Park Wavelengths - May 2012
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
This summer is packed with celestial events! Keep those annular eclipse glasses handy for the Transit of Venus on June 5 beginning around 3:05 pm PDT and lasting until 8:24 am. The planet Venus will appear as a speck against the sun. A partial lunar eclipse of the full moon occurs in the wee hours of the morning on Monday, June 4 between 4:12 and 5:06 am.
Fire season has begun across the park and Marin County. Fire danger ratings are posted at park visitor centers. Use extra precaution with fires; extinguish with plenty of water. Check power equipment for spark arresters and inspect cars parked in dry gas areas to insure no catalytic converters come into contact with grasses. In extreme fire danger, Mount Vision Road is closed.
All park visitor centers will be open on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.
A special Memorial Day commemoration is scheduled for 2 pm on Monday at the Coast Guard/Claussen Family cemetery off Sir Francis Drake Highway. Four surfmen are buried there and a Coast Guard Honor Guard will conduct a short ceremony along with park staff. The Historic Lifeboat Station at Chimney Rock will be open from 4 to 5 pm.
Bear Valley Visitor Center just received the new "military" annual pass for active duty military personnel and their dependents. The one year pass allows free entrance to national parks and is available with appropriate military identification.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Subject: Boat Ashore at Limantour
A 43-foot commercial salmon trawler came ashore, just south of Coast Camp on Limantour Beach, this morning sometime after sunrise; no loss of life. Salvage operators are working to remove 300 gallons of diesel fuel and will attempt to remove the boat from the beach.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
The first annular eclipse to be seen in the U.S. since 1994 will put on a show May 20 between 5:15 pm and 6:32 pm in West Marin (fog permitting)! The new moon is swinging far in its orbit around the earth and isn't large enough to completely block out the sun (a total solar eclipse) so the partial blocking we will see is called an annular eclipse--from annulus or ring. An eclipse in Coast Miwok is "hin-muke"--sun gone. Never look directly at the sun! Pinhole shoeboxes and other devices will help observe the phenomenon. A complete listing of park events and timings for eclipse viewings may be accessed via https://www.nature.nps.gov.
The brilliant evening star glimpsed at sunset over Inverness Ridge as one descends into Olema Valley is Venus.
Along Tomales Bay, reports of "fins in the water" are masses of bat rays seen off of Pebble Beach. A river otter has been seen around other bat ray territory--the Estero Bridge!
Wildflower season continues even as grasses begin to brown! Rattlesnake grass (Briza maxima) with its distinctive seed pods that look like a rattlesnake tail is growing profusely around Bear Valley trails and Limantour Road. It is also called "Quaking Grass," as wind blowing through it creates a unique rustling sound.
Wooly bears--tiger-striped caterpillars--have been wandering about the elk range in large numbers! They will eventually create cocoons and emerge as tiger moths but for now are busy foraging.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
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Last updated: March 22, 2018