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.

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Beautiful mural at Living Coast Discovery Center!

There’s a very beautiful mural near the front entrance of the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista that was painted fairly recently. I saw it a couple weeks ago when I visited Sweetwater Marsh in the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

The very colorful mural, depicting native wildlife and plants, decorates a roll up door behind a group of outdoor picnic tables. I took these photos.

I asked a Living Coast Discovery Center employee about it, but she didn’t know who the artist was. If you happen to know, please leave a comment!

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!

Learn about nature at Torrey Pines trailhead!

At Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, several popular trails (including the Beach Trail and Razor Point Trail) can be accessed from a small parking lot south of the Visitor Center.

At the trailhead visitors will see a wooden structure, the words Torrey Pines Docent Society, and many smiling volunteers who are happy to provide information or explain interpretative displays before you begin your hike. The structure is called the Trailhead Information Kiosk, or TIK for short. Docents greeting visitors here are called TIK Talkers!

I remember how, many years ago, this trailhead “kiosk” was nothing more than a portable table and EZ Up canopy. Today’s handsome, sturdy structure is a testament to what volunteer hands can create!

The Trailhead Information Kiosk is a great place to learn about Torrey Pines’ native plants and animals. There are signs detailing what hikers might encounter, photographs of wildlife, and cool models of insects, snakes and other animals.

Before beginning a short hike the other day, I paused at the TIK to absorb a little knowledge.

Reptiles of Torrey Pines

Birds of Torrey Pines

Insects

Flowering Plants of Torrey Pines

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!

Wildlife mural at SDG&E Park in Chula Vista.

An amazing mural depicting wildlife was created earlier this year at SDG&E Park in Chula Vista. The artists of Ground Floor Murals, assisted by students from nearby Castle Park High School, painted a sunset scene filled with beautiful wildlife!

You might recall that several incredible Padres baseball murals visible in communities around San Diego were also painted by Ground Floor Murals.

This very colorful work of art can be found on the side of a building in San Diego Gas and Electric Park near Hilltop Drive.

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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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!

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!

Pelicans and sea lions near La Jolla Cove.

To observe pelicans or sea lions in San Diego, simply take a walk by the ocean where the shore is rocky.

On Sunday I walked near La Jolla Cove.

Yes, I’ve photographed both pelicans and sea lions in the past, but look what I saw!

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!

Red-tailed hawks and fog in Balboa Park.

This morning I walked from downtown San Diego to Balboa Park, hoping to capture some interesting fog photographs.

As it turned out, most of my photos were of red-tailed hawks!

I observed three of them from the Cabrillo Bridge.

Anyone who walks into Balboa Park from the west side should keep their eyes peeled for hawks. They like to perch in the trees above the archery range or the slope of the West Mesa overlooking State Route 163.

I often hear the distinctive cry of red-tailed hawks near the eucalyptus trees west of the California Tower. Once or twice in the past I’ve seen them perched on the tower!

I managed to get a few decent photos with my little camera. You can see two hawks in the final image!

From the Cabrillo Bridge I also took a photograph of foggy downtown San Diego in the distance.

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!

Extraordinary new Old Town art honors Kumeyaay!

Extraordinary new public art has been unveiled in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

Two benches in the park’s recently opened outdoor expansion, which is called Land of the First People, feature beautiful mosaics that honor the Native American Kumeyaay and the world of nature.

Once you look at the following photographs, you’ll likely agree these ceramic mosaics are exceptional. They were created by local artist Betsy K. Schulz.

The two interpretive benches contain images of the Kumeyaay people in our region, fishing, collecting reeds, paddling boats and living by a river, among birds, fish and other native wildlife.

If you’d like to see more stunning public art around San Diego that was created by Betsy K. Schulz, click here.

These images were captured yesterday evening just before nightfall. I took additional photographs of this newly opened area of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and posted them 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!