Park Wavelengths - May 2006


May 30, 2006

The full moon rises on June 11 with continuing spring - summer low tides. In the Kashaya Pomo calendar - Butich-da, 'when bulbs mature' - these are the ookow or Brodiea sp. lavender flowers with edible bulbs that are blooming now. There is a lovely display of purple Brodiaea along Lucas Valley Road across from the Lucasfilm entrance gate.

Low daylight low tides:

Wednesday, May 31 8:56 am -0.7 feet
Thursday, June 1 9:42 am -0.3 feet

Elephant seals have been napping on the Chimney Rock boat ramp. These are sub-adults who are molting; they are losing patches of fur. Technically, the tidepool area is open but the seals are blocking access and may not be disturbed. They should head off to the squid filled waters of Alaska within the next month.

Looks like cauliflower blooming on a stalk? That's Cow Parsnip, a tall green stemmed plant with a thick white flower. Buckeye trees are also flowering right now, with tall pinkish white spires of flowers.

A permit has been issued for 100 people staging at the Olema Ranch Campground on Thursday, June 1 - riding bikes into the park and visiting the self guiding trails in the Bear Valley Area as well as riding on Bear Valley Trail. Expect people congestion in this area though not parking congestion! Saturday, June 3rd, this group will be biking along the Bolinas Ridge Trail to Bolinas Fairfax Road.

Sunday, June 4, Highway 1 will be closed in Point Reyes Station for approximately one hour between 12 noon and 1:00 pm for an annual parade; watch for Highway Patrol and Sheriffs directing traffic around Highway 1 onto Mesa Road.

If you missed the open showings of "Geographic Stories of West Marin" the free exhibit of local maps - the final showing is Saturday, June 10 form 9:00 to 5:00 pm at the Red Barn Classroom at Park Headquarters

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May 16, 2006

Good daylight morning low tides continue this week:

Wednesday, May 17 8:44 am -1.1 feet
Thursday, May 18 10:04 am -0.9 feet
Friday, May 19 10:47 am -0.6 feet
Saturday,May 20 11:47 am -0.3 feet

The new moon on Friday, May 26 also brings a few daylight low tides:

Sunday, May 28 6:21 am -1.5 feet
Monday, May 29 7:23 am -1.1 feet
Tuesday, May 30 8:08 am -1.1 feet
Wednesday, May 31 8:54 am -0.7 feet

Return of Velella velella "By the Wind sailors", a sign of summer! These are the heaps of bluish clear debris in the tide line - they are animals, hydroids that get blown onshore by the winds. The oval clear shaped part floats while a half oval on the top acts like a sail. They are marked with lines similar to the rings of a tree. Look for them on Drakes and the Great Beach.

Wildflowers seem to be slightly past the peak for this year with browning grasses already taking over at Bear Valley and Chimney Rock. Lot's to enjoy though - poppies in full force at Abbots Lagoon. Grasses are mostly 'in seed' now, rattlesnake grass or Briza major and Briza minor (they have heart shaped pods and remind one of the tail of a rattler) are along Limantour Road. Bright yellow monkey flower are out along Sir Francis Drake - yellow with red dots inside. These monkey flowers like the damp areas where water collects off the side of the road; they are related to the orange monkey flowers with the sticky stems that prefer the open dry hillsides of Inverness Ridge.

Tule elk calves are being born; approximately 27 newborn calves have been collared. The radio collars allow researchers to monitor travel patterns along Tomales Point and mortality rates. The collars make it easier to find calves that may die and thus gain valuable information before the carcass is scavenged. Nursing mothers may leave the calves resting while foraging nearby. Do not approach or disturb elk and their calves; always observe from afar. A life size tule elk is on display at Bear Valley Visitor Center.

Permits have been issued for Saturday, May 20 for a) a horse ride and barbecue for 50+ people at the Five Brooks trailhead from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm; b) a picnic with 50+ at Bear Valley between 1:30 pm- 8:00 pm; and c) a training bicycle ride at Bear Valley from 7:30 am - 12:30 pm on Saturday, May 20. Arrive early for better parking! A permit for a wedding 130+ people at Limantour Beach on Saturday, May 27 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm has also been issued; it may affect parking in the south lot.

The National Park Service in partnership with the US Coast Guard will conduct a memorial on Monday. May 29 at 2:00 pm at the Lifesaving Service Cemetery, just off the Coast Guard Road; off Sir Francis Drake Highway.

All park visitor centers are open Monday, May 29, the Memorial Day weekend holiday.

Spare the air! The Muir Woods shuttle bus service begins on Saturday, May 27. Visitors may park at the Marin City parking lot and ride the bus into Muir Woods. Between 9:30 am and 6:30 pm the shuttles operate every 1/2 hour. Call (415) 388-2595 for information.

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May 3, 2006

The full moon arrives on Friday May 12, the 'Moon to Plant for Dakotah Sioux' - with a group of daylight/early morning low tides:

Sunday May 14 6:36 am -1.1 feet
Monday, May 15 7:16 am -1.2 feet
Wednesday, May 17 8:54 am -1.1 feet
Thursday, May 18 9:49 am -0.9 feet
Friday, May 16 10:43 am -0.6 feet
Saturday, May 20 11:45 am -0.3 feet

Chimney Rock may be accessed for tidepooling though barriers to the beach remain in place to prevent seals from hauling out onto the 'comfortable' gravel parking lot! Agate Beach County Park at the end of Elm and Overlook Road is the most easily accessed tidepool area.

Clouds of light blue and lavender 'California Lilac' or Blue Blossom' (Ceanothus sp.) are along Limantour Road, along with light yellow blooms of blue elderberry also flowering. Wildflowers continue with poppies at Abbots Lagoon, bush lupines on the point and iris everywhere.

Goldfields are seen along Chimney Rock Road and Pierce Point. These tiny golden flowers are pollinated by small solitary bees who live underground. The bees store goldfield pollen in these underground caves and then their larvae feed on the stored pollen. The developing larvae often zip around the goldfields looking like flies- earning the yellow flowers an additional common name of "Fly Flower."

It is a particularly wonderful time to watch for the last of the migrating gray whales. The mother and calf pairs travel slowly and linger at the surface; they will often be seen for 30 -40 minutes moving around the lighthouse - the calf spouting many times. Some 22 were reported from the Lighthouse this past Monday. Rangers at Muir Woods sponsor a "Whale and Wildflower' Hike this Sunday, May 7 from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm which meets at the Muir Beach Overlook Parking lot.

A busy weekend ahead - Permits have been issued for a May Day/Beltane celebration at Limantour Beach on Saturday May 6 between 10:00 am-4:00 pm; Also on May 6, the Bolinas Ridge Trail area will be congested - hikers on the 'Ridge to Bridge' hike will be starting at Samuel P. Taylor and going through the area as well as the Miwok 100K race.

New artwork at the Bear Valley Visitor Center from Jane Kiskaddon; paintings of ravens and owls, horseback riders and bicyclists!

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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