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.

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 seals, scenery at Children’s Pool.

Harbor seals lie on sunny Children's Pool Beach in La Jolla. The historic Children's Pool is closed to the public during winter and early spring pupping season.
Harbor seals lie in the sun on Children’s Pool Beach. The Children’s Pool is closed to the public during pupping season.

Every so often I have to walk by the water in La Jolla. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Today I headed to The Children’s Pool to enjoy harbor seals, pelicans in flight, the mighty ocean, the rocky shoreline and blue sky. Pupping season has just begun (December 15 through May 15) and so Children’s Pool Beach is closed to the public.

The Children’s Pool was the gift of local philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1931. A concrete seawall was built to make the beach safe for public swimming.

Harbor seals began to use the beach in the 1990’s and over time sand has filled the swimming area. There has been a long running legal battle over the use of the beach.

The Children’s Pool also happens to be a popular destination of scuba divers because of nearby reefs.

Today people flock from far and wide to watch the seals from a safe distance.

Sitting on a bench overlooking The Children's Pool, observing the resident colony of harbor seals.
Sitting on a bench overlooking The Children’s Pool, observing the resident colony of harbor seals.
People look toward Children's Pool from the shady green gazebo.
People look toward Children’s Pool from the shady green gazebo.
People along the wall near the lifeguard station. Many tourists now travel to La Jolla just to see the local colony of harbor seals.
People along the wall near the lifeguard station. Many tourists now travel to La Jolla just to see the local colony of harbor seals.
The Children's Pool breakwater was built in 1931. It was a gift to La Jolla by journalist and philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps.
The Children’s Pool breakwater was built in 1931. It was a gift to La Jolla by journalist and philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps.
A colony of harbor seals suns on the sand near the seawall, which is off limits during pupping season.
A colony of harbor seals suns on the sand near the seawall, which like the beach is off limits during pupping season.
The seals move about from time to time. They turn on their sides, raise their heads and hind flippers, and inch forward on their stomachs.
The seals move about from time to time. They turn on their sides, raise their heads and hind flippers, and inch forward on their stomachs.
A lone seal heads to the water's edge by wriggling awkwardly on its belly.
A lone harbor seal heads across the sand to the water’s edge by wriggling awkwardly on its belly.
It swims out to a nearby rock.
It swims out toward a nearby rock.
With difficulty, the harbor seal inches up onto the rock that lies just off the beach. Sea lions are much better climbers.
With difficulty, a harbor seal inches up onto the large rock that lies just off the beach. (Sea lions, which sometimes share the beach, are much better climbers.)
The perfect place for a peaceful nap!
The perfect place for a peaceful nap!
Looking west from the closed Children's Pool toward the broad Pacific Ocean and gently breaking waves.
Looking west from the closed Children’s Pool toward the broad Pacific Ocean and gently breaking waves.
Pelicans fly north. Scripps Pier and the scenic cliffs just south of Torrey Pines lie in the distance.
Pelicans fly north. Scripps Pier and the scenic cliffs just south of Torrey Pines lie in the distance.
The pelicans fly toward Seal Rock and Shell Beach and the rocky shoreline west of La Jolla Cove.
The pelicans fly toward Seal Rock and Shell Beach, and distant jutting rocks west of La Jolla Cove.
Looking west. Perhaps you can see why I love this place.
Looking west. Perhaps you can see why I love this place.
Looking south toward Wipeout Beach.
Looking south toward Wipeout Beach.
Another photo of the colony of harbor seals at The Children's Pool in La Jolla.
Another photo of the colony of harbor seals at The Children’s Pool in La Jolla.
A young harbor seal enjoys a day on the beach.
A young harbor seal enjoys a fine day on the beach.

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.

Student art at Mission Trails: Wilderness Views.

Moth Study 2018, Evelyn DuVall, watercolor and ink. IDEA Center High School.
Moth Study 2018, Evelyn DuVall, watercolor and ink. IDEA Center High School.

Before I began my walk yesterday at Mission Trails Regional Park, I ventured into the Visitor Center and was pleased to see walls full of art created by students from the Grossmont Union High School District.

