Park Wavelengths - April 2012

 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another set of sky fireworks lights up the sky on May 5; the Eta Aquarid meteor showers peak that Saturday night. The showers are one of two sets of meteors created by the earth passing through dust released by Halley's Comet; the second set is November's Orionids. The bright light of the full moon rising will likely obscure this year's show.

The Headlands are covered with goldfields, Lasthenia californica, tiny asters growing in large mats. According to a 1925 Jepson manual, "The genus name Lasthenia is taken from a Greek girl who in order to attend the lectures of Plato, dressed as a man". No word on how the botanist attached that name to this tiny flower! It is pollinated by bees that live in nearby underground nests. The seeds were an important source of food to early Californians.

Other wildflowers reports are coming in from the southeastern end of the Estero Trail near the Muddy Hollow Trail--paintbrush, iris, and monkeyflower. Along Levee Road, twin yellow tubular flowers of the shrub "twinBerry" are flowering and soon the flowers will become two deep purple berries with a ruffle of scarlet around them. Bush lupines are beginning to show their fragrant buttery yellow flowers at the Lighthouse and Tomales Point, as well as purple sky lupines in the Bear Valley area. Along roadsides, cow parsnips are putting in an appearance with their tall stalks topped with a white flower umbel--like a giant cauliflower atop the stems.

Winners of the 2011 California Coastal Commission's Coastal Art & Poetry Contest go on display next Tuesday, May 1 at the Bear Valley Visitor Center!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sky fireworks arrive on April 22 with the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower. A new moon should shed little light and allow good viewing in the late evenings beginning April 16. Look east-northeast for these bright "falling stars" and hope the fog stays away! The shower originates in the constellation Lyra--the harp of heaven--whose brightest star is Vega, which is usually seen throughout summer.

April is the beginning of elk calving season. Parents often feed nearby and calves should be given a wide berth as they rest and wait for parents to return.

The winter road closure and shuttle season finished for 2011-2012 with a final day last Sunday. Whale and seal numbers continue to wane, but wildflowers are just getting started!

Spikes of yellow flowers on shrubbery along local highways are Red Elderberry along with light yellow flowers on bay trees.

The park website has been "re-skinned" with new images and easier access to information. Check it for a list of special activities related to Earth Day.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

Phone:

(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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