Nature Notebook, October 8, 2019


The new moon on Friday, Oct. 16 brings some extreme tides, the very highest in the middle of the day on Sunday, Oct. 18 and Monday, Oct. 19 at 6.6 feet just around 11 a.m. The moon will leave a dark night for the peak of the Orionid meteor showers, which run from Oct. 2 through Nov. 7. The meteors peak late Wednesday, Oct. 21 at a rate of about 20 per hour. Look for Orion, the hunter with his familiar belt of three stars in the eastern sky.

Abundant red berries are brightening the ashy gray air: rosehips and the clear, glassy-red sprays of honeysuckle berries. Rosehips, the bright red fruit of the rose plant, are created after the flower has been pollinated and typically ripen in autumn. Honeysuckle berries look like clusters of clear red jelly and provide a treat for birds to feast upon. More fall color comes as bigleaf maples turn golden in contrast with the deep green coast redwoods along Sir Francis Drake Highway.

Brown pelicans are still splashing along Tomales and Drakes Bays, fishing and feeding. They will soon make their fall departure for warmer weather in southern California. Golden-crowned sparrows, with a splash of yellow on their heads, are returning to spend the winter with us after summering further north in Canada.