Guess what! I was there when the cliff collapsed at Black’s Beach! I was about a mile away, checking out the bean clams on La Jolla Shores Beach. Would you believe I didn’t even realize what had happened at 1:29 p.m. until three days later? Yes, it is true, but I am here now and have photos to share. Viewing these incredible videos, let’s look at the January 20, 2023, Black’s Beach cliff collapse! I have also researched and included every past cliff collapse at Torrey Pines State Beach for fun. Finally, I look deeper into the cliffs’ geology and try to figure out a few clues on why the cliff collapsed.
I want to say right up front that I am not a geologist and am trying my hardest, so if I get anything wrong or slightly wrong, please feel free to tell me in the comments.
Today, I would like to take a closer look into the elusive shorebird found on the coast of San Diego, Brandt’s Cormorant. This seabird, the largest cormorant species, is located only on North America’s Pacific Coast and feeds on the California Current. La Jolla is the best place to see Brandt’s Cormorants up close. I just happened to be in the area at the end of January this year and was pleasantly surprised to see a baby cormorant and two eggs!
The Brandt’s Cormorant is strictly marine but is known to enter San Diego Bay. It is fascinating that it does not enter Mission Bay or any of San Diego’s coastal lagoons. Their main colonies are on The Channel Islands of Southern California and Mexico’s Los Coronados Islands.
Let’s take a closer look at the Brandt’s Cormorant, shall we?
Brandt’s Cormorants Characteristics
The Brandt’s Cormorant is a large, heavy-bodied, oval-shaped shorebird with a slender neck and hooked beak. The breeding adults are black with a purple sheen, have brilliant turquoise eyes, a very bright blue (gular pouch) throat patch, which fades after the breeding seasons, and whiskery white feathers on the head, neck, and shoulders.
Nonbreeding birds are entirely black, and the juveniles are dark brownish with a fluffy plume around the neck.
So did you hear about the massive storm that Southern California endured on January 6th? Did you know that there also was a Full Moon on January 6th? It sounds like a perfect combination to me. There were reports of waves reaching the insane height of over 20 feet in some spots! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get to the coast to have a look on that incredible weekend, but I was available on the 11th. I looked at the surf report for the second week in January, and Wednesday the 11th looked like the best bet in catching a few shots of big waves with my camera; hurray!
Join me as I journey down the coast, first Oceanside, then Carlsbad, and finally ending my adventure at Swami’s in Encinitas.
Just How Big Were the Waves on January Sixth in San Diego?
The storm came onshore in San Diego early on Thursday, January 5th. The National Weather Service anticipated widespread coastal flooding, heavy rains, high winds (20 to 30 mph), and massive surf.
Also, the storm has been described as a ‘bomb cyclone’ because it started as a low-pressure system that rapidly intensified into a massive storm that created a west-northwest swell. So needless to say, W to NW facing beaches experienced the largest waves.
I have good news! This year of the Lord, 2023, there will be five days to visit National Park in the United States for free! Today I am only concentrating on the San Diego County area and a few other Southern California National Parks. Let’s go!
Which Five Days Are Free?
As you probably can guess, all five days are National Holidays.
January 16, 2023 (Monday)- Martin Luther King Day
April 22, 2023 (Saturday)- First day of National Park Week
August 4, 2023 (Friday)- Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
September 23, 2023 (Saturday)- National Publics Land Day
November 11, 2023 (Saturday)- Veterans Day
I am unfamiliar with a few of these National holidays, so for fun, let’s take a closer look at them.
What is National Park Week?
This year, National Park Week is from April 22 to April 30. So what exactly is National Park Week? Well, due to a Presidential Proclamation- National Park encourages American citizens to get out into nature and appreciate the natural world. I like this sentiment!
Boy, oh boy! What a year 2022 was! Yes? I didn’t get to the coast as much as I had wished, but I did have many stellar moments! Today as an homage to the year, I would like to share the best of the best photography and a few moments revisited in my annual 2022 year in review.
Please bear with me as I am trying to remember everything by just looking back at the photos.
January 2022- Bird Rock La Jolla
I can’t tell you how awesome it was to experience La Jolla on an extremely low tide; the views here are more than otherworldly.
One thing that stuck out to me today was the number of dogs walking around on the tide pools. This area is a part of a State Marine Conservation Area, so seeing the dogs walking on the tide pools made me cringe.
I was thrilled that I was able to witness Bird Rock on a King Low Tide because the last time I experienced this was in 1990! I had a marine invertebrate zoology field trip while in college.
