Mustard brightens a walk in Peñasquitos Canyon.

This morning I took a short hike through the west part of Peñasquitos Canyon. I started at the developed trailhead on Sorrento Valley Boulevard, and walked down the dirt trail to the historic El Cuervo adobe ruin, which I will blog about shortly.

It’s springtime, the air is warming, and the hills all about San Diego are bright yellow with blooming mustard. Many beautiful parts of Peñasquitos Canyon seem to have painted with an artist’s brush.

Even though most of the mustard one sees in San Diego isn’t native, the cheerful appearance of yellow hillsides reminds those who live in our city that summer is just around the bend.

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!

Colorful nature painted near Fiesta Island.

I discovered some colorful artwork last weekend during my walk around Mission Bay!

As I headed north along East Mission Bay Drive just past the entrance to Fiesta Island, approaching Tecolote Creek, I saw that images from nature had been painted on the low barrier that separates the small parking lot from the walking path. I spotted birds and fish and whales and flowers and all sorts of marine wildlife and native critters.

It appeared all of nature had gathered at my feet!

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!

Natural habitat for birds, wildlife near SeaWorld.

A few people walk down a dirt path near SeaWorld. Native coastal plants provide habitat for migratory birds and local wildlife.
A few people walk down a dirt path next to SeaWorld. Coastal plants provide habitat for birds and wildlife.

There’s a quiet, seldom visited area adjacent to SeaWorld that provides valuable habitat for both local and migratory birds. You can find this narrow strip of land directly northeast of SeaWorld, on the edge of Mission Bay, just west of South Shores Park.

Walk down the dirt path by the water and you’ll discover native plants, beautiful views, a few park benches, and a sense of wonder. This bit of land was set aside as natural coastal habitat with the help of the Audubon Society, SeaWorld San Diego, and a several other organizations who care about protecting the environment.

I walked down the path during the weekend and read a number of interesting signs. Few other people were around. I shared the warm sunshine with birds that took flight over land and water.

Click the photos of signs if you’d like to read them.

One sign displays plants that provide food and shelter for the birds and insects of Mission Bay.
One sign displays plants that provide food and shelter for the birds and insects of Mission Bay.
Heading west down the path, along the south edge of Mission Bay.
Heading west down the rough path, along the south shore of Mission Bay.
Looking north across the water at boats, kayaks and Fiesta Island.
Looking north across the water at boats, kayaks and Fiesta Island.
Audubon's Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program identifies and conserves a network of sites essential for wild bird populations. Mission Bay is one of seven IBAs in San Diego County.
Audubon’s Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program identifies and conserves a network of sites essential for wild bird populations. Mission Bay is one of seven IBAs in San Diego County.
A patch of what I believe is Ceanothus, or California Lilac. A bird perched on some dry sunflowers is a gray blur in this photograph.
A patch of what I believe is Ceanothus, or California Lilac. A bird perched on some dry yellow flowers is a blur in this photograph.
Mission Bay sustains thousands of birds, as many species stop over in San Diego during their migration along the Pacific flyway.
Mission Bay sustains thousands of birds, as many species stop over in San Diego during their migration along the Pacific flyway.
Looks like a heron flying overhead, scanning the water.
Looks like a heron flying overhead, scanning the water.
Sign identifies birds that might be seen here. San Diego is home to nearly 500 bird species.
Sign identifies birds that might be seen here. San Diego is home to nearly 500 bird species.
Some shelter by the water for birds and other small animals.
Some shelter by the water for birds and other small animals.
More natural habitat that contains much hidden life.
More natural habitat that contains much hidden life.
Another sign with more California natives, including plants and birds.
Another sign with more California natives, including plants and birds.
Someone walks on a path that winds near the entrance to this little visited park-like space.
Someone walks on a path that winds near the entrance to this small park-like space.

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Del Mar’s natural beauty, beach from Coaster!

