A small bird, and humor’s saving grace.

This morning I published another short story. This one is titled The Station Sparrow.

The humorous little tale was inspired by my own life experience.

I often see birds inside the enormous passenger waiting room of Santa Fe Depot, the train station in downtown San Diego. Feathered infiltrators come through the wide open doors and walk about the floor pecking at crumbs.

That got me to thinking. And imagining. And laughing.

The Station Sparrow is mostly about life, and humor’s saving grace. Click the link to read it.

I hope it makes you laugh, too.

A beautiful walk along Batiquitos Lagoon Trail.

Walking along Batiquitos Lagoon Trail one beautiful morning.
Walking along Batiquitos Lagoon Trail one fine morning.

Today I headed up the coast to Carlsbad. I wanted to walk along a trail that I heard was very beautiful.

I often drive along Interstate 5 over Batiquitos Lagoon, just north of the La Costa exit, but I never get more than a brief glimpse of the shining water and green margins. So this morning I ditched the car, tightened the laces of my walking shoes, and walked for a bit along the lagoon’s main trail.

Beautiful, indeed.

The two mile trail along the north edge of the tidal wetland and the Nature Center are both maintained by the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation.
The two mile trail along the north edge of the tidal wetland and the Nature Center are both maintained by the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation.
A hiker approaches the Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Center from the Gabbiano Lane trailhead.
A hiker approaches the Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Center from the Gabbiano Lane trailhead.
Curious visitors come and go, keeping friendly volunteers at the Nature Center busy.
Curious visitors come and go, keeping friendly volunteers at the Nature Center busy.
People can purchase a personalized brick to help support the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation.
People can purchase a personalized brick to help support the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation.
The Nature Center might be modest, but it is welcoming and full of interesting exhibits.
The Nature Center might be modest, but it is welcoming and full of interesting exhibits.
Before entering I saw the Batiquitos free lagoon lovers library.
Before entering I saw the Batiquitos Free Lagoon Lovers Library.
The very cool Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Center is like a one room jam-packed museum.
The very cool Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Center is like a one room jam-packed museum.
I see a snowy egret and a Cooper's hawk.
I see a snowy egret and a Cooper’s hawk.
The many different birds that live at the lagoon can be identified by their distinctive eggs.
The many different birds that live at the lagoon can be identified by their distinctive eggs.
Visitors can closely examine lagoon insects and other creeping, crawling creatures.
Visitors can closely examine lagoon insects and other creeping, crawling creatures.
Various human artifacts on display include Native American Kumeyaay clay pots, weapons and tools.
Various human artifacts on display include Native American Kumeyaay clay pots and tools.
A poster shows Carlsbad's watershed, including the area where fresh water (including San Marcos Creek and Encinitas Creek) flows into Batiquitos Lagoon.
A poster shows Carlsbad’s watershed, including the area where fresh water (including San Marcos Creek and Encinitas Creek) flows into Batiquitos Lagoon.
As I left the Nature Center, I lingered for a moment on the shady front porch and gazed out at the nearby lagoon.
As I left the Nature Center, I lingered for a moment on the shady front porch and gazed out toward the nearby lagoon.
Next to some picnic benches by the Nature Center, you'll find a very strange creature lurking. It's The Creature From Batiquitos Lagoon, by artist Paul Weber, 2003.
Next to some picnic benches by the Nature Center, you’ll find a very strange creature lurking. It’s The Creature From Batiquitos Lagoon, by artist Paul Weber, 2003.
To the west, Interstate 5 runs over part of the lagoon's Pacific Ocean tidal inlet. Many drive past this beautiful place without stopping to enjoy it.
To the west, Interstate 5 runs over part of the lagoon’s Pacific Ocean tidal inlet. Many drive past this beautiful place without ever stopping to enjoy it.
Now we are heading east along the north edge of smooth, blue Batiquitos Lagoon.
Now we are heading east along the north edge of smooth, blue Batiquitos Lagoon.
Several small concrete seats were decorated with colored stone mosaics. This one features a mallard duck.
Several small concrete seats were decorated with colored stone mosaics. This one features a mallard duck.
Bright September sunshine on green.
The bright September sunshine on green.
Part of the Lagoon Trail follows tan sandstone cliffs.
The west part of the Lagoon Trail follows tan sandstone cliffs.
The cliffs along this stretch belong to the Scripps Formation. The sandstone was deposited in a shallow ocean about 45 million years ago.
The cliffs along this stretch belong to the Scripps Formation. The sandstone was deposited in a shallow ocean about 45 million years ago.
Approaching a more wooded area at the border of the lagoon.
Approaching a more wooded area at the border of the lagoon.
Several short trails head north from the main trail into nearby Carlsbad neighborhoods.
Several short trails head north from the main trail into nearby Carlsbad neighborhoods.
I see a mosaic turtle!
I see a mosaic turtle!
Many informative signs can be found along the trail. This one lists salt marsh niches, including floating plants, diving birds, wading birds, bottom fish, mud worms and more. It also talks about the environment and human responsibility.
Many informative signs can be found along the trail. This one lists salt marsh niches, including floating plants, diving birds, wading birds, bottom fish, mud worms and more. It also talks about caring for the environment and human responsibility.
A large mudflat shines in the morning sunlight.
A large mudflat shines like silver in the morning sunlight.
This enormous tree stands alone near the edge of the water. It has probably lived there for a very long time.
This enormous tree stands alone near the edge of the water. It has probably lived there for a very long time.
Now I see a heron!
Now I see a wading heron!
Walking near the lush edge of the tidal marsh. Along here there is a lot of Coyote Brush, and non-native Yellow Mustard.
Walking near the lush edge of the tidal marsh. Along here grows a lot of Coyote Brush, and non-native Yellow Mustard.
The trail passes over a tiny bridge and a thin stream of water.
The trail passes over a tiny bridge and a thin stream of water.
Bending over I was able to take a photograph of a wood rat den made of twigs and branches.
Bending over I was able to take a photograph of a wood rat den made of twigs and branches.
Nearby sign explains the wood rat's den. Also called pack rats, they build complex houses with various chambers.
A nearby sign explains the wood rat’s den. Also called pack rats, they build complex houses with various chambers.
White fluffy heads of non-native pampas grass shine near the trail.
The white fluffy heads of some non-native pampas grass seem to shimmer in the breeze.
Now we are walking right beside the tidal lagoon.
Now we are walking right beside the tidal lagoon.
Coastal Goldenbush blooms about to open.
Coastal Goldenbush blooms about to open.
More beautiful leaves in sunlight.
More beautiful leaves in sunlight.
It appears a tall tree fell and was cleared from the path.
It appears a tall tree fell and was cleared from the path.
Walking along a beautiful trail in coastal San Diego County.
Walking along a very beautiful trail in coastal San Diego County.
Plaque on one bench by the trail. From the high mountains of Colorado to the shores of Batiquitos Lagoon, serenity and peace can be found.
Plaque on one bench by the trail. From the high mountains of Colorado to the shores of Batiquitos Lagoon, serenity and peace can be found.
More beauty.
More natural beauty.
We are nearing the end of our two mile walk.
We are near the end of our two mile walk.
More beauty.
More late summer beauty.
Now we are approaching the eastern end of Batiquitos Lagoon, beyond which runs El Camino Real. Light shines upon life-giving water.
Now we are approaching the eastern end of Batiquitos Lagoon, beyond which runs El Camino Real. Light shines upon life-giving water.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

