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 onlyTheize of a sparrow. In fact, 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 would like 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 a -1.98 at the Cabrillo National Monument tide pools, followed by a -1.34 at Sunset Cliffs. I was pumped with anticipation 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 also added a few more places that 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 very best tide pool beaches in all of 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 the spot where the Championship finals will be taking place in September!
The 2022 WSL Championship Tour kicked off over 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 in history 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 second half of the tour, and later be joined by two men’s wildcards and two 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 too familiar with many of these beaches, so I thought that 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, especially 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?” Well, 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 throughout the years.
Let’s now look at where this sea lion has been seen before 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 over 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 over 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 over 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.
Last month, on November 23rd, my girls went over to Famosa Slough because I wanted to check out and see how the plants were doing. I knew that the toyon and buckwheat were in bloom, but what other surprises were we in for? Well, I can tell you upfront that I saw my very first California boxthorn bush! Have you ever seen one in the wild?
So today, I wish to keep things casual, seeing that I have written more in-depth about almost all of these plants.
Please see the links down below if you would like more information.
A Few Famosa Slough Facts
First and foremost, the Famosa Slough is a living wetland preserve as well as a Marine Protected Area, which means nothing is to be touched or taken. It survives as a wetland by the tidal flow from the culvet pipes that connect it to the San Diego River Channel.
It consists of two sections: the Northern Channel,, which is 12 acres, and the southern portion of 25 acres of mixed wetlands. The more south you go, the less saline the water.
I have been here four times now and have written about Famosa Slough before, only concentrating on the southern section. Well, today,, we explored both.
North Channel of Famosa Slough
The North section connects to the San Diego River Channel to the north,, with the southern portion just across the street.
Wow! I am so happy to write up this post in record time! You see, yesterday, I realized that the California State Parks uniquely celebrate the New Year. How is that, you may ask?
California State Park staff members, docents, and volunteers will show off the beauty and wonders of our gorgeous State Park system by leading the general public in First Day Hikes! Below is valuable information on each San Diego/ California State Park featured, plus a brief explanation of where and what is offered.
I will be starting north up at San Onofre State Beach and making my way south towards the California/Mexican Border.
It is supposed to be a bit chilly on the coast today, with the high only being 62 degrees, so please take that into account!
First Day Hikes at San Onofre State Beach
Where – Trestles Beach Trailhead on Cristianitos Road/ El Camino Real
One of my very best friends, Paula, lived in Pacific Beach for a bit when we were both in college. I have distinct memories of visiting her apartment, located right off the Pacific Beach Boardwalk and close to Crystal Pier.
Fast-forward 33 years, and we are back!
Seriously though, Paula, her husband John, and I spent an hour together soaking in the sun, ocean, and wind while reminiscing. Check out what we experienced on this sunny but very windy mid-November day.
Where is Pacific Beach?
Pacific Beach is found between La Jolla to the north and Mission Beach to the south.
Let’s now take a look at some of the highlights of the day!
Here we are looking out over North Pacific Beach from the Crystal Pier. If you follow the surf break straight ahead, this is where the Tourmaline Surfing Park is located (just south of Law Street Beach.) When the conditions are right, you will see many surfers paddling out past False Point (see map above.)
Today I would like to do something fun! On October 12, my family and I were coming home from a trip to Idaho. I was fortunate enough to sit in a window seat and photograph my favorite beach in the universe-San Onofre State Beach on the airplane! Seeing that it was only 9 am, the lighting was perfect. As a bonus, the plane flew the entire coast of North County San Diego and did not turn inland until flying over Torrey Pines State Beach. Come and check out what I witnessed!
Flying Over San Onofre State Beach
When I noticed that we were getting closer to San Diego, I eagerly awaited for us to arrive above my favorite beach, San Onofre/ Trestles. My love of the untouched and wild beaches of San Onofre State Beach can be seen by the sheer number of times I have written about the area.
I have noted the surf break Churches in the photo above, the midpoint between Trestles and San Onofre State Beach.
One of my favorite places to bring family and friends from out of town is La Jolla, by far! Our absolute favorite place to visit in La Jolla is over at the Children’s Pool, otherwise known as Point Mencinger or Casa Beach. We love to see if the La Jolla harbor seals are hauled out on the rocks or the beach.
Did you know that Point Mencinger and the Children’s Pool is a Pacific harbor seal rookery? (A rookery is where the seals mate and raise young.)
Welcome back to San Diego Beach Secrets! Do you like bonfires? There is something special about sitting around a fire with the ocean waves crashing on the shore, yes? As a rule, it is good to remember that open fires are prohibited on all San Diego County beaches.
You may only have a bonfire within a provided fire rings. In other words, where are all of the fire rings on the beaches of San Diego? Well, not all of the beaches of San Diego have fire rings, so this has motivated me to make a handy list, so next time you (and I) will have a better idea of where to go.
And once there, how many are there to choose from?
So the question is, which beach has the best bonfire potential? Each beach has its own preferred extinguish time, so take note of that.
All fire rings in San Diego County are on a first come- first serve basis.
I have also included a couple of businesses where you can rent a San Diego beach bonfire!
More information is down below.
Ok! Let’s have a San Diego beach bonfire!
Best San Diego Beaches for Bonfires-Where Are All of the Fire Rings?
There is something extraordinary about seeing wild animals in their natural habitats, especially marine mammals. Well, what if I told you that over at La Jolla, there are two designated pinniped rookeries near each other? Yes! A Pacific harbor seal rookery is located at Casa Beach/ Children’s Pool, and a California sea lion rookery is found at Point La Jolla and Boomer Beach. Have you ever seen California sea lions up close before?
Both rookeries are very close to each other and are found down parallel to Ellen Browning Scripps Park. Today, I will be only concentrating on what we saw over at the newly closed to the public- California sea lion rookery.
Where Are The California Sea Lions in La Jolla?
La Jolla Cove
La Jolla cove sits adjacent to Point La Jolla, so it is not uncommon to see a couple of California sea lions hanging out on the rocks in the cove.
On this day, it was pretty unusual for this sea lion to swim onto a crowded beach and pose on a rock, but maybe not.
You would think that some sea lions are becoming less afraid of humans, seeing that human smells and sounds constantly surround them.
I have an important announcement, and I need your help! You see, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) has proposed a new and virtually unattainable metric for all harbor craft boat engines. The new rules make it especially tasking to the small family-run sportfishing/whale watching boat owners. How bad is it? Well, so bad that if passed, most will go out of business! So I need your help! Would you please sign the form below, so we can help save California sportfishing?