Nature Notebook, May 23, 2019


The new moon of June 3 begins the cycle of extra-low summer tides, though it can feel difficult to figure out which season we are in as rainstorms wash across West Marin. The low tides will come just after sunrise each morning. Thursday, June 6 will see the lowest, at -1.3 at 8 a.m., and the next extra-lows will arrive around July 4.

Levee Road telephone poles have been a handy perch for turkey vultures to spread out their wings to dry; they typically roost in a group overnight and dry out in the mornings. Grasses are already turning to summer colors, especially the “rattlesnake” or “quaking” grass along Bear Valley Road. This Mediterranean grass has seed-bearing, golden-brown spikelets reminiscent of a rattlesnake tail. 

The California Coastal Commission is displaying award-winning poetry and artwork at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Students from around the state write poems and create art in response to the ocean and the lives within it. The exhibit runs through June. The national seashore will mark Memorial Day on Monday, May 27 with the annual ceremony at the Historic Life-Saving Station Cemetery at 1:30 p.m. The ceremony honors the Life-Saving service and Coast Guard members who lost their lives. The Bear Valley Visitor Center will be open across the holiday weekend, though the lighthouse area remains closed as the restoration project continues.