Balboa Park’s magical winter garden.

If there’s one garden in Balboa Park that’s truly magical during the winter season, it’s the Japanese Friendship Garden. Beauty thrives all year long in this very special place.

I visited today. I believe right now it’s the only attraction open in Balboa Park. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced museums to close. Even the San Diego Zoo is now closed.

If you’re feeling a bit down this winter, take a slow stroll through the Japanese Friendship Garden.

You’ll feel alive again.

(Artists take note! The Japanese Friendship Garden is now looking for artists to be a part of their next project, which concerns healing through creativity during the coronavirus pandemic. It appears the deadline for submissions is today! Any and all artists are welcome! Click here to learn more!)

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!

Big surf at the La Jolla Tide Pools!

A sunny, very warm winter Sunday.

Big surf.

High tide.

A perfect combination for some dramatic photographs at the La Jolla Tide Pools!

Many others had gathered at viewpoints above the tidepools and at Cuvier Park to watch distant surfers catch some amazing waves, and to gasp as huge geysers of foaming water crashed against the offshore rocks and rugged sandstone cliffs!

La Jolla is indeed one of the most beautiful places anywhere.

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 mural to Spread Love in Valencia Park!

Check out this very colorful mural!

It’s painted on a wall near the corner of Harbison Avenue and Division Street in Valencia Park, a neighborhood in southeast San Diego.

A painted sign amid scenes of natural beauty urges the viewer to Spread Love! I see all sorts of wildlife depicted. I believe I recognize deer, a snake, a swan, a raccoon, a bear, an owl, a rabbit and even a monkey!

This happy mural was painted by a duo of artists who go by the name of Arte Atolondrada. Shirish Villaseñor and Isabel Garcia have previously volunteered painting with the Southeast Art Team. I’ve documented some of their work already–here and here and here!

If you like their style and need to have a mural painted, check out the Arte Atolondrada website here!

UPDATE!

I received a photo of the artists in front of a Welcome to/Bienvenidos a Valencia Park sign they painted off Logan Avenue!

And I learned that monkey is actually a Bigfoot sighting!

Photo courtesy Arte Atolondrada.

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!

Early winter and three Santee bridges.

This afternoon I wandered a little around Santee–mostly through Town Center Community Park.

During the walk I crossed three bridges. The first two you’ll see are the pedestrian bridges that pass over Woodglen Vista Creek, providing access to several sports fields. The third bridge I crossed is where Cuyamaca Street passes over the San Diego River.

By looking straight down from the bridges I could see stagnant pools of leaf-covered water. It’s still early winter. We’ve only experienced one storm so far–and that was weeks ago.

And, yes, leaves are falling. The most prominent river trees here seem to be willows, and they now appear to be mainly yellow, a burnt orange, or brown. I saw many cottonwoods turning yellow and gray, too.

The late bright sunshine passing through the foliage made for beautiful scenery, as you can see.

Here come two more photos from the first bridge…

After crossing the first pedestrian bridge, I read an informative sign showing local insects and birds, plus a map.

You can see where Woodglen Vista Creek joins with the San Diego River…

I headed west down the pathway near those four sports fields to the next pedestrian bridge…

As I came to the second bridge, my eyes were greeted by another sign!

This one explains a little about Woodglen Vista Creek. People who live nearby can be treated to sightings of all sorts of native wildlife, from coyotes to caterpillars, red-tailed hawks to California ground squirrels…

Then I found myself walking west along River Park Drive toward Cuyamaca Street, with lots of baseball fields nearby.

Many families and kids were out playing and practicing!

As I walked, the bright orange of a California poppy caught my attention!

When I reached Cuyamaca Street, I turned back east to see a line of trees following the nearby San Diego River.

Turning south, I crossed over the San Diego River and couldn’t help taking many more photographs…

Having crossed the San Diego River, I turned my gaze back northeast.

There, in the distance, stood prominent El Cajon Mountain!

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!

The many birds of Famosa Slough.

Yesterday I headed to Point Loma to walk by Famosa Slough, a protected wetland I have driven past on many occasions. This was my first time walking the trails of the slough south of West Point Loma Boulevard, and along the channel that runs north toward Interstate 8 and the San Diego River.

The more I walked along the water and natural vegetation of the Famosa Slough State Marine Conservation Area, the more birds I saw! There were bright white egrets, and gulls and cormorants and ducks and various shorebirds. As you’ll see in one photo, I also spotted an osprey!

My photographs begin beside the slough that motorists see from West Point Loma Boulevard, then I crossed the street and followed a dirt pathway north up the channel to the end of the path.

Famosa Slough is part of a statewide network of Marine Protected Areas. It includes open shallow water, riparian habitat, wetland upland transition habitats, and four treatment basins to protect water quality.

Here is where I crossed over West Point Loma Boulevard. First I checked out the following information signs near the path up the Famosa Channel.