My only regret was that we didn’t walk further north, as I would have loved to see what Calumet Beach looked like. I love how the waves sound over there because of the large stones hitting each other.
Hallelujah! I took the time to finally walk the beaches of Solana Beach on a glorious summer day. It was super hot inland, so I thought, what better time to go and check out the coast? I have wanted to go to Solana Beach forever, so here I am!
Solana Beach is situated between Encinitas to the North and Del Mar to the South, and the beach stretches for over 1.7 miles.
Solana Beach has also been a favorite hangout of juvenile great white sharks in the past couple of years!
Fun Fact- Solana is Spanish for “warm wind”
So here is a list of the beaches of Solana Beach that I had the pleasure of walking on, starting first from the North down to the South-
South Cardiff State Beach- Seaside Beach
Tide Park Beach
North Seascape Surf Park
Del Mar Shores
Del Mar North Beach (Del Mar)
Let’s now look at each beach, followed by exciting facts highlighting each area.
South Cardiff State Beach- Seaside Beach
Seaside Beach is the very first beach on the northern boundary of Solana Beach. Two popular offshore surf breaks, Seaside Reef and Cardiff Reef, make South Cardiff State Beach a surfing mecca for locals and tourists alike.
I wanted to stop by quickly to tell you that the California Library service offers the option of checking out a California State Beach Parking Pass!
Do you have a library card? Well, head over and check out a pass! If you do not have a library card, no problem! You can get a free library card at your local library (see info below).
California State Library Beach Parks Pass Information
Visiting a State Beach in California can get pretty expensive. Purchasing an all-day pass can cost up to 20 dollars. Let’s take a look at what all entails concerning this free library parking pass program.
So a couple of nights ago, I watched Top Gun: Maverick for the second time, and I had a brilliant idea! I want to present a few filming locations where the movie was filmed around San Diego. I will also give you a few fun facts and a link to Google Maps, so maybe the next time you are in town, you can visit the locations yourself.
Top Gun-Naval Air Station North Island
Breakers Beach is a private military beach located on North Island, Coronado. I hate to break it to you, but that cute and intimate military bar is not close to the shoreline; that was just pure fantasy.
Today I would like to take a closer look at the Western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus). I became inspired to learn more about this elusive bird by a very close interaction that I had with two plovers up North on the Central Coast over at Surf Beach, Lompoc (see down below for more information)
The Western snowy plover is a wader and one of the smallest shorebirds in Southern California, as it is only the size of a sparrow. The chicks are so tiny that they can easily be mistaken for cotton balls!
Bird Species of Special Conservation Concern in California
Due to low population and habitat loss, the Western snowy plover was listed by the federal government as threatened on March 5, 1993. They prefer to nest on beaches, estuaries, peninsulas, bays, salt pans, and rivers in Oregon and California.
Welcome back to my “A Closer Look” series! Today I want to dive deep and write about what I came across while walking Oceanside Harbor Beach last month (where has the time gone?) Let me set up the scene.
So it was April 11th around 3:30 pm; if I recall right, high tide was going to peak at 5.6 feet, so it was probably a 1.0 ft. Anyway, the beach was packed with bean clams! I’m used to sand crabs, not clams.
The colors stood out due to the enormity spread across the shoreline.
So I thought I would take a closer look at bean clams, but there is limited information online.
So on the very last day of January, I witnessed the second-lowest tide of the year, a -2.08! This is a personal record for me, as the lowest tide I had experienced was -1.98 at the Cabrillo National Monument tide pools, followed by a -1.34 at Sunset Cliffs. I was excited about what we were in for over at Bird Rock Beach, La Jolla. Join me as I show you what is usually covered by water.
Bird Rock Beach is located centrally within the South La Jolla State Marine Reserve (SMR), so I would like to overview the area briefly.
As a bonus, I have added a few more places we visited on this particular day, including several spots south of Bird Rock Beach in South La Jolla. The view was beautiful, and I wished I could have explored the tide pools!
Unfortunately, I could not walk around the tide pools and explore with a broken finger, but I did get some incredible photos!
Oh, how I love La Jolla!!
Ready? Let’s go!
So, Where is Bird Rock Beach, La Jolla?
Bird Rock Beach is the center of the South La Jolla State Marine Reserve (SMR) and, in my opinion, one of the best tide pool beaches in San Diego. In all honesty, Bird Rock is only accessible during a very low tide, so calling it a beach is a bit of a stretch, but let’s still go with it.
