Nature Notebook, August 2, 2018


This year’s most active meteor shower, the Perseids, returned to view in late July and peaks for viewers from Aug. 11 to 12, radiating from the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky. Up to 60 meteors an hour may be visible, especially with a new moon and dark—maybe fog free—skies on Aug. 11.

Joy, joy, joy: I picked my first huckleberries last week at Divide Meadow and then, on the way home, blackberries off of the road. The return north of brown pelicans and the ripening of wild fruits truly announce that summer is here, along with the “smack” of jellyfish washed by currents into Tomales Bay,  where clear moon jellies have been joined by the ice tea-colored lion’s mane jellies. The latter’s tentacles, which are used to provide food, may cause a stinging sensation when brushed against.

The fiery-orange flowers appearing against the emerald green backdrop of Bear Valley Trail are Crocosmia sp., or South African lilies, so named from their origin. They are typically the last flowers to bloom as summer moves along, though bushes of monkey flower also linger.

The lighthouse closure begins Aug. 6 for a phased restoration ranging from work on the antique lens to upgrading the access road. The closure will affect birdwatching in the cypress trees that can be a favorite spot for unusual migrants. Check ahead before visiting the area.