Tue 23 Oct 2007
This photo exhibition in progress focuses on the variety of nature that can be seen from the two acres in Point Reyes Station where I live.
In his book The Natural History of the Point Reyes Peninsula, biologist Jules Evens of Point Reyes Station writes: “The Coast Miwok and the Pomo, who inhabited these shores for at least 5,000 years, were tideland collectors, acorn gatherers, and game hunters who survived and measured time by the seasonal abundance of food. For those early people each season, counted by phases of the moon, brought its own sustenance. One moon was for gathering herbs; one marked the return of the ducks; another marked their departure. On the bright full moon of midwinter, hunting could be difficult.”
Here is a look at what can be seen at this time of year.
A Buckeye butterfly lands on a chrysanthemum outside my cabin Sunday.
This week’s gibbous moon was waxing, and October’s full moon will be Friday night. A gibbous moon is one that’s not full, but more than half its facing hemisphere is illuminated. Since childhood I have been fascinated by being able to see the moon’s topography along its terminator, the boundary between the illuminated and unilluminated hemispheres. At upper left, the dark, mile-deep crater shaped like a five-pointed star is 69-mile-wide Crater Gassendi. The light area immediately below the crater is the Mare Humorum, Moist Sea, formed by lava 3.9 billion years ago. This photo, like most on my blog, was shot with a $270 Kodak EasyShare camera, which came with a 10-power zoom. Newer models cost less and have a 12-power zoom.
A young blacktail buck next to my cabin just before recent rains turned grass green.
A Lesser goldfinch eating buds on my rosemary bush. Lesser goldfinches eat seeds, flower buds, and berries. Point Reyes Station ornithologist Rich Stallcup, who identified the finch in the photo, this week told me, “Lesser goldfinches… are way less common than American goldfinches in West Marin during summer. There is an upward pulse in their numbers in the fall. Then both species withdraw a bit inland for the winter.”
A Western fence lizard suns herself outside my cabin. Western fence lizards eat insects and spiders, and they, in turn, are eaten by birds and snakes, which typically catch them while they’re sunning themselves.