Many of the Wilderness Views are really good. Creativity thrives in San Diego’s East County! I took quick photos of some pieces that I happened to like.

Most of the artwork is for sale. If you’d like to support local high school students and their artistic endeavors, head over to the Mission Trails Visitor Center before the exhibition ends on January 4, 2019.

Untitled, Ashton McDowell, acrylic paint and spray paint. West Hills High School.
Untitled, Ashton McDowell, acrylic paint and spray paint. West Hills High School.
Caught, Rachel Silvis, digital photography collage. Grossmont High School.
Caught, Rachel Silvis, digital photography collage. Grossmont High School.
Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D.), Siena Quinn, acrylic. Grossmont High School.
Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D.), Siena Quinn, acrylic. Grossmont High School.
Reflective Sunset, Cherish Clarkson, digital photography. Grossmont High School.
Reflective Sunset, Cherish Clarkson, digital photography. Grossmont High School.
The Tears of Nature, Travis McCrae, watercolor. Grossmont High School.
The Tears of Nature, Travis McCrae, watercolor. Grossmont High School.
Quoth the Raven, Amalia Browning, suminagashi ink, acrylic paint. Monte Vista High School.
Quoth the Raven, Amalia Browning, suminagashi ink, acrylic paint. Monte Vista High School.
Malcolm, Siena Quinn, colored pencil. Grossmont High School.
Malcolm, Siena Quinn, colored pencil. Grossmont High School.
El Tigre, Ryan Zubik, watercolor. Grossmont High School.
El Tigre, Ryan Zubik, watercolor. Grossmont High School.
Dangerous Spots, Maryam Ablahad, scratchboard. Valhalla High School.
Dangerous Spots, Maryam Ablahad, scratchboard. Valhalla High School.
Bambino, Joshua Meriwether, scratchboard. IDEA Center High School.
Bambino, Joshua Meriwether, scratchboard. IDEA Center High School.
In the Leopard's Gaze, Armida Angulo, colored pencil. Grossmont High School.
In the Leopard’s Gaze, Armida Angulo, colored pencil. Grossmont High School.
Untitled, Kirsten Fraga, charcoal and colored pencil. West Hills High School.
Untitled, Kirsten Fraga, charcoal and colored pencil. West Hills High School.
Dripping Lily, Evelyn DuVall, watercolor and ink. IDEA Center High School.
Dripping Lily, Evelyn DuVall, watercolor and ink. IDEA Center High School.
Moonrise, Brooke Moran, linoleum print. Steele Canyon High School.
Moonrise, Brooke Moran, linoleum print. Steele Canyon High School.
Smooth Waves, Britney Guerrero, acrylic. Steele Canyon High School.
Smooth Waves, Britney Guerrero, acrylic. Steele Canyon High School.
Lobos, Natalie Burke, acrylic. Steele Canyon High School.
Lobos, Natalie Burke, acrylic. Steele Canyon High School.
Ocean Eyes, Rand Akim, tempera. Valhalla High School.
Ocean Eyes, Rand Akim, tempera. Valhalla High School.
It's Pretty Wild, Savy, acrylic. Valhalla High School.
It’s Pretty Wild, Savy, acrylic. Valhalla High School.
Landscapes, Andy Orosco, watercolor. Steele Canyon High School.
Landscapes, Andy Orosco, watercolor. Steele Canyon High School.

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 visit to the Cabrillo National Monument tidepools.

Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument investigate the tidepools.
Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument investigate the tidepools.

Cabrillo National Monument at the end of San Diego’s Point Loma peninsula is a place of many wonders.

Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of San Diego, its big, beautiful bay, Coronado’s North Island and the Pacific Ocean. They can enter the Old Point Loma Lighthouse which was built in 1855 to guide ships into San Diego’s harbor. They can see the iconic statue dedicated to Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the explorer who discovered San Diego Bay in 1542 on behalf of Spain. They can watch the migration of gray whales, move through native flora on the Bayside Trail, and check out bunkers that were erected as a coastal defense during World War II.

And by heading a little off the beaten track, visitors can also explore amazing tidepools!

Where are they?

Shortly after passing the park’s Entrance Station, turn right on Cabrillo Road and drive down the hill to the Point Loma Tide Pools.