I was careful to sit on the west side of the Coaster yesterday for my trip from San Diego to Encinitas. The very best views can be enjoyed from that side when riding the train through Del Mar.

I thought it would be fun to take photographs of the natural beauty. As we quickly moved through La Jolla out over Los Peñasquitos Lagoon I had my camera ready.

I snapped photographs nonstop as we flew over the marshy lagoon and past Torrey Pines State Beach, then up along the bluff’s edge toward Seagrove Park.

We were moving so fast that the nearby vegetation was a blur. But my small camera was able to capture the distant sandstone cliffs of Torrey Pines State Reserve, the broad Pacific Ocean’s beautiful white surf, people down below on the beach, and even a line of pelicans flying through the blue sky.

I altered these photos a bit, sharpening them and increasing contrast.

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!

Earth Day at Old Town’s Native Plant Garden.

Many volunteers improve the Native Plant Garden near the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego.
Many volunteers improve the Native Plant Garden near the McCoy House Museum in Old Town San Diego.

I was pleased to stumble upon an Earth Day event today as I walked into Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. A variety of organizations had gathered along the path leading to the McCoy House Museum, and many volunteers were working in the nearby Native Plant Garden.

What did I see?

Sign welcomes visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park's weekend Earth Day Open House!
Sign welcomes visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s cool Earth Day Open House!
Volunteers work with a State Park Ranger in Old Town's native garden for Earth Day. The Old Town Transit Center is visible in the background.
Volunteers work with a State Park Ranger in Old Town’s native garden for Earth Day. The Old Town Transit Center is visible in the background.
A row of tents near the McCoy House Museum welcomes curious visitors during the Earth Day Open House event.
A row of tents near the McCoy House Museum welcomes curious visitors during the Earth Day Open House event.
These guys represent Green Love, an environmental organization of the Associated Students at San Diego State University.
These guys represent Green Love, an environmental organization of the Associated Students at San Diego State University.
Green Love's endeavors include campus outreach, environmental justice, sustainable transportation, and even a community garden.
Green Love’s endeavors include campus outreach, environmental justice, sustainable transportation, and even a community garden.
Friendly ladies of the Old Town Basketry Guild demonstrate their craft.
Friendly ladies of the Old Town Basketry Guild demonstrate their ancient craft.
Sheet details how to become a member of the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Basketry Guild.
Sheet details how to become a member of the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Basketry Guild.
Participants in Old Town's Earth Day hang out by the McCoy House, which today serves as a museum of San Diego's early history.
Participants in Old Town’s Earth Day hang out by the McCoy House, which today serves as a museum of San Diego’s early history.
At this table, the California State Parks Foundation celebrates Earth Day!
At this table, the California State Parks Foundation celebrates Earth Day!
This sheet shows upcoming volunteer opportunities in California State Parks!
This sheet shows upcoming volunteer opportunities in several regional California State Parks!
An expert showed me examples of native San Diego flowers, like the California golden poppy, our state's official flower.
A knowledgeable expert showed me examples of native San Diego flowers, including the richly golden California poppy, our state’s official flower.
Flyer provides info concerning the California Native Plant Society's San Diego Garden Tour 2019.
Flyer provides info concerning the California Native Plant Society’s San Diego Garden Tour 2019.
I declined to plant a seed today, but I did get some smiles.
I declined to plant a seed today, but I did get some smiles.
Guys with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife answered questions at their table. I believe that's a coyote.
Guys with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife answered questions at their table. I believe that’s a coyote.
Hard-working volunteers could be seen all around the Native Plant Garden.
Hard-working volunteers could be seen all around the Native Plant Garden.
These generous Target employee volunteers were repairing the fence around the McCoy House. Thank you!
These generous Target employee volunteers were repairing the fence around the McCoy House. Thank you!
Caring for our planet during a cool Earth Day event.
Caring for our planet during a cool Earth Day event.

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!

Natural beauty on a Balboa Park walk.

