Pelicans on a bench at Del Mar lifeguard station.

I love this public art at the 17th Street Lifeguard Tower in Del Mar!

A tile mural depicting pelicans in flight decorates a concrete bench in front of the lifeguard station. The artwork was created by Betsy Schulz, whose fantastic, very beautiful mosaics can be seen all over San Diego County. I’ve photographed many.

Poetic words beneath the mural provide a wish: May your joys be as deep as the ocean, your sorrows as light as its foam. -Anonymous

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Sighting birds on Tijuana Slough’s McCoy Trail.

The short, easy McCoy Trail at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge is a fine place to sight birds. I found this out recently during my own quiet walk down the nature trail.

The McCoy Trail starts south of the Visitor Center on the north side of the Tijuana Slough, in Imperial Beach. I walked along the trail once before, back when I blogged about a guided nature walk that I enjoyed. But you don’t need a guide to appreciate the beauty of this protected wetland.

Spotting birds requires patience and searching eyes. There’s a lot of helicopter activity in the area from Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach, which might spook some birds.

If birds aren’t inside the lush green vegetation feeding or nesting, they’re out on the open water channels, usually as some distance from the trail. I found it best to sit on one of the McCoy Trail’s benches, relax, and let time and serendipity reveal the hidden life.

During this walk I saw several Snowy Egrets, a cormorant at a distance, and quick little birds flying shrub to shrub that I couldn’t identify. I also saw a brown pelican and great blue heron flying overhead.

Near the trail you’ll also observe prickly pear and cholla cacti, which might seem odd. The separation between wetland and very dry habitat can be sudden in our arid coastal region. It’s one reason for San Diego’s amazing biodiversity.

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Oil painted beauty and a La Jolla walk.

Nature’s beauty between La Jolla Cove and Children’s Pool is stunning. Even on a gray Autumn day.

I walked along the ocean in La Jolla this morning and took photographs of rugged rocks, crashing waves, sea birds, and people quietly gazing toward the horizon.

Once in a great while I will experiment with my images and apply “artistic” filters using my graphics editor. I thought I’d try using the GIMP oilify filter for this batch of photographs.

Here they are…

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

National Wildlife Refuge Week in San Diego!

A very special event was held today at the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. National Wildlife Refuge Week was celebrated! And the public was freely invited!

I arrived around noontime and started down the refuge’s nature paths toward San Diego Bay.

At one station near a brackish wetland pond, a friendly ranger was inviting kids (and curious adults) to play Bird Bingo! How many wild birds could visitors spot? I saw a beautiful Snowy Egret.

At a second station, rangers were encouraging people to dip a net into the nearby water. Netted plankton was then observed under magnification!

The event was a fun opportunity to learn about the value of wildlife refuges, where animal and plant life–some of which is endangered–can thrive undisturbed. And where we humans can reconnect with nature, absorbing all that goodness that awaits us in wild places.

San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge consists of the Sweetwater Marsh and South San Diego Bay Units, preserving coastal salt marsh and intertidal mudflat habitat.

What’s in here?

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Living Coast Discovery Center, SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife are working together on a captive propagation program to rear the endangered light-footed Ridgway’s rail…

I checked out the Bird Bingo first.

A Snowy Egret hunts for food in the pond.

Now heading through the wildlife refuge toward the Plankton Netting activity. I see downtown San Diego in the distance.

A curious kid was netting microscopic specimens.

At the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge today, there was much to experience and learn!

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!

Hidden birdhouses, art planters in Balboa Park!

Very few visitors to Balboa Park will see these fun birdhouses and artistically painted planter boxes. They’re a bit hidden behind the Centro Cultural de la Raza’s home, their repurposed water tank off Park Boulevard.

I believe the birdhouses were created in 2021 and are designed for owls. The way they’re painted certainly suggests that!

It appears at least some of the planter boxes were painted this year.

I took this series of photographs Sunday as I walked randomly around waiting for a San Diego Fringe Festival performance to begin. I thought I’d share them.

Enjoy!

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!

Become a citizen scientist in San Diego!

Would you like to make contributions to science? But you’re not a trained scientist?

You can easily become a citizen scientist!

Opportunities are available for ordinary people who’d like to use their passion or particular talents to help broaden our understanding of the natural world.

I discovered several great ideas while visiting the San Diego Natural History Museum recently. Signs spotted around the exhibition Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science provide details.

Most of the following ideas apply not just to San Diego residents, but to anyone anywhere. Here they are:

Become a member of iNaturalist and post photographs you’ve taken of living things in nature. Scientists will identify what you recorded. Nature lovers around the world can discuss your observations. You’ll contribute to our shared understanding of biodiversity. To learn more click here.

Participate in the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count or Great Backyard Bird Count. Critically important data collected during these events is used by scientists to study bird populations across the country. To learn more click here.

Participate in the Celebrate Urban Birds project. Spend ten minutes helping scientists understand how common birds are doing in urban settings. More than a quarter of a million ordinary people have already made observations! To learn more click here. (Balboa Park’s own WorldBeat Center has participated in this project. Read about that here!)

Become a summer camper at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. Over the years, people walking around Balboa Park have observed green anole lizards, which aren’t native to San Diego. It was determined by the museum’s young summer campers that the green anoles were the descendants of escapees. These lizards had once been used as food for other animals at the San Diego Zoo! To learn more about attending summer camp at theNAT, click here. (Scholarships are available!)

