Park Wavelengths - May 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Next Wednesday, June 1st, the new moon rises with early morning low tides:
Warmer air temperatures are bringing skinny striped garter and larger brown patterned gopher snakes out onto trails. They remain sluggish in cooler temperatures, but they like pavement (especially in the restrooms!), so keep an eye on where you are walking. Their flicking tongues are a way to "taste" the air and provide information about whether prey is near.
The last of the wildflowers continue. Scarlet "twin berries" have moved from flower to fruit already—the red frills around the purple berries; many of these may be seen at White House Pool and Estero Trail. Bush lupines and poppies are hanging on, but the grasses are browning.
Muddy Hollow Trail is open. Park trails staff restored the trail last year and observed conditions throughout the winter. The trail is now open connecting Limantour Beach with the Muddy Hollow Road parking area.
All park visitor centers are open Monday, Memorial Day. The annual commemorative of the U.S. Lifesaving Service/Coast Guard at the Historic Lifesaving Service Cemetery is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at the site. A presentation on the history of the area will be given. Look for the red, white, and blue bunting on Sir Francisco Drake Highway.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
A full moon rises May 17 with some early morning low tides; sunrise right around 6:00 a.m.
Cow parsnip—tall white cauliflower-like blooms—is opening all along roads and trails even as grasses are browning and fire season begins. Rattlesnake or quaking grass, originally from the Mediterranean area, is in "bloom." Its distinctive spikelets resemble rattlesnake rattles. Tiny blue sky lupines are a bit lost in the grasses around Bear Valley.
Nestlings are making a lot of noise around Bear Valley and the Estero Trail where egrets and great blue herons are nesting in tall firs and pines. The young are particularly noisy to remind parents not to forget breakfast, lunch, dinner, second breakfast! New artwork at the Bear Valley Visitor Center is chalks and pastels including egrets by Sylvia Gonzalez.
Plenty of rain this past winter means plenty of grass. Fire season reminders: time to clear defensible space around homes; check power equipment for spark arresters; when parking in grassy areas, check vehicles so that catalytic converters don't spark the grass; and drown, stir, and feel coals from barbecues and fires on the beaches.
A lecture and slide talk by park volunteers about the historic Marconi radio transmission sites in Bolinas and in the seashore is scheduled for Sunday, May 15 between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. in Point Reyes Station. Full information is available at www.radiomarine.org
Last updated: May 7, 2015