Nature Notebook, July 15, 2021


As we move to the late-July full moon, early-morning low tides continue in their annual pattern with the lowest morning on July 24 at 6 a.m. The summer parade of meteor showers brings the Delta Aquarid showers from July 12 through Aug. 23, peaking on the evening of July 28 with about 20 meteors per hour. Late-night viewers should look south toward the constellation Aquarius, the water carrier (we can only hope for summer showers!).

If you have fruit trees near home, deer may be stopping by. The cherry plum tree in our yard is attracting not only deer but squirrels and foxes snacking away. Along the Bear Valley trails, the dark-blue starburst berries of the large-leafed elk clover, or Aralia californica, are out in abundance. I’ve always thought of the fruit as fireworks, as they tend to appear in July and have the shape of those brilliant sky sparklers.

The oceans seem to be providing plenty of food this summer, with numerous reports of humpback whales feeding off the headlands and a few sightings of grays lingering at the mouth of Tomales Bay. Typically, humpbacks appear toward the fall and linger in small pods as they feed on small fish such as herring, but this summer has brought plenty of sightings in the past few weeks.