Birds one can see at Famosa Slough include the great egret, American wigeon, black-necked stilt, snowy egret, little blue heron, California brown pelican, and blue-winged teal.
Famosa Slough is a 37-acre coastal wetland owned by the City of San Diego and cared for by the Friends of Famosa Slough. It is home to many rare and endangered local and migratory bird species.
Looking north up the channel through the remains of an old bridge.
A kiosk. I couldn’t read the weathered words, but enjoyed the image of two gulls.
Heading up the dirt path.
I could see many birds in the distance.
A snowy egret.
A nice bench for resting and birdwatching.
An osprey soars high overhead!

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!

December beauty from San Diego River bridge.

Along the San Diego River leaves are turning bright yellow, then brown. It’s December.

A couple of mornings last week I was waiting for a bus at the Fashion Valley Transit Center. To pass the time, I walked the very short distance to the new Town and Country river park.

I gazed down at still water from the pedestrian bridge. Through willow leaves I saw carpets of green duckweed. Ducks were floating quietly on silver and gold reflections.

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 morning walk on Balboa Park’s West Mesa.

This morning I enjoyed a stroll through Balboa Park’s West Mesa area, from Marston Point up to El Prado.

The sun had just risen and was sending horizontal rays through leaves and across green grass. Few were about. Just some walkers, joggers, squirrels, birds.

A walker and a squirrel ahead.
The squirrel got a good look at me before scampering up a nearby tree.
More walkers heading in the opposite direction.
I was tempted to sit for a moment in the early sunlight.
Sculpture of Kate Sessions near Balboa Park natural beauty. She was responsible for much of it.
Regarding a pine cone.
Who left these shoes here? Why?
Looking back as I walk on.
I became aware of squawking above me. A huge flock of parrots was passing overhead, high above the eucalyptus trees! They look like tiny dots in this photograph.
These two little birds–white-crowned sparrows, I believe–were content to sit on the low wall along El Prado.
People and pooches hang out at Nate’s Point Dog Park.
Looking south toward downtown San Diego from the west end of the Cabrillo Bridge.
Several twisty old Australian tea trees can be viewed along El Prado near the lawn bowling greens.
It’s still early morning. Electric scooters at the ready in Sefton Plaza, near the west entrance to Balboa Park!

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!

Sheltering Wings on the bay in Coronado Cays.

Sheltering Wings is an extraordinary bronze sculpture that I discovered during my Saturday walk through the Coronado Cays.

I had reached the east end of Grand Caribe Causeway and was gazing out toward San Diego Bay when I noticed what appeared to be two herons standing on rocks in Grand Caribe Shoreline Park.

Upon closer inspection, I found this beautiful public artwork, the handiwork of renowned sculptor Christopher Slatoff. Sheltering Wings was commissioned by the Port District of San Diego back in 1996.

You can read the bio of Christopher Slatoff at his website here.

I was interested to learn he created another sculpture, The Illustrated Man, in collaboration with one of my very favorite writers, Ray Bradbury!

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!

Above bright river trees at Rio Vista!

The platform at the Rio Vista trolley station in Mission Valley overlooks the San Diego River. But to see the water, you have to peer down through the branches and leaves of many trees.

I found myself waiting for a trolley, gazing into fluttering autumn leaves. It seemed that light reflected from the river splashed skyward, painting leaves bright green, yellow and gold.

It’s late November. The sycamores and cottonwoods will soon turn gray.

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!

Walking the Otay River Trail to Hollister Pond.

There’s a beautiful pond in San Diego’s South Bay that few seem to know about. It’s called Hollister Pond. It’s located near the west end of the large Otay Valley Regional Park.

I walked down a dirt trail to this hidden pond yesterday.

I started from Hollister Street, a short distance north of where it crosses the Otay River. The Otay River Trail heads west and soon reaches a small observation platform at the north edge of the pond.

I saw nobody else on the trail on a sunny Saturday morning. Profuse litter and graffiti seem to indicate the presence of homeless people and perhaps gang activity in the area. So if you choose to walk here, be advised. But the hike is very easy and you will be rewarded by seeing hundreds of ducks, herons and other birds out on the water.

According to an information sign at the observation platform, Hollister Pond, like many other ponds along the Otay River valley, is actually a water-filled abandoned quarry, where sand and gravel was commercially mined. Wildlife one can find on or around the pond include the Snowy Egret, Mallard Duck and Baja California Tree Frog.

After taking in the sparkling scenery, I continued west on the Otay River Trail, which passes through the darkness underneath Interstate 5, then passes a sign concerning preventable urban pollution. Unfortunately, hundreds of toxic spray paint cans are tossed along the river by those vandalizing the park with graffiti.

The trail then turns south and crosses over the Otay River bed. It’s a spot that likely becomes impassable after a good rain.

As I walked I took photographs of trees and native plants in the warm sunlight.

The trail eventually reaches a small parking lot behind a Home Depot at the north end of Saturn Boulevard in Imperial Beach. The area features a kiosk, picnic table, and several people who appeared to be using drugs, whom I avoided.

If you’d like to go on a small daytime adventure in the South Bay, consider a visit to Hollister Pond! Google Maps shows the “Walking Path” that leads to it.

But please be careful and safe.

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!