Nature Notebook, August 12, 2021

08/11/2021

The Perseids peak this evening, Aug. 12, with about 60 meteors an hour: Stay up after midnight and look northeast toward the constellation Perseus. The skies will remain quiet until October’s Draconid meteor showers. 

The full moon of Aug. 22 will bring early-morning minus tides for beach walking. This moon is variously called the “corn” or “harvest” moon in some almanacs, as it marks a summer crop gathering.

That shaking noisy shrub may very well be a blue elderberry, which is full of juicy, ripe berries bringing in hordes of birds for feasting. Late summer continues to ripen all our berries; you may notice piles of scat filled with seeds along the trail sides, as many animals enjoy this fruitful season. California bay trees are also hung with tiny lemon- and lime-colored bulbs; these will ripen to a deep purple when the thin-shelled brown nut inside is ready to eat.

Those who live near Monterey pines and have a wooden deck may have heard heavy thuds recently; I was startled off the couch by green pine cones banging onto the deck!  Closer inspection showed they were slightly chewed upon. Squirrels are busy gnawing them off the tree to get at the seeds. The green cones have more nutrition.