Nature Notebook, April 19, 2018

04/19/2018

Spring checklist: Look for the Lyrid meteor showers through April 25 in the late-night eastern skies after 11 p.m. The Eta Aquarids take off this week, too.

Many of you make an annual visit to Chimney Rock, and now is a great time. Goldfields are springing up along the road. Look for tiny violets at your feet along the trail, overshadowed by their bigger Douglas iris relatives, which spread out in large masses. Bush lupines in yellow and blue are flowering and at the very end of the trail, protected by the fence, a patch of tiny yellow v are curled up on their stems. The added bonuses are whale sightings and this year’s class of Northern elephant seals sprawled on the beaches.

Red-winged blackbirds have returned to the cattails and tules of the Olema marsh. The males are fluffing up their red shoulders to discourage other males from entering their territory and also to attract females.

A wonderful quotation that inspires me at this time of year is from a letter in the history of the Steele Brothers, quoted in “Ranching on the Point Reyes Peninsula.” In describing their ranch in the Muddy Hollow area, they wrote: “No roads but the old Spanish trail; but of wild, weird beautiful grandeur, the appreciative soul could get its fill.” Plenty of wild here—flowers, seals and whales—and plenty of grandeur in the coastal views and appreciation for our backyard.