A short, easy walk along Paradise Creek Trail.

Paradise Trail marker PT10 rises near the National City Depot museum.
Paradise Trail marker PT10 rises near the National City Depot museum.

This morning I enjoyed an easy walk down a segment of the Paradise Creek Trail in National City.

I believe this urban trail is brand new. I find almost nothing about it on the internet. Several people I spoke to who work right next to the trail never heard of it. I had never seen the Paradise Trail markers during walks in past years.

The trail, from what I can gather, roughly follows Paradise Creek. My walk started just west of Interstate 5, on Bay Marina Drive, where I spotted markers for the Paradise Trail by the National City Depot museum and the National City Historic Railcar Plaza. I saw more markers as I walked south down Marina Way, just west of Paradise Marsh.

Paradise Creek eventually empties into the Sweetwater River. I believe the sidewalk trail ends at Pepper Park, but I spotted no markers after I passed the Pier 32 Marina and the nearby entrance to the Bayshore Bikeway. Perhaps I wasn’t looking carefully enough.

Want to see more? Years ago I visited an overlook of Paradise Marsh and photographed some informative signs. I also got a little closer to nature by walking down a short dirt trail. You can revisit that old blog post by clicking here.

In the past I also blogged about the National City Depot museum and its cool old streetcars here, the National City Historic Railcar Plaza here, and the Le Bateau Ivre sculpture here.

After I crossed Bay Marina Drive, I spotted an iconic El Camino Real bell near the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
After I crossed Bay Marina Drive, I spotted an iconic El Camino Real bell near the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
I'm now walking south down Marina Way, looking back at the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
I’m now walking south down Marina Way, looking back at the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
Old railroad tracks run along the west edge of Paradise Marsh.
Old railroad tracks run along the west edge of Paradise Marsh.
Sunlight illuminates some natural beauty beside the sidewalk trail.
Sunlight illuminates some natural beauty beside the sidewalk trail.
Looking back north along the Paradise Creek Trail, between Paradise Marsh and the National City Cement Terminal.
Looking back north along the Paradise Creek Trail, between Paradise Marsh and the National City Cement Terminal.
Here's another marker for the Paradise Trail, which I spotted as I headed down Marina Way.
Here’s another marker for the Paradise Trail, which I spotted as I headed down Marina Way.
A banner on a street lamp says that in National City, Together We Can!
A banner on a street lamp says that in National City, Together We Can!
As I turned onto West 32nd Street, a big group of bicyclists rode onto the Bayshore Bikeway.
As I turned onto West 32nd Street, a big group of bicyclists rode onto the Bayshore Bikeway.
Le Bateau Ivre, by artist Alber De Matteis, at the Pier 32 Marina in National City.
Le Bateau Ivre, by artist Alber De Matteis, at the Pier 32 Marina in National City.
I spotted this high osprey nesting platform as I walked down Goesno Place, approaching Pepper Park. The National City Marine Terminal has many such platforms.
I spotted this high osprey nesting platform as I walked down Goesno Place, approaching Pepper Park.

Immediately to the west, right on San Diego Bay, the enormous imported car parking lot at the National City Marine Terminal has many of these platforms. I learned during a Port of San Diego harbor tour that ospreys provide effective pigeon control!

A sign describe ospreys, which can often be seen around San Diego Bay and our coastal estuaries.
A sign describes ospreys, which can often be seen flying above San Diego Bay and our coastal estuaries.
Looks like an osprey has collected all sort of odd materials for its nest!
Looks like an osprey has collected all sort of odd materials for its huge nest!

And now I’ve turned around, and I’m heading back north along the trail on Marina Way, just west of the marsh… Guess what I saw?

An osprey flies high above Paradise Marsh on a beautiful late December day.
An osprey flies high above Paradise Marsh on a beautiful late December day.
Looking past prickly pear at Paradise Marsh from the Paradise Creek Trail in National City.
Looking past prickly pear at Paradise Marsh from the Paradise Creek Trail in National City.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

The natural beauty of Sweetwater Marsh.

Early this afternoon I enjoyed a short walk through Sweetwater Marsh. I’ve already blogged about a guided hike through the marsh here, where you’ll find a bit more detailed information.

My solo walk today was for quiet introspection. And the absorption of natural beauty.

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!

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 from 14 nature hikes around San Diego.

I didn’t walk yesterday. I gave my legs a rest, watched football, did some work on the computer. I really missed being outside.

While Cool San Diego Sights tends to concentrate on walks in the city, I’ve taken quite a few photographs while journeying through or near natural beauty. My hikes are generally easy. Their central purpose is stimulate the mind and senses.

Here are photos from 14 nature hikes all around San Diego. Click the following links to discover trails of wonder near and far. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to see what’s out there.

Every walk in one’s life can open unexpected vistas. Natural beauty and adventure await in every direction…

A hike from Kumeyaay Lake to the Old Mission Dam.