Make sure to arrive around the time of low tide. Wear sturdy shoes with good traction. Then carefully walk from the parking lot down a short path to the sandstone cliffs and slippery intertidal zone rocks. That’s where you’ll find abundant sea life.

It’s easy to spot all sorts of diverse marine animals, invertebrates and plants at the ocean’s edge. One can find surf grass, sea lettuce, dead man’s fingers, sea hares, lined shore crabs, bat stars, aggregating anemones, sea urchins, limpets, chitons, periwinkle snails, California mussels, lobsters and even small octopuses!

I took some photographs about two hours before low tide!

As low tide nears, people look about the rocks and shallow water for signs of sea life.
As low tide nears, people look about the rocks and shallow water for signs of sea life.
Amazing beauty awaits curious eyes.
Amazing beauty awaits curious eyes.
Starting down the path from a parking lot to the Point Loma Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument.
Starting down the path from a parking lot to the Point Loma Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument.
A sign by the path. Exploring the rocky intertidal zones is like peering through a window into the ocean's ecosystem. During low tide, marine animals in shallow pools can be closely observed.
A sign by the path. Exploring the rocky intertidal zones is like peering through a window into the ocean’s ecosystem. During low tide, marine animals in shallow pools can be closely observed.
The closer you look, the more you see. Park rangers periodically identify and count the organisms to monitor the health of each species.
The closer you look, the more you see. Park rangers periodically identify and count the organisms to monitor the health of each species.
As we head down the dirt path, the tide pool overlook comes into view.
As we head down the dirt path, the tide pool overlook comes into view.
The tide pool area is active with curious visitors. Only two hours until low tide this afternoon.
The tide pool area is active with curious visitors. Only two hours until low tide this afternoon.
A funny crab asks visitors to please leave all shells in the tidepools.
A funny crab asks visitors to please leave all shells in the tidepools.
Approaching a pair of information signs atop the overlook. The blue Pacific Ocean waves smoothly curl below.
Approaching a pair of information signs atop the overlook. Pacific Ocean waves curl smoothly below.
The old signs are very weathered, but let's take a look anyway.
These old signs are very faded, but let’s take a look anyway.
You are now standing in the upper limits of the splash zone. The waterline does not come this high, but splash and spray sometimes do. Just below is the high-tide zone.
You are now standing in the upper limits of the splash zone. The waterline does not come this high, but splash and spray sometimes do. Just below is the high-tide zone.
Some organisms pictured are limpets, chitons, sand castle worms, goose-necked barnacles and abalone.
Some organisms pictured are limpets, chitons, sand castle worms, goose-necked barnacles and abalone.
Plant life includes giant kelp, surf grass, coraline algae, rock weed, feather boa kelp and dead man's finger.
Plant life includes giant kelp, surf grass, coraline algae, rock weed, feather boa kelp and dead man’s finger.
Families enjoy the warm sunshine and smell of the ocean. This photo looks north along the sandstone cliffs of Point Loma.
Families enjoy the warm sunshine and smell of the ocean. This photo looks north along the sandstone cliffs of Point Loma.
A few rocks stick out of the surf. Fishing boats lie in the water beyond.
A few rocks stick out of the surf. Fishing boats lie in the water beyond.
A gull stands upon one of the larger rocks.
A gull stands upon one of the larger rocks.
A lone surfer has caught a good wave!
A lone surfer has caught a good wave!
As we head down a short dirt path from the overlook to the tidepool area, we take a closer look at the eroded sandstone cliffs and water-smoothed stones on the narrow beach below.
As we head down a short dirt path from the overlook to the tidepool area, we take a closer look at the eroded sandstone cliffs and water-smoothed stones on the narrow beach below.