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!

Kumeyaay words for native animals, plants.

The rich culture of our region’s Native American Kumeyaay is honored at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Near the corner of Juan Street and Taylor Street, the beautiful Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok Land of the First People outdoor interpretive area teaches interested visitors a little of the Kumeyaay language. Kumeyaay words for many native animals and plants can be read along the edge of walkways.

During my last visit, I photographed many of the engraved artworks representing wild mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, cacti and trees, and the corresponding Kumeyaay and Spanish words.

If you want to see more of the surrounding area, the Land of the First People opened last year, and soon thereafter I took these photographs.

Incidentally, today there will be a special event held in this corner of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Earth Day will be celebrated! So if you read this in time, and you’re in the area, you might want to come on by!

Milyaapan. Mexican free-tailed bat.
Sha-ii. Turkey vulture.
Meshalyaap. Monarch butterfly.
‘Aahmaa. California quail.
‘Ensnyaaw. Coast live oak.
‘Aashaa kwilaaw. Northern mockingbird.
Hatepull. Nuttall’s woodpecker.
Kekhuu. Northern flicker.
Hallyewii. Alligator lizard.
Iihay halakwal. Salamander.
‘Emallk. Big-eared woodrat.
Perhaaw. Gray fox.
Kwak. Mule deer.
Nyemtaay. Mountain lion.
E’mull. Shaw’s agave.
Ehmaall. Ground squirrel.
‘Ewii. Southern Pacific rattlesnake.
Waipuk. California kingsnake.
Kusii. Jimsonweed.
Hattepaa. Coyote.
Hampachoka Huumpaashuuk. Anna’s hummingbird.
‘Ehpaa. Coast prickly pear.
Ashaa hahpaa. Cactus wren.
Ku’uun. Red-tailed hawk.
Hachehwach. Hooded oriole.
Kupally. Blue elderberry.
Nyemii. Bobcat.
Llyexwiiw. Striped skunk.
Para ak hepeshu. Great blue heron.
Hantak. Treefrog.
Ashaa milshlap. Mallard.

UPDATE!

I took photographs of more words during a later visit…

Hantak sa-ai. California toad.
‘Ehnaally. Western pond turtle.
Mashhaatiit. Dragonfly.
E’pilly. Southern cattail.
Meshalyaap heyull. Western tiger swallowtail.
Para ak nemeshap. Great egret.
Chi ariar tenurr estik. California killifish.
‘U’uu. Great horned owl.
Nemas. Raccoon.
Miskenan. Stink beetle.
Kellyemuy. Bumble bee.
Hiiwaat. Deergrass.
‘Eshpaa ewall nemeshap. Bald eagle.
Kilyaahwii. Mourning dove.
Tellypuu. Greater roadrunner.
Meniish. Scorpion.
‘Aanall. Honey mesquite.
‘Eshpaa. Golden eagle.
Kunyaaw. Black-tailed jackrabbit.
Menniih. Tarantula.
Muu. Bighorn sheep.

The following are animals that are extinct or no longer found in the area around San Diego…

Sha-ii guatay. California condor.
Nyemii guatay yow kwakulsh. Sabertoothed cat.
Nemuuly. Grizzly bear.
Kwa nyilly. Pronghorn.

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 beauty at the Lindo Lake Boathouse.

Lindo Lake in Lakeside is a very beautiful place.

Near the center of Lindo Lake stands the Boathouse, originally built in 1887.

I walked around the charming boathouse last weekend. It was like strolling through a gentle, pastoral painting.

The canvas was painted with water, trees, white roses, mountains, blue sky and many birds, including Canada and domestic geese, egrets, and mallard ducks.

Enjoy these photographs of tranquil beauty on a winter’s Sunday.

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!

Sculptures beautify Paradise Creek Gathering Place.

On the south side of National City’s Kimball Park, near 16th Street, a footbridge crosses Paradise Creek. Look up near the bridge and you’ll spy beautiful small sculptures mounted atop high posts.

These shining metal sculptures at the Paradise Creek Gathering Place were created by San Diego artist Vicki Leon, in collaboration with high school students at A Reason To Survive (ARTS), an organization in National City that uplifts local youth using the power of creativity.

The Paradise Creek Gathering Place sculptures together are titled Migratory Flight. They resemble silvery birds taking wing. Solar-powered lights illuminate bits of colored glass in clear tubes beneath each sculpture.

The environmental sculptures, symbolizing wildlife that depends on Paradise Creek, were installed in 2018. Many in the community came out to help build and beautify the Paradise Creek Gathering Place, including the Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center’s Kitchenistas and students from San Diego City College and San Diego State University. You can read more about the project here and here.

Lead artist Vicki Leon has also helped to beautify her own City Heights Azalea Park neighborhood. You can see photos of more amazing public artwork that I took during a special visit to Azalea Park here and here and here.

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!

A new Empowering Hope mural in East Village!

A huge, absolutely amazing mural in downtown San Diego’s East Village has been painted right next to the Quartyard. The mural is in support of wildlife conservation efforts, and is titled Empowering Hope. The artists are Carly Ealey and Christopher Konecki.

According to the promoted Key Conservation website, one can download their Key App to hook up with and support various global conservation organizations, who are working to save animals from extinction. It appears the project is presently a work in progress and more funding is needed.

If you’d like to check it all out, you can visit the Key Conservation website here.

UPDATE!

I took a photo when the amazing mural was finished…

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!