The Western Snowy Plover- A Closer Look

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

scientific classification snowy plover

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.

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Bird Rock Beach, La Jolla Uncovered!

bird rock uncovered featured image

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 google map link
Click on the photo for a map link.

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.

Continue reading “Bird Rock Beach, La Jolla Uncovered!”

The San Diego Bird Festival 2022

san diego bird festival featured image

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!

Officially it will begin online today.

When?– February 16- February 19Marina Village Conference Center

How Much? There is a 30 dollar registration fee, and each event, unless designated as free, will have individual prices.

I looked at the registration page and came up with these prices.

Again, you will see the right price once you register.

General Fees-

  • $30- registration fee
  • $150- most bus trips
  • $50- most meet you there trips
  • $65- Birding by Bike
  • $80- Kayaking
  • $10- most lectures
  • $25- keynote talks

Continue reading “The San Diego Bird Festival 2022”

A Few Plants at Famosa Slough

famosa slough featured image

Last month, on November 23rd, my girls went 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? I can tell you upfront that I saw my 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

Famosa slough map google maps

button-map-Famosa-Slough-Google-Maps

First and foremost, the Famosa Slough is a living wetland preserve and a Marine Protected Area, meaning nothing is to be touched or taken. It survives as a wetland by the tidal flow from the culvert pipes that connect it to the San Diego River Channel.

It consists of two sections: the Northern Channel, 12 acres, and the southern portion, 25 acres of mixed wetlands. The more south you go, the less saline the water.

I have been here four times and have written about Famosa Slough before, only concentrating on the southern section. Well, today, we explored both.

North Channel of Famosa Slough

famosa slough pano san diego saltmarsh

The North section connects to the San Diego River Channel north, with the southern portion just across the street.

Continue reading “A Few Plants at Famosa Slough”

First Day Hikes 2022

First Day Hikes 2022 Featured Image

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 start north up at San Onofre State Beach and go south towards the California/Mexican Border.
It is supposed to be chilly on the coast today, with the high only 62 degrees, so please consider that!


First Day Hikes at San Onofre State Beach

Trestles November sand dunes water surfers

Where – Trestles Beach Trailhead on Cristianitos Road/ El Camino Real

Time- 2 pm

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Checking out the La Jolla Harbor Seals

2009 harbor seals la jolla san diego

One of my favorite places to bring family and friends from out of town is La Jolla! Our absolute favorite place to visit in La Jolla is at the Children’s Pool, Point Mencinger, and 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.)

Yes, it is!

And just north at Point La Jolla, there is a California sea lion rookery! The coastline of La Jolla is magical.

On August 17, my girls and I went on a little pinniped adventure.

Let’s now take a look at what we saw, and as a bonus for you and as well as for me, I have listed several La Jolla harbor seal facts.

The Pacific Harbor Seals of La Jolla

Point Mencinger la jolla san diego
Point Mencinger is North of Boomer Beach, 2021

First, it blows me away that I never knew that the formal name of this area in La Jolla is Point Mencinger. 

Below is a photo during a King Tide, so the tide was super low.

Continue reading “Checking out the La Jolla Harbor Seals”

Checking out the California Sea Lions in La Jolla

CA sealions point la jolla featured image

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, 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 close and parallel to Ellen Browning Scripps Park. Today, I will only concentrate on what we saw at the newly closed public- California sea lion rookery.

sea lions people la jolla san diego
July 6, 2017

Where Are The California Sea Lions in La Jolla?

La Jolla Cove

people sea lion la jolla cove august

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 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.

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Best San Diego Family Beaches

Moonlight 7 1 family beach san diego featured image

Welcome to San Diego Beach Secrets! Today I would like to concentrate on the best San Diego family beaches. San Diego’s 70 miles of coastline has many different types of beaches. The variety is endless, some of which you can only reach four times a year. But what does constitute a great family beach? My first pick would be calm waters, followed by soft sand, maybe a playground? But most definitely a restroom and showers. So, today I will be highlighting where, when, and how each beach is ideal for a spectacular family day at the beach.

Ready?

Let’s go!

