Nature Notebook, July 1, 2021


July brings a pattern of morning minus low tides, with a new moon on July 9 and a full moon on July 24. Bits of yellow and amber fuzz meandering across the landscape are woolly bear caterpillars, soon to build cocoons and emerge as tiger moths. Typically, they appear with either yellow or amber in the middle, black on either end and a few spikes of white bristles. I had seen a few Gulf fritillary butterflies around the passion flower vines at the thrift store but so far no more. As the beige spikes of California buckeye trees flower, yellow and black swallowtails may be seen flittering around them. They are one of the few pollinators for this tree.

Berries are ripening, with bright sprays of red elderberries among the greenery. I have eaten my first blackberries of the year from the Giacomini Wetlands. Meandering near the Green Bridge, I was able to watch a pair of green herons swooping along snags and dead trees in the waterway.

In the national seashore, annual harbor seal protection measures lifted on June 30 and boating and landing resumes along the Drakes Estero and Tomales Bay areas. As the holiday weekend approaches, a reminder: Fireworks are not permitted in Marin County or anywhere in the seashore.