The Orionids peak on Oct. 21 but will be hard to spot due to the full moon. This moon is known as the hunter’s moon, as it traditionally allowed extra night light to hunt animals for winter food supplies. Also lighting the sky will be the planet Venus in its greatest eastern elongation, our moment to see it away from the sun’s brilliance. Venus will blaze in the western sky after sunset on Oct. 29.

Autumn has brought sightings of hunting birds such as the white-tailed kites flying over the Giacomini Wetlands. These resident birds are white in color with black shoulder patches and have a distinctive flight pattern. They will face the wind and hover—hence the word “kiting” to describe this stationery movement—as they search for small rodents and other prey.  

The first monarch butterfly has glided through the Earthquake Trail. This solo traveler seems a little early for Marin County overwintering, which typically happens in November through February. Ladybird beetles have begun to tuck themselves under the oak duff, though some will cluster in large masses to warm themselves before overwintering in the Central Valley.

It always seems odd to see a plant bloom in fall, but that’s coyote brush, a low-growing shrub currently blooming around the reservoir and the Bear Valley Visitor Center. It has male and female plants, with small, fuzzy, yellow flowers. As a native California plant, its tough, leathery leaves withstand the heat of late summer.