Starting west across Cabrillo Bridge, looking south toward downtown San Diego.
Starting across Cabrillo Bridge, looking south toward downtown San Diego.

On Sunday I walked slowly through Balboa Park. I began at the Cabrillo Bridge and headed east along El Prado. My wandering feet finally took me down into Florida Canyon.

I discovered many scenes of natural beauty: green canyons, bright trees, yellow hillsides, spring flowers, newly opened roses and even cacti.

Come along…

Near the center of Cabrillo Bridge. Trees in sunlight on the median of State Route 163, also known as Cabrillo Freeway.
Near the center of the bridge. Sunlit trees line the median of scenic State Route 163, also known as the Cabrillo Freeway.
Looking back west along Cabrillo Bridge toward the West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Looking back along historic Cabrillo Bridge toward the West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Near the east end of Cabrillo Bridge, looking down at the Rube Powell Archery Range.
Near the east end of the bridge, gazing down at the Rube Powell Archery Range.
Passing through the California Quadrangle. Palm trees cast shadows on the California Tower.
Passing through the California Quadrangle. Palm trees cast shadows on the California Tower.
Gazing back toward the California Tower from the Alcazar Garden.
Turning back to photograph the California Tower from the Alcazar Garden.
Twisty trunks and shadows near the Timken Museum of Art.
Twisty trunks and shadows near the Timken Museum of Art.
Staghorn ferns on one wall of the Botanical Building.
Staghorn ferns on one wall of Balboa Park’s Botanical Building.
Orchids inside the Botanical Building.
Orchids inside the Botanical Building.
More beauty inside the wonderful Botanical Building.
More natural beauty inside the Botanical Building.
A small yellow flower greets me inside the Casa del Prado. It's the annual spring sale by the Southern California Plumeria Society.
A small yellow flower greets me inside the Casa del Prado. I stumbled upon a sale by the Southern California Plumeria Society.
Perfect beauty somewhere along El Prado.
A bloom along El Prado near the Casa de Balboa.
Walking along El Prado, just above the Zoro Garden.
Walking along El Prado, just above the Zoro Garden.
Like orange flames on El Prado.
Like orange flames.
Looking back west as I approach the Plaza de Balboa at the east end of El Prado.
Looking backward as I finally approach the east end of El Prado.
About to cross over Park Boulevard on the pedestrian bridge, gazing back toward the Fleet Science Center.
About to cross over Park Boulevard on the pedestrian bridge, pausing for a moment to look south toward the Fleet Science Center.
Walking among early spring blooms in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.
Strolling among early spring blooms in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.
In the rose garden, aiming my camera toward the fountain.
In the rose garden, aiming my camera toward the fountain.
Another rose.
Another rose.
Another miracle.
Another.
Gazing east across Florida Canyon. A rainy winter has brought forth lush spring greenery.
Gazing east across Florida Canyon. A rainy winter has brought forth lush spring greenery.
I now move north, into the Desert Garden.
Now I am moving north, into the Desert Garden.
Strange cactus beauty.
Strange cactus beauty.
More surprising beauty.
More beauty.
About to head down a winding path into Florida Canyon.
About to head down a winding path into Florida Canyon.
A hillside bright with cacti and native sunflowers.
A hillside bright with cacti and spring flowers.
More abundant natural beauty.
Nature has painted the hillside.
Slanting cacti.
Slanting cacti.
The beauty of Balboa Park never ends.
The natural beauty in Balboa Park never ends.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

Spring flowers near Fashion Valley!

It feels like spring!

Yellow mustard is blooming across San Diego’s hillsides, and other early spring flowers are thriving, too! The rainy winter has produced a cheerful show of bright color all around the city.

I walked near the San Diego River by Fashion Valley this morning and found many patches of native sunflowers.

UPDATE!

I think I goofed! I believe most of these flowers are actually garland chrysanthemums, which aren’t native to our region. But they do flourish in San Diego now.

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!