Nature Notebook, August 29, 2019


The new moon on Friday, Aug. 30 will preside over the Labor Day weekend with low tides in the early mornings and very high tides in the mid-afternoons, peaking at 6.1 feet on Monday at 2:20 p.m.; morning beach walks are best over the holiday weekend.

Berry picking continues with a slightly later arrival of huckleberries where I usually search. Recently, while approaching a scramble of blackberry vines, I startled a covey of quail—adults, and those little fuzzball fledglings. I did not realize they take cover under the prickly shrubs while scratching for food on the ground. Be on the lookout during your foraging!

Twinges of autumn approaching can already be seen, as buckeye leaves turn brown then fall and scarlet sprays of poison oak brighten on Limantour Road. California bay trees appear to have small, lemon-colored fruits that will soon ripen into purple, indicating that the nut inside is ripe. Coast live oaks are sporting clusters of green acorns that will ripen into toasty brown nuts by the end of September.

News from the national seashore: Park visitor centers will be open throughout the holiday weekend. The lighthouse remains closed as the restoration project nears completion. Meadow Trail will be closed from Sept. 3 through Sept. 9 as the bridge is replaced at the Bear Valley end of the trail. A fungus identification fair will be held on Sunday, Sept. 8 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Bear Valley Visitor Center.