A wide flat rock dips dips toward the ocean at one end of the tidepools, making a perfect platform for exploration when the tide goes out.
A wide flat rock dips dips toward the ocean at one end of the tidepools, making a perfect platform for exploration when the tide goes out.
In a couple hours even more tidepools will appear. Low tide is the best time to explore the rocky pools of captured water.
In a couple hours even more tidepools will appear. Low tide is the best time to explore the rocky pools of captured water.
Someone peers down into the shallow water, perhaps looking for an octopus or fish.
Someone peers down into the shallow water, perhaps looking for an octopus or fish.
Someone--a young person most likely--searched for heart-shaped stones on the rocky beach and lined them up for all to see.
Someone–a young person most likely–searched for heart-shaped stones on the rocky beach and lined them up for all to see.
People explore a smooth bowl-like pit in the eroded, layered, uptilted sandstone.
People explore a smooth bowl-like pit in the eroded, layered, tilted sandstone.
So much wild natural beauty. So much to contemplate.
So much wild natural beauty. So much to contemplate.
The rock shelf contains parallel fissures and oddly eroded patterns. Over many years the rock is weathered, strangely changes.
The rock shelf contains parallel fissures and oddly eroded patterns. Over many years the rock is weathered, strangely changes.
I see some of those whitish goose-necked barnacles. Many of the tiny pits are home to troglodyte chitons.
I see some of those whitish goose-necked barnacles. Many of the tiny pits are home to troglodyte chitons.
I found some limpets clinging to the wet rock.
I found some limpets clinging to the wet rock.
Bright green algae grows on the exposed rock's surface.
Bright green algae grows on the exposed intertidal rock’s surface.
Beauty that defies description.
Beauty that defies adequate description.
The patient sea washes against these rocks, doing its slow work over the course of countless lifetimes.
The patient sea washes against these rocks, doing its slow work over the course of countless lifetimes.
Looking south at light on the water and dark, broken rocks.
Looking south at light on the water and dark, broken rocks.
The slowly uplifted then eroded sandstone cliffs also tell a story in their book-page-layers about the passage of time.
The uplifted then eroded sandstone cliffs tell a story in their book-page-layers about the passage of time.
Little piles of sand and stone collect where the cliffs crumble.
Little piles of sand and stone collect where the cliffs crumble.
High above, atop Point Loma, I see the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, now a part of human history.
High above, atop Point Loma, I see the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, now a part of human history.
Gazing at the sublime work of nature.
Gazing at the sublime work of nature.

No human artist could possibly paint this.
No human artist could possibly paint this.

I see a small bit of sea lettuce!
I see a small leaf of sea lettuce!
An aggregating anemone has collected fragments of shell and grains of sand.
An aggregating anemone has collected fragments of shell and grains of sand.
A small boy walked up to me as I photographed this small scene and said that it looks like a volcano. On the surface of Mars, I thought to myself.
A young boy walked up to me as I photographed this small scene and said that it looks like a volcano. On the surface of Mars, I thought to myself.
Like a glittering hidden treasure.
Like a glittering hidden treasure.
A chiton between an anemone and a limpet. Another close look at nature's awesome and infinite beauty.
A chiton between an anemone and a limpet. Another close look at nature’s awesome and infinite beauty.

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.

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!

Welcome to Earth and Imperial Beach!

An astronaut gives a Hang Loose hand signal as he hovers near a satellite high above planet Earth!
An astronaut gives a Hang Loose hand signal as he hovers near a satellite high above planet Earth!

Head into Imperial Beach along Palm Avenue and you’ll be treated to colorful art!

Here are some photos that I took yesterday!

A very cool space mural on one side of the AT&T building on Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach. By artists Todd Stands and Dave Frink.
A very cool space mural on one side of the AT&T building on Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach. By artists Todd Stands and Dave Frink.
As drivers head west down Palm Avenue, a mural featuring a gray whale welcomes them to Imperial Beach.
As drivers head west down Palm Avenue, a mural featuring a gray whale welcomes them to Imperial Beach.
Art on fence between Palm Avenue and the old salt ponds of south San Diego Bay, now part of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Reserve.
Art on fence between Palm Avenue and the old salt ponds of south San Diego Bay, now part of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Reserve.
One side of the AT&T building at 13th Street has colorful, spiritual jellyfish that seem to communicate electrically!
One side of the AT&T building at 13th Street has colorful, spiritual jellyfish that seem to communicate electrically!
The mural on the front of the AT&T building includes a big whale.
The mural on the front of the AT&T building includes a big whale.
And lots of super colorful shore birds.
And lots of super colorful shore birds.
Beautiful public art welcomes visitors to Imperial Beach.
Beautiful public art welcomes visitors to Imperial Beach.
Another whale in the mural.
Another whale in the mural.
A pod of dolphins swims across an electrical box.
A pod of dolphins swims across an electrical box.
More beautiful street art.
More beautiful street art.
I spotted a couple of native Eastern Pacific green sea turtles across Palm Avenue near 12th Street!
I spotted a couple of native Eastern Pacific green sea turtles across Palm Avenue near 12th Street!
Carly Ealey painted Cosmic Tides in Imperial Beach for Pangeaseed's Sea Walls Murals for Oceans.
Carly Ealey painted Cosmic Tides in Imperial Beach for Pangeaseed’s Sea Walls Murals for Oceans.

