Nature Notebook, July 30, 2020


As the days continue to shorten, the end of summer is heralded by the late-night Perseid meteor shower, due to peak on Aug. 12. Visible to the east after midnight, this shower may send as many as 60 shooting stars each hour, heralding the changing season as summer eases into fall. The full moon rises on Monday, August 3 with some morning daylight low tides just after sunrise.

This year the plant world is so abundant. Berries both edible and non-edible, and hazel and bay nuts are crowding vines and branches. The clusters of fruit on the coffeeberry shrubs on the Earthquake Trail are changing from green to red to deep purple. Large sprays of poison oak berries are providing food for many birds, and red-barked madrone trees are drooping their sprays of scarlet berries. Along Bear Valley Trail, the bright-orange South African lilies, with their slender sword-like leaves, have started to bloom.

The Bolinas Lagoon is hosting a pouch of brown pelicans (a species that has a variety of collective nouns!) that will linger into the fall before moving south. They have a large neck pouch that they sometimes ruffle to cool off, and you will often see them fishing together in flocks. There are also early reports of the tule elk rut, which begins with males getting noisy and knocking antlers.