San Diego Audubon Society’s fun Bird Festival!

People enjoying the annual Bird Festival at Marina Village have walked to the San Diego River Estuary where many aquatic birds congregate.
People enjoying the annual Bird Festival at Marina Village have walked to the San Diego River Estuary where many aquatic birds congregate.

Today during my walk I encountered of group of enthusiastic birders at the San Diego River Estuary. These folks were all participating in the San Diego Audubon Society’s annual Bird Festival, which takes place this weekend at the nearby Marina Village Conference Center.

Later during my walk I visited the Bird Festival’s registration room, where anyone can purchase dozens of different birdwatching and reference books, plus other gifts. A friendly lady informed me that the San Diego Audubon Society has about three thousand members! During the Bird Festival and throughout the year, members can go on all sorts of field trips around San Diego County, and take every sort of bird-related class imaginable.

Members and volunteers are also involved in working to restore critical bird habitat in Mission Bay! I blogged about that a couple years ago here!

Do you make your home in San Diego? Do you love birds? Then you probably should join the Audubon Society! Here the local chapter’s website, where you can also learn more about the very cool Bird Festival, which continues through tomorrow!

The San Diego Audubon Society offers many birdwatching opportunities. The organization also has a conservation program.
The San Diego Audubon Society offers many birdwatching opportunities. The organization also has a vital conservation program.
If I joined the Audubon Society, maybe I'd learn what sort of behavior these birds are displaying!
If I joined the Audubon Society, maybe I’d learn what sort of behavior these birds are displaying!
Poster at the Bird Festival shows how the San Diego Audubon Society is helping to restore the nesting habitat of the endangered California Least Tern in Mission Bay.
Poster at the Bird Festival shows how the San Diego Audubon Society is helping to restore the nesting habitat of the endangered California Least Tern in Mission Bay.
I believe this little guy on the bank of the San Diego River is a snowy egret.
I believe this little guy on the bank of the San Diego River is a snowy egret.
Members of the San Diego Audubon Society enjoy a perfect sunny day and identify lots of birds!
Members of the San Diego Audubon Society enjoy a perfect sunny day and identify lots of birds!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Great egrets and white pelicans on the river!