It was announced on January 18 that the Rip Curl World Surf League (WSL) Finals would be at Trestles this year! That’s right! In a one-day, winner-takes-all surfing event, Trestles will be where the Championship finals will take place in September!
The 2022 WSL Championship Tour kicked off at the world-famous Banzai Pipeline on O’ahu’s North Shore on January 29. The top men and women surfers from around the world competed together at this legendary surf break.
Never before have both men and women surf the Pipeline together while competing.
WSL Men and Women Surf Competition to be Combined
WSL will combine the men’s and women’s Championship Tours for the first time. As noted above, never before have men and women competed at the same time or won the same prize money.
Well, this year, that has changed.
The 2022 Championship Tour (CT) Season will start with 36 men and 18 women. Halfway through the season, the field will be reduced to 24 men and 12 women.
The top-rated wave riders will automatically qualify for the 2023 season, go on to the tour’s second half, and be joined by two men’s and women’s wildcards.
WSL Championship Tour-Surfing in Over Seven Countries!
Before the Finals take over at Trestles, the WSL Championship Tour will include ten regular-season events at some very exotic locations. I’m not familiar with many of these beaches, so I thought it would be fun to do a bit of a deep dive into each location’s waves.
I will be going over specific wave characteristics of each location, noting the type and direction of each wave, the ideal swell, tide, wind, season, and how big each site can ultimately get.
I’m not a surfer, so please be patient with me and feel free to offer any suggestions if any information is incorrect or slightly off, mainly which surf breaks are used in the Championship Tour.
I apologize for getting this information out so late, but here it is! Starting this week, the San Diego Bird Festival will be happening over at the Marina Village Conference Center in Quivira Basin, Mission Bay.
If you love birds, this conference is especially for you!
Let’s take a look at everything that the Festival has to offer- from fantastic field trips, thought-provoking lectures, as well as a prominent vendor Exhibit Hall which has everything you didn’t know that you needed!
Have you heard the adage, “Why did the sea lion cross the road?” We can thank the Marco Polo California sea lion who took the world’s stage on January 7 ,” for doing just that! Are you ok if I refer to him as Marco Polo? What makes it even more interesting is that this isn’t the first time this particular sea lion has been caught exploring the streets of San Diego!
So, where has he been? How do you think he got on the freeway?
Hopefully, I will answer all of these questions for you and more!
Yes! I have found several other examples of wandering sea lions in San Diego.
Let’s now look at where this sea lion has been seen in San Diego.
Hey, Is That a Sea Lion on the San Diego Freeway?
(The red marker is the mouth of Cholla Creek- see arrows for where he was seen on the freeway)
So on January 7, San Diego drivers on State Route 94 were in for a super surprise!
When?– January 7, 2022, at around 9:40 am; captured by 10:30 am
Where? The eastbound side of State Route (SR)-94, near Interstate (I) 15 and just west of Interstate (I) 805 (see map). Three miles from San Diego Bay and eight miles from the ocean
Josefine Jandinger was driving eastbound SR-94 just west of I-805 when she saw two people standing in the middle of the freeway, coaxing a 200-pound juvenile sea lion toward the median. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Josefine took the video down below.
Kudos to the couple who dared to exit their cars and help in any way possible. You are the true definition of heroes!
As my girls and I walked around Famosa Slough on a clear November day, we realized that we still had a couple of hours before picking my husband up from work. So we decided to go to Shoreline Park on Shelter Island at San Diego Bay. We have been coming here for years!
I love to watch the boats in San Diego Bay. But there are so many other things to pay attention to over here, for instance, observing the jets take off and land over on Naval Air Station North Island/ Coronado or shorebird’s dive-bombing into the bay. On a clear day, you can see the Coronado Islands of Mexico (Islas Coronado.)
And how about the smells? There is nothing better than the crisp smell of saltwater, is there? I find it so refreshing!
The sounds here on Shetler Island are just as unmistakable: sea lions barking, the wind blowing through the trees, and the water lapping on the rocks after a large ship goes by. You might even hear the chattering of green parrots. Did you know that a flock of green parrots live here on Shelter Island? More on these lively parrots later.
Let’s now look at what we saw and offered here at Shoreline Park/ Shelter Island.
#Click on any small photo to see a larger version.
Exploring Shoreline Park in November
Shoreline Park is a narrow band that stretches for one mile on the bayside of Shelter Island. Dogs are welcome here but must be on a leash.