Nature Notebook, August 1, 2019


The Perseid meteor showers, usually one of the easiest and best shows to watch, will peak on Aug. 12 this year. This year, however, the full moon rises in the midst of the peak and will wash out our ability to see much of the showers. Expect to see 10 to 15 an hour after 10 p.m. 

The full moon of Aug. 15 is called the blueberry moon by the Ojibwe of the northern Midwest; ripening berries are also appearing in West Marin, with some of the first huckleberries peeking out along Old Pine Trail.

If you are walking across the Green Bridge and look over the railing midday, those 20 or 30 large fish are common carp. These large, silvery gray fish remain stationery until they grab a snack from the surface.  Introduced from Asia as a game fish, they now can be seen in Lagunitas Creek (and even as far east as Corte Madera Creek, behind College of Marin).

August begins the annual tule elk rut, which continues through October. Males typically spend most of the year in bachelor groups, dispersing during mating. Larger, dominant males begin to gather a harem, or group of females, to mate with and defend. Their defensive activities draw much attention as they spar with their antlers, make sounds called bugles and roll around in the brush. As always, observe them from a safe distance.