—>Beaches of San Diego County<—

Best North County San Diego Beaches for Families

Oh, how I love North County San Diego Beaches! These beaches (sans Oceanside) have huge and gorgeous sandstone bluffs accentuating the already beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Down below, I have three wonderful family beaches to share with you!

Let’s go!

Oceanside Harbor Beach- Family Fun in Oceanside

oceanside pier sand ocean waves

button map buccaneer beach oceanside

Oceanside Harbor beach is excellent for families because there are many amenities. What I think is the main draw is the extensive sandy beach.

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Plants at the Beach-San Onofre

San Onofre State Beach May Trails Beach

Boy, was I excited to finally go to the beach on May 24, 2020? Is anyone else happy to get out of their houses, too? I was so pleased to go to San Onofre State Beach twice a week. Because of the lockdown in California, I could not witness the beginning of wildflower season. So my main objective on this first day back to the beach was to see as many plants as possible! The first time we headed to Trestles, and the following Friday, I explored the southern section, just under San Onofre Campground at Bluffs Beach (or Trails Beach). Below, I would love to share with you what I saw- all the plants at the beach I encountered.

Previous to this beach adventure, I had just finished a post on Southern California Native Plants. This post has documented all the plants and wildflowers I encountered in the scrub and Southern Oak Woodland behind my neighborhood during Quarantine 2020.  After hours and hours of research, I sure learned a tremendous amount!

Plant Names Given by San Diego Native Inhabitants 

I have recently been fascinated with Native American uses of the native plants in the area (Ethnobotany), so I thought I would continue with the same format I followed for my previous native plant post.

The Kumeyaay people were the first known original inhabitants of San Diego. Kumeyaay translates to ‘those who face the water from a cliff.” (Click on the link to hear the correct way to pronounce Kumeyaay)

Continue reading “Plants at the Beach-San Onofre”

Five More San Diego Hidden Gems

Ocean sunset san diego hidden gems

San Diego, otherwise known as  “America’s Finest City,” has one of the most beautiful coastlines, if I may dare say, in the world. According to the San Diego Tourism Authority, over 35 million people visited San Diego in 2018 and 36.5 million in 2019. I am afraid to see the numbers for 2020, but I digress. One of my favorite things to do on this website is introduce you all to the many, many San Diego hidden gems. I will be the first to admit that I am biased as I have been exploring the San Diego coastline for over thirty-five years. So today, I would like to share with you a few more, in fact, five more San Diego Hidden Gems, so you too can experience San Diego as a native.

When I say San Diego, I refer to the entire 70 miles of the San Diego coast. From San Onofre State Beach down to the US/Mexico border, the coast of San Diego has something for everyone!

Let us now take a look, shall we?

#Click on any photo in the gallery to view a larger image


Old Man’s Beach at San Onofre State Beach

Old Man Secret Spot Hidden gems San Diego

button map Old Mans San Onofre State Beach

I wasn’t sure if I would share this little gem because this has been my little secret for years, but here we go. Old Man’s Beach is one of my favorite places at San Onofre State Beach, and locals refer to this beach as  San O and San Onofre Surfing Beach.

Continue reading “Five More San Diego Hidden Gems”

Sea Caves at La Jolla Underwater Park

Cave window la jolla underwater park

Wow! Do I have some exciting information for you all? Many of you may have somewhat of an idea of my complete, somewhat obsessive love of King Tides. For all others, a King Tide is when you have the highest and lowest tides of the year (click on the link for more in-depth information.) Most attention is given to the high tide, as people enjoy seeing how far the ocean will reach on land.

I love going to the beach during the lowest tides, so I can examine what is usually covered by the ocean and have rare access to beaches that are typically not accessible. And let me tell you, today is one of those days.

Yes! My girls and I explored two caves at the La Jolla Underwater Park!

Now I must say right up front that getting to these caves is no easy feat, and you have to have tremendous balance as there is at least a quarter-mile of rocks to walk over until you reach the semi-sandy beach over at Caves Beach.

Would you like to see what we saw?

Let’s go!

Continue reading “Sea Caves at La Jolla Underwater Park”

Touring Ocean Beach Park-Lