Nature Notebook, February 11, 2021

02/10/2021

A new moon on Thursday, Feb. 11 brings a spell of morning high tides in the six-foot range. Remember to look just above the moon this week for Saturn, Venus and Jupiter in conjunction. Chinese New Year arrives on Feb. 12; it is the Year of the Ox, whose qualities are described as patience and diligence and who brings good harvests and luck.

Adapting to the warm weather, the first wildflowers have begun blooming this week. Milkmaids, a small, four-petaled white flower with hints of rosy pink, have popped up in shady areas and violets are appearing close to the ground. Bay trees have small flowers unfurling and many domestic flowers are blooming, such as the daffodils around the library and the quince near the Green Bridge. 

At the last writing, the visitor center area of Drakes Beach had a number of male elephant seals, but since then, storm weather brought up a few females and pups to join them. Herring, or “teakule” in Coast Miwok, have made their way into Tomales Bay. Once netted from tule boats, today they provide a feast for seals and birds. The storms have also brought coho salmon and steelhead trout up Lagunitas creek. Most sightings are being reported from the Leo T. Cronin viewing area in Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Stairstep Falls is also flowing in the park.