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!

Searching for bats in Balboa Park!

As evening approaches, people slowly gather by the Balboa Park lily pond to watch for bats. The event was organized by the San Diego Natural History Museum.
As evening approaches, people slowly gather by the Balboa Park lily pond to watch for bats. The event was organized by the San Diego Natural History Museum.

This evening I joined a small group of people by the Lily Pond in Balboa Park searching for bats!

The San Diego Natural History Museum held the dusk event as part of the 2018 City Nature Challenge. The worldwide challenge–which is being held in almost 70 cities– encourages ordinary citizens to use their smartphones to record as many local flora and fauna as they can over a 4-day period. Images are submitted via the iNaturalist APP for identification! (If you want to see San Diego County’s totals thus far, here’s the link.)

Anyway, I arrived at the Lily Pond before sunset and was greeted by a couple of friendly experts representing the San Diego Natural History Museum. I was shown some cool equipment, videos and specimens, then stood by as a super sensitive microphone was turned on in order to detect the high frequency ultrasonic chirp-like noises produced by echolocating bats!

While we waited and the sky darkened, I learned a few fascinating facts. I learned that the bats most common in Balboa Park are the Mexican free-tailed bat, the hoary bat, and the western red bat. I learned some bats are solitary, and feed where insects aren’t abundant enough to support large colonies of bats. I learned bats drink by rapidly skimming above a body of water– which has been observed at the park’s lily pond. I learned some bats can fly as fast as a hundred miles per hour and as high as 10,000 feet! I also learned bats often feed around lights where flying insects gather, often live in the dead fronds of palm trees, and absolutely love hanging out under bridges.

Did we see or detect any bats? None were seen in the darkness, but the microphone did record the acoustic signature of a nearby Mexican free-tail!

When bats fly about and utilize echolocation, a microphone detects the high frequency sound and software produces a sonogram. Different bats can be recognized by their unique acoustic signatures.
When bats fly about and use echolocation, a sensitive microphone detects the high frequency sound and software produces a sonogram. Different bat species can be recognized by their unique acoustic signatures.
Demonstrating a powerful directional microphone, which is mounted on a long pole.
Demonstrating a powerful directional microphone, which is mounted on a long pole.
A friendly volunteer who travels around the county observing and recording bats points to several specimens. The one indicated is a Mexican free-tailed.
A friendly volunteer who travels around the county observing and recording bats points to several preserved specimens. The one indicated is a Mexican free-tailed.
Several people have gathered to learn about bats shortly before dusk. A curious duck listens in.
Several people have gathered to learn about bats shortly before dusk. A curious duck listens in.
Bats often live in the dead clustered fronds of palm trees. I see a passing gull and a nearly full moon above the Casa del Prado.
Bats often live in the dead clustered fronds of palm trees. I see a passing gull and a nearly full moon above the Casa del Prado.
Darkening palm trees above the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Perhaps some bats are hanging out in these.
Darkening palm trees above the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Perhaps some bats are hanging out in these.
Pointing at the cool bat-detecting instrument. As darkness fell, we recorded one Mexican free-tailed bat, but it must have been too chilly this evening for much activity.
Pointing at the cool bat-detecting instrument. As darkness fell, we recorded one Mexican free-tailed bat, but apparently it was too cold this evening for much bat activity.

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