Nature Notebook, November 16, 2017


More meteors spark the sky as the Leonids shower peaks on Friday, Nov. 17, with about 15 meteors per hour. Look east.

An interesting note from the national seashore staff: a male sea otter found ailing near Half Moon Bay was treated and released with a tracking device. The otter, named Yankee Doodle, was then recorded off the Marin coast near Kelham Beach, miles away from where it was released. The sea otters we see are called Southern or California sea otters; they look different from the freshwater or river otters that have become a regular sight around Abbots Lagoon, Papermill Creek and Drakes Beach. Sea otters often have fur with spiky, blond guard hairs, in contrast to the smooth, sleek appearance of their freshwater relations. River otters typically swim or float on their bellies at the surface, while sea otters typically swim on their backs at the surface. If you think you saw Yankee, park staff is asking for reports!

A rare and endangered plant, the supple daisy (Erigeron supplex), was noted by scientists monitoring grasslands in the park. The population in Point Reyes is the southernmost reach of the plant, which had not been seen in the area since 1900.