Nature Notebook, November 21, 2018


Hopefully you are reading this nestled on the couch during the first rains of the season; I always enjoy a walk after a traditional holiday meal, but will gladly don raingear this year. The full moon rises on Thanksgiving, with an extreme morning high tide of 6.4 feet at 9 a.m. and a corresponding -0.6 low at 4:17 p.m. The morning high and afternoon minus tides will continue through the weekend. 

If you are visiting the beaches this season, they will look different: winter wave and storm activity scrapes sand off of the beach, exposing rock formations, especially at Drakes. During summer, the sand will be returned—causing beaches to appear larger—and the formations hidden again. 

Just as we hope for the rainy season to begin, so do coho salmon and steelhead trout. The fish are moving into Tomales Bay and off Muir Beach, waiting for the first outpours of rainwater to trigger their migration up the creeks where they will spawn. This year, the returning cohort is the very strong class of 2015-2016, when 66 redds—or egg nests—were noted in Olema Creek (and 15 in Redwood Creek). The challenge for the Redwood Creek group is large, as they must wait for the sand bar at the mouth of the creek to be scraped away by waves and high tides before they can enter.

The national seashore remains open through the holiday. Bear Valley Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, and returns to regular hours for the weekend.