in under all this rain on March 20 with a full moon just the day before on March 19. This beginning of spring—"wean-tupe" for the local Coast Miwok—is marked by tiny blooming "red maids," across the Estero Trail and at Kule Loklo.
The tsunami touched lightly at the park; no closures or damage in this area.
The Northern Elephant seal season is on the wane. This year, the overall seal number peaked at 1451 animals, higher than last year with 330 weaners tagged for the year. Seals will continue to haul out on park beaches until early summer as they molt or lose their fur.
The gray whale northern migration is waxing. Over the last weekend, numbers crept up to 30+ on Saturday, but then only 2 were counted on Sunday with the Point fogged over! Check weather on the park webcam before heading out!
It's the spring trifecta—seals, whales, and wildflowers! Wallflowers, Mallow, poppies, and red Paintbrush are blooming at the Lighthouse and Chimney Rock. Purple Douglas iris here and there; they are coming along and, should we get a spell of warm weather, more will come up.
New artwork at Bear Valley Visitor Center is blue heron watercolors by Rich Sigberman. See the great blue heron on its regular gopher hunt outside the visitor center!
Last updated: February 28, 2015