A group of great egrets in the San Diego River Estuary.
A group of great egrets in the San Diego River Estuary.

I was super lucky today! During my walk along the San Diego River Estuary, as I approached the West Mission Bay Drive Bridge from the east, I spotted two groups of beautiful white birds!

First I watched ten great egrets hunting small fish in the shallows near the shore. Next I watched a group of four white pelicans, just cruising around together on the water’s surface, looking for an easy meal.

I got some good photos!

I saw ten great egrets in a loose grouping in the river. They were hunting for fish. At times they would engage in brief, rather harmless scuffles.
I saw ten great egrets in a loose grouping in the river. They were hunting for fish. At times they would engage in brief, rather harmless scuffles.
Graceful white egrets in the shallow blue water.
Graceful white egrets stand in the shallow blue water.
Great egrets flap their wings among river ducks.
Great egrets flap their wings among river ducks.
A beautiful great egret stalks through the estuary near a mudflat.
A beautiful great egret stalks through the estuary near a mudflat.
Four white pelicans were cruising along the San Diego River looking for fish.
Four white pelicans were cruising along the San Diego River not far from the Pacific Ocean looking for fish.
This tight group of pelicans would thrust their heads simultaneously into the water.
This tight group of pelicans would thrust their heads simultaneously into the water.
White pelicans only appear in San Diego during their migration. Brown pelicans are the ordinary residents.
White pelicans only appear in San Diego during their migration. Brown pelicans are the ordinary residents.
Big pelican beaks dip into the river.
Big pelican beaks dip into the river.
Another very cool sight on the San Diego River!
Another very cool sight on the San Diego River!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Photos of winter along San Diego River.

Temperatures are dropping. It’s starting to feel a bit more like winter. Nights in downtown are chilly. Our first storm is coming.

This morning I left home while it was still dark and headed to a stretch of the San Diego River in Mission Valley. After the sun rose, I walked along the river from Qualcomm Way to Mission Center Road.

Ducks were feeding. The slanting morning light brightened yellow leaves. Farther to the east, a thin layer of fog hovered above smooth water. You can see it in the beautiful photograph that I saved for last.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Seagulls take flight in a feeding frenzy!

They were everywhere! Circling in every direction! Wheeling high overhead, skimming low near the water!

It seemed that hundreds of seagulls had gathered from every part of San Diego Bay. Patrolling the sky, they watched two sea lions feasting on discarded scraps from a nearby fishing vessel.

Everyone on Fish Harbor Pier stood transfixed by the whirlwind experience!

When a scrap of fish broke loose from the romping sea lions, a feeding frenzy on the water would suddenly begin!

I took these cool photos this afternoon, after taking the ferry back from Coronado. More of my adventure on Coronado is coming up…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A few morning birds around the city.

Someone waits on a sidewalk among pigeons early one morning in downtown San Diego.
Someone waits on a sidewalk among pigeons, early one morning in downtown San Diego.

In the city of San Diego, the early bird catches the worm. And an early morning walker takes many photos!

One cool aspect of living in downtown San Diego is the proximity of various rivers, estuaries, bays and, of course, the Pacific Ocean. One meets a host of different aquatic birds, including ducks, gulls, herons, cormorants, least terns, and other graceful inhabitants of air and water.

Here are a few fun photos that have gathered in my computer.

One of many pigeons in the city.
One of many pigeons in the city.
Small birds on sunlit grass one morning along Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.
Small birds on sunlit grass one morning along Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.
A black-crowned night heron perched atop the Pier Cafe.
A black-crowned night heron perched atop the Pier Cafe.
A seagull stands on Broadway Pier over San Diego Bay.
A seagull stands on Broadway Pier over San Diego Bay.
Strangely, a great blue heron stands in the southwest corner of Balboa Park one morning, watching people walk up a path.
Strangely, a great blue heron stands in the southwest corner of Balboa Park one morning, watching people walk up a path.
Ducks hang out by the pool in the San Diego Museum of Art's May S. Marcy Sculpture Court.
Ducks hang out by the pool in the San Diego Museum of Art’s May S. Marcy Sculpture Court.
A mother duck and two ducklings walk among leaves on the Our River mural in Mission Valley.
A mother duck and two ducklings walk among leaves on the Our River mural in Mission Valley.
Morning ducks near the Children's Park Fountain.
Morning ducks in Children’s Park downtown.
A morning walk past the Children's Park Fountain near many birds.
A morning walk past the Children’s Park Fountain near many birds.
Gulls enjoy a beautiful morning in the city.
Gulls enjoy another beautiful morning in the city.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!