Nature Notebook, July 16, 2020


The Delta Aquarids meteor shower drops in from July 12 through August 23 for late-night viewing (after 1 a.m.), peaking on July 28 with about 20 meteors per hour. More summer early-morning tides occur around sunrise with the new moon of July 20, the lowest at minus one foot comes the morning of Tuesday, July 21.

The roadsides along Sir Francis Drake and Highway 1 have some beautiful displays of apricot-colored sticky monkeyflower. The sticky stems help to hold in moisture, especially since this plant thrives on sunny, drying hillsides. Coast Miwok people crushed the leaves and stems into a poultice to apply to wounds. California bay trees are developing their nuts, greenish-yellow balls that eventually will be purple when the hard-shelled nut inside is ready to eat.

Two pints of blackberries are tucked away in the freezer already, one of the native strain and one of the larger Himalayas. It looks like an abundant year, so start checking out your favorite spots. You may also notice a small white berry with rounded leaves, aptly named snow berry or ghost berry. They have a pink honeysuckle-shaped flower on a vine; this berry will linger as an important food source for quail.

A challenge that I have noted on my various walks through our national seashore backyard are face masks left on the ground. A thought: washable masks cuts down on the new streams of waste generated as we protect our health.