A hike down to the grinding rocks at Mission Trails.

Beautiful San Diego hiking trail welcomes wheelchairs.

Views of San Diego from a hike up Cowles Mountain.

Photos of a nature walk in Tijuana River Estuary.

Photos from a short hike through Sweetwater Marsh.

Nature and history on a walk in Los Peñasquitos Canyon.

A walk along rocks south of the OB Pier.

An amazing walk from Point La Jolla to Cuvier Park.

A short hike along Lake Poway Trail.

Beautiful photos of sunrise on Mount Laguna.

Flowers along a trail into Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon.

Hiking Torrey Pines State Reserve’s Beach Trail.

Torrey Pines State Reserve’s Guy Fleming Trail.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of fun stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Photos from a short hike through Sweetwater Marsh.

A group begins a nature hike down a trail at San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
A group begins an easy nature hike down a trail at San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

On Saturday I visited Gunpowder Point, just south of where the Sweetwater River empties into San Diego Bay. The marshy area is a wildlife refuge. It’s part of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge, to be exact, and home of the popular Living Coast Discovery Center.

After visiting the Living Coast Discovery Center, I enjoyed a guided nature hike down a short trail through the Sweetwater Marsh.

I was pleasantly surprised by the bare natural beauty. I didn’t see a whole lot of wildlife during this visit, but I know our region’s marshes and estuaries are often teeming with birds. San Diego is part of the Pacific Flyway, a major route of migratory birds that stretches from Alaska to South America.

A map inside the nearby Living Coast Discovery Center show the location of the Sweetwater River and the marsh where it enters San Diego Bay.
A map inside the nearby Living Coast Discovery Center shows the location of the Sweetwater River and the marsh where it enters San Diego Bay.
Hiking through Chula Vista's protected Sweetwater Marsh on a sunny day. It's mid-May and the once green and flowering plants have begun to dry out.
Hiking through Chula Vista’s protected Sweetwater Marsh on a sunny day. It’s mid-May and the once green and flowering plants have begun to dry out.  In this photo I see some prickly pear cactus.  During the hike I also recognized black sage and coastal sagebrush.
Our guide shows us saltbush. It is adapted to the type of salty soil in this marsh on San Diego Bay. Its leaves taste salty!
Our guide shows us saltbush. It is adapted to the type of salty soil in this coastal marsh. Its leaves taste salty!
Sign by the trail. This area is called Gunpowder Point. During World War I, Hercules Powder Co. extracted potash and acetone here from kelp harvested offshore in the Pacific Ocean. These were used to make cordite, or smokeless gunpowder for the British.
Sign by the trail. This area is called Gunpowder Point. During World War I, Hercules Powder Co. extracted potash and acetone here from kelp harvested offshore in the Pacific Ocean. These were used to make cordite, also called smokeless gunpowder, for the British.
A sail on the bay beyond a drying field of San Diego Sunflowers.
A sail on the bay beyond a drying field of San Diego Sunflowers.
The short, easy hike is ideal for families.
The short, easy hike is ideal for families.
Some sunflowers are still yellow.
Some sunflowers are still yellow.
The San Diego Sunflower, or Bahiopsis laciniata, is often found in a coastal sage scrub environment.
The San Diego Sunflower, or Bahiopsis laciniata, is often found in a coastal sage scrub environment.
The Silver Strand and Coronado Cays can be seen across San Diego Bay.
The Silver Strand and Coronado Cays can be seen across San Diego Bay.
We've arrived at the wildlife reserve's narrow sandy shore. Birds could be seen here and there in the distance.
We’ve arrived at the wildlife refuge’s narrow sandy shore. Birds could be seen here and there in the distance.
As the group continues on, I linger to take in the sunshine and wide views. I notice what appears to be remnants of the potash manufacturing operation from years ago.
As the group continues on, I linger to take in the sunshine and wide views. I notice what appears to be remnants of the potash manufacturing operation from years ago. Some benches allow rest and meditation.
Stones and debris on a beach in the wildlife refuge.
Stones and debris on a beach in the wildlife refuge.
Some mysterious (to me) concrete ruins on Gunpowder Point.
Some mysterious (to me) concrete ruins on Gunpowder Point.
I arrived at a bird observation lookout. All was very quiet. I saw a California least tern hunting small fish along the water's edge. Few people seem to come out here.
I arrived at a bird observation structure. All was very quiet. I saw a California least tern hunting small fish along the water’s edge. Few people seem to come out here.
Depending on the tide, the area near the shore can be open water or a mudflat that supports shorebirds searching for food.
Depending on the tide, the area near the shore can be open water or a mudflat that supports shorebirds searching for food.
Bird's beaks are specially designed for feeding. Some beaks filter plants from the water, some grab flies out of the air, and some probe the mud.
Bird’s beaks are specially designed for feeding. Some beaks filter plants from the water, some grab flies out of the air, and some probe the mud.
The tide must have been out, because this platform stood above a drying mudflat.
The tide must have been out, because this platform stood above a drying mudflat.  I believe that might be bright green eelgrass in the shallow pool of water.
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, or crystalline ice plant, is salt tolerant. My hike through the marsh produced some beautiful surprises.
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, or crystalline ice plant, is salt tolerant. My hike through the marsh produced some beautiful surprises.
Hiking through an expanse of green in San Diego's South Bay.
Hiking through an expanse of green in San Diego’s South Bay.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Kayakers, volunteers clean San Diego River Estuary!

Many ordinary people came out today to help clean up the San Diego River Estuary.
Many ordinary people came out today to help clean up the San Diego River Estuary.

Lots of good people volunteered to clean up the San Diego River Estuary today. Some took to kayaks, others walked along the shoreline, filling bags with nasty litter and debris. The river estuary, emptying into the Pacific Ocean between Mission Bay and Ocean Beach, is a very important wetland in this region, and millions of birds rely on it during their migrations. Small bits of trash ingested by birds and other wildlife can be fatal.

The estuary cleanup was organized by The San Diego River Park Foundation. Kayakers are permitted to enter the San Diego River Estuary only one time every year–during this special event. I walked along the river and saw what ordinary people can achieve when working unselfishly for the good of our world.

A sign directs people to the river cleanup.
A sign directs people to the river cleanup.
Beautiful white clouds are reflected in the calm water of the San Diego River.
Beautiful white clouds are reflected in the calm water of the San Diego River as it approaches the ocean.
Many birds make the river and its sandbanks their home, including ducks, herons and egrets.
Many birds make the river and its mud flats their home, including ducks, herons and egrets.
A photographer captures images of waterfowl swimming through grass down the river.
A photographer captures images of waterfowl swimming through grass down the river.
My camera isn't quite so fancy, but I did get an okay photo of this snowy egret!
My camera isn’t quite so fancy, but I did get an okay photo of this snowy egret!
As I walked west along the San Diego River, I noticed a number of kayaks out on the water.
As I walked west along the San Diego River, I noticed a number of kayaks out on the water.
A sign by the river describes the problem of stormwater pollution. During rains, a good deal of runoff enters the estuary, carrying all sorts of pollutants and trash. (I had to really alter this photo so we could make out what the old sign says.)
A sign by the river describes the problem of stormwater pollution. During rains, a good deal of runoff enters the estuary, carrying all sorts of pollutants and trash. (I had to really alter this photograph so we could make out what the old sign says. Click the image to enlarge it.)
A cleanup volunteer with a kayak is arriving!
A cleanup volunteer with a kayak is arriving!
Plastic bags in these kayaks have been filled with garbage found in the river.
Plastic bags in these kayaks have been filled with garbage found in the river. I learned much of it was snagged in the grass.
Dozens of caring people were on the rocky river shore, looking for trash.
Dozens of caring people were on the rocky river shore, looking for trash.
San Diego is fortunate to have many thoughtful people, concerned about our environment.
San Diego is fortunate to have many thoughtful people, concerned about our environment.
Volunteering is often a family affair, teaching the next generation about generosity and responsibility.
Volunteering is often a family affair, teaching the next generation about generosity and responsibility.
This guy is carrying his kayak back to his car.
This guy was carrying his kayak back to his car.
Another guy showed me the trash he collected. He said he found a variety of garbage. Some of it is windblown. Some comes from Interstate 5 and other bridges which cross the river nearby.
Another guy showed me the trash he collected. He said he found a variety of garbage. Some flows downstream. Some of it is windblown. Some comes from Interstate 5 and other bridges which cross the river nearby.
A tent where people can sign up to volunteer and learn more about The San Diego River Park Foundation.
A tent where people can sign up to volunteer and learn more about The San Diego River Park Foundation.
From the mountains to the ocean, we care for the San Diego River!
From the mountains to the ocean, we care for the San Diego River!
Sadly, the river isn't healthy. A grade is assigned each year based upon trash, water quality and the extent of invasive plants.
Sadly, the river isn’t healthy. A grade is assigned each year based upon trash, water quality and the extent of invasive plants.
Sign shows volunteering possibilities. (Click these sign images to read--they will enlarge.)
Sign shows volunteering possibilities. (Click these sign images to read–they will enlarge.)
Picking up garbage and readying kayaks underneath the West Mission Bay Bridge.
Picking up garbage and readying kayaks underneath the West Mission Bay Bridge.
Collected trash was placed in a nearby dumpster.
Collected trash was placed in a nearby dumpster.
Smiles in the San Diego sunlight. A perfect day to make our world cleaner, healthier and more beautiful.
Smiles in the San Diego sunlight. A perfect day to make our world cleaner, healthier and more beautiful.
Kayakers launch into the San Diego River during a special event to clean the estuary.
Kayakers launch into the San Diego River during a special event to clean the estuary.

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!

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