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Rabbits and rodents bringing coyotes to you

Car headlights illuminate the rear ends of scampering cottontail rabbits.

Car headlights illuminate the rear ends of scampering cottontail rabbits.

Rabbit and Rodent populations are peaking in the canyons and hillsides of coastal San Diego County. In many neighborhoods, car headlights illuminate the rear ends of scampering cottontail rabbits making raids on succulent garden vegetation. On the fringes of suburbia, sleek coyotes are sometimes spotted slinking about in pursuit of rodents and rabbits, or easier-to-catch fare — house cats.

Springtime lupines, Mt. Laguna

Wildflowers of San Diego County’s highest mountains are in full bloom this week. Take a walk along any trail above 4500 feet in the Laguna, Cuyamaca, or Palomar mountains and enjoy a palette of colors ranging from crimson red to indigo blue. Among the most common varieties are lupine (blue, occasionally yellow), wallflower (yellow), paintbrush (red), scarlet bugler (red), beard tongue (bluepurple), checker (lavender), woolly blue curls (violet), forget-me-not (white), wild hyacinth (purple), and yarrow (yellow and white).

Highest Tide this month, measuring +7.07 feet, occurs on Sunday, May 16, at 10:02 p.m. Lowest tide levels for the month, measuring -1.71 feet, occur on Tuesday, May 17, at 5:14 a.m., and on Wednesday, May 18, 6:07 a.m. For early-morning exploration of normally inaccessible coastal areas (like the La Jolla Caves), you might try low tide the following day (Thursday, the 19th), when the tide dips to -1.38 feet at 7:06 a.m., after sunrise.

Grunion Runs are predicted to occur during the late evening hours (generally after 10pm and before 1am), following the nocturnal high tide, May 15 through 17. 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/Fishing/Ocean/Grunion

There will be a total lunar eclipse of the Moon on May 15th. In San Diego The full eclipse begins at 8:29 pm, reaches its maximum at 9:11 pm and ends at 9:53 pm. The next full lunar eclipse will be on November 8. The eclipse will be visible from most of North America except the far northwest, and from all of Central and South America. The Moon, in Libra, will be high in the sky for many of these areas.

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.