Warm Weather = Marine Mammal Viewing

The 9/9/2008 Park Wavelengths newsletter points out that the recent warm weather means you may be able to catch breaching minke and humpback whales, dolphins, and porpoises from Limantour Beach.  Get out there!  Here is the rest of the newsletter:

The full moon rises on September 15 at 2:13 am.  This moon brings some very high afternoon daylight tides between 5.7 and 6.3 feet so plan beach excursions early in the day.  The autumnal equinox follows on the next Monday, August 22nd as we begin to lose a few moments of daylight each day.

Warm weather had created excellent marine mammal viewing from Limantour Beach.  Breaching minke and humpback whales, dolphins, and porpoises were observed across the weekend from the beach along with many loons and common murres.  It is possible some type of ‘bloom’ of food associated with warmer water temperatures is drawing in the feasting crowds although we often see humpbacks and blues at this time of year.  Large numbers of Sooty Shearwaters are feeding off Abbots Lagoon.  On Tomales Bay, a die off of moon jellies has washed in many blobs of clear jelly with the trademark white crescents.  These are a favorite food for sea turtles.  Unfortunately, plastic bags in the water can mimic the drifting jellies and are eaten by turtles.  The indigestible bags block absorption of nutrients and food and can cause malnutrition and death for the turtles.  A reminder, the brown colored Lions Mane jellies can cause an allergic reaction if you brush against; a sting was reported from Drakes Beach last Saturday.  Avoid them on the beach!

Snowy Plovers hung in there this year, final numbers approximately 16% survival rate; 33 birds hatched and five fledged.  Some of the nesting area was disturbed by clean up for a shipwreck that washed ashore at Kehoe Beach; cautious Dad Plover managed to shield the last three from this disturbance.

Excellent year for berries all round, the latest fruit is Blue Elderberry, large dusky dark purple-blue clusters are draped over Bear Valley Road and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard especially in the San Geronimo Valley. Buckeye nut pods are appearing as the leaves are dropped, the green balls can be seen on the trees.

Coastal Clean Up Day is coming up on Saturday, September 20th.  Meet at Limantour Beach at 9:30 am to clean up trash and enjoy the day.

A permit has been issued for September 14th for the annual “Piper On the Ridge” event on Mount Vision Road; The annual event features a bagpiper greeting the rising full moon and begins approximately 7:00 pm.  Free, but no dogs permitted: check on whether extreme fire danger may close the road.

PG + E will be working in the pastures off North Beach for the next few weeks, restringing lines over the fields; no affect on services or traffic is expected.