Nature Notebook, November 21, 2019


The conjunction of Venus and Jupiter brings a celestial treat on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 24. These two bright planets will appear close to each other in the western darkness before 6:30 p.m. Thanksgiving week brings extremely high mid-morning tides, peaking at 6.8 feet under the new moon on Tuesday, Nov. 26. Minus tides will occur in the late afternoons. A regular winter occurrence is the exposure of rock formations along Drakes Bay as sand is scraped off the shore and deposited in underwater sand bars; the sand will be pushed back up in summer months.

Currently, I am watching the acrobatics of a gray squirrel outside the window. The creatures are busy in a pine tree, gnawing up pine cones to get at the seeds tucked inside. My view is accompanied by the sound of regular thuds as buckeye husks pop open and drop seeds. Plenty of robins are around, especially if you have berried shrubs, such as cotoneaster. During colder months, robins switch their diets from worms and insects to fruit and berries. 

From the Point Reyes National Seashore: On Thanksgiving Day, the lighthouse will be open from 10 to 2 p.m. and the Bear Valley Visitor Center will be open from 9 to 2 p.m. The temporary repairs along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard are challenging to low-slung cars, as the gravel is being compacted on the sides and rising in the middle. Plan accordingly!