Nature Notebook, June 4, 2020


A full moon rises Friday, June 5 with a series of minus tides in the early mornings, the lowest string of daytime low tides this summer. The lowest tide, at minus 1.5 feet, arrives on Sunday, June 7 around 7 a.m. The Farmers’ Almanac refers to this moon as the Rose Moon, since many roses are blooming at this time of year, including native wild roses, the pink Rosa woodsii.

Summer seems to be close by. The heat spell braised the hills to a tawny brown, and shrubs are transforming from flowering to fruiting. Look for sprays of scarlet red elderberries along roadsides.  California buckeyes are flowering in pale brownish-pink spikes with their companions, large yellow swallowtail butterflies. Fuzzy caterpillars are inching across road and steps; plain yellow and then two-tone black and rust wooly bears, which will become tiger moths.

It is a banner year for poison oak, and I already had my first itchy case. I also found my first tick. Ticks wait on greenery and leap into space when they sense movement, landing and crawling—it’s called questing—around their host as they look for furry areas. We have an opportunity to avoid being bitten while they are in motion. Tuck in clothes and check when you come in from outdoor time.

As we begin to leave our shelters, where will you head first in nature? For me, I await the sounds of the ocean and the scouring spring winds on the beach—six feet away and well masked!