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It's About Time - August 2015

Pacific giant salamander, Dicamptodon Tenebrosus
Pacific giant salamander, Dicamptodon Tenebrosus

This year August is set up with a glorious week of stargazing. The Perseid meteor shower will send hundreds, maybe thousands, of shooting stars across the sky during the second week of August. Peak shower activity will be August 11-13. The best meteor watching will be in the hours before dawn, when the constellation Perseus rises from the northeastern horizon. What makes this year’s shower likely to be spectacular is that nearly moonless nights coincide with the peak streaking.

It may be dry and hot during the day but an overnight camping trip to central Oregon might be worth activating your explorer cards. Meteors and the Milky Way are a great combination. To find clear skies it will be necessary to pay attention to forest fire smoke. It is an extreme fire season.

The east side Delta Ponds are now covered with a nearly pure layer of duckweed. Not only are the ducks out there shoveling it in, but geese also. The sight of geese sucking duckweed is not a common one. They usually prefer eating fresh, green grass but the grass around the ponds is so dry that the duckweed seems to be an attractive feast.

One of summer’s most enjoyable pastimes is wading up and down small streams. The streams which now have low flow over gentle bedrock are especially fun. It is easy wading and there are lots of things to see in the water. Look for newts and the Pacific giant salamander.