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The silk oak's short-lived glory

Low, shrub-like monkey flowers

Red monkey flower adds color to the trail
Red monkey flower adds color to the trail

The Silk Oak Tree, a fast-growing import from Australia, comes into short-lived glory this month. Golden flower clusters decorate the silvery-green branches, an effect that is particularly stunning when seen in contrast to the blue-blossoming jacaranda trees often planted nearby. A common tree in San Diego-area parks, the silk oak is also a popular street and backyard tree in the older residential areas.

Silk oaks are stunning when seen in contrast to the blue-blossoming jacaranda.

Monkey-Flowers of various species are putting on an excellent display this month around San Diego. Look for these low, shrublike plants with tubular yellow, orange, or red flowers wherever native vegetation clothes the landscape — from the coastal bluffs to the lower slopes of the mountains. As you drive Interstates 8 or 805 near Mission Valley, look for the rust tint these flowers give to the steep hillsides. On the terraces just above San Onofre State Beach, you can usually see springtime monkey-flower blossoms of every intermediate shade from yellow to red.

Grunion Runs are predicted to occur during the late evening hours (generally after 9pm and before 1am), following the nocturnal high tide, on April 29 though May 1. The small, silvery grunion tend to spawn on wide, gently sloping beaches such as Silver Strand, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla Shores, and Del Mar. During the months of April and May, grunion are protected and may not be taken by fishers through any means. Open season for grunion starts in June, and from then until the end of summer the fish can be collected in reasonable numbers using the hands only (fishing license needed for persons 16 years of age and older). For more information, visit wildlife.ca.gov

The Lyrid meteor shower should be active late Thursday(28) and late Friday(29) night, though the shower’s timing is less than ideal for North America. Best times to try watching are from about 11 p.m. until moonrise both nights

Venus-Jupiter conjunction. Set your alarm to get up and look low in the southeast about 60 to 45 minutes before your sunrise time. Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest objects after the Sun and Moon, are a spectacularly close 0.5° apart! On Sunday morning they’ll be only a trace farther apart, with Jupiter now to Venus’s upper right.

The above comes from the Outdoors listings in the Reader compiled by Jerry Schad, author of Afoot & Afield in San Diego County. Schad died in 2011. Planet information from SkyandTelescope.org.

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Red monkey flower adds color to the trail
Red monkey flower adds color to the trail

The Silk Oak Tree, a fast-growing import from Australia, comes into short-lived glory this month. Golden flower clusters decorate the silvery-green branches, an effect that is particularly stunning when seen in contrast to the blue-blossoming jacaranda trees often planted nearby. A common tree in San Diego-area parks, the silk oak is also a popular street and backyard tree in the older residential areas.

Silk oaks are stunning when seen in contrast to the blue-blossoming jacaranda.

Monkey-Flowers of various species are putting on an excellent display this month around San Diego. Look for these low, shrublike plants with tubular yellow, orange, or red flowers wherever native vegetation clothes the landscape — from the coastal bluffs to the lower slopes of the mountains. As you drive Interstates 8 or 805 near Mission Valley, look for the rust tint these flowers give to the steep hillsides. On the terraces just above San Onofre State Beach, you can usually see springtime monkey-flower blossoms of every intermediate shade from yellow to red.

Grunion Runs are predicted to occur during the late evening hours (generally after 9pm and before 1am), following the nocturnal high tide, on April 29 though May 1. The small, silvery grunion tend to spawn on wide, gently sloping beaches such as Silver Strand, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla Shores, and Del Mar. During the months of April and May, grunion are protected and may not be taken by fishers through any means. Open season for grunion starts in June, and from then until the end of summer the fish can be collected in reasonable numbers using the hands only (fishing license needed for persons 16 years of age and older). For more information, visit wildlife.ca.gov

The Lyrid meteor shower should be active late Thursday(28) and late Friday(29) night, though the shower’s timing is less than ideal for North America. Best times to try watching are from about 11 p.m. until moonrise both nights

Venus-Jupiter conjunction. Set your alarm to get up and look low in the southeast about 60 to 45 minutes before your sunrise time. Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest objects after the Sun and Moon, are a spectacularly close 0.5° apart! On Sunday morning they’ll be only a trace farther apart, with Jupiter now to Venus’s upper right.

The above comes from the Outdoors listings in the Reader compiled by Jerry Schad, author of Afoot & Afield in San Diego County. Schad died in 2011. Planet information from SkyandTelescope.org.

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