Nature Notebook, July 19, 2018


A double delight awaits on July 27, with a full moon and the planet Mars in opposition—a fiery dot visible in the southeast about 15 minutes after the 8:27 p.m. sunset.

In the warmer waters of Tomales Bay, moon jellies are washing up on beaches. The clear bodies have a pattern of four white half moons in the center. As surface dwellers, they are more susceptible to temperature changes, and seasonal die-offs occur after spells of hot weather.

California bay trees are producing nuts that are now yellow-green. The nuts will ripen by early September and become eggplant purple. Peeling off the outer layer reveals a thin-shelled, edible nut. News from the park includes the closure of the lighthouse and stairs, tentatively scheduled for July 23, while the 1,032 cut pieces of glass making up the Fresnel lens will be carefully disassembled, cleaned and thus restored to their 19th-century Parisian glory. The visitor center will remain open.  

“Wali-hinak”— a “big time” in Coast Miwok—is coming this Saturday, July 21 at Kule Loklo. The annual event recreates traditional summer gatherings when food was plentiful, the weather was mild and it was a good time for visiting between villages. New this year at the event will be Indigenous Edibles, providing a menu of traditional foods.