Winter in the Park

The latest from the National Park Service:

High surf has been pounding the beaches, they appear much smaller in winter as sand is carried to offshore bars. Safety first, do no turn your back on the waves and walk halfway up the beach, not near the water.

A pair of coyotes were spotted at South Beach approaching the small colony of elephant seals below the Lighthouse cliffs; perhaps to scavenge some dead pups. As the population of coyotes increases in West Marin, they have been taking advantage of seal pups on the beaches as an easy meal. These two were deflected by the size of the male seals in the area and decided to dine elsewhere. The seal colonies are flourishing with some loss of pups due to the high surf.

Lovely weather last Saturday reassured us that gray whales are passing, over 20 were seen under the clear skies at the point; the highest count for any day this season. They return in a month or so, More sightings are likely in March with February being the lull in sightings.

Marin County Open Space rangers will be leading a walk at Abbots Lagoon on Sunday, January 31 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; lot’s of resting birds and a possibility to see the freshwater otters who have a den there.

This weekend is the fifth annual ‘Fungus Fair’ with walks beginning at 10:00 am on Saturday, January 30 at the Bear Valley Visitor Center; Sunday, January 31 a display of fungi may be viewed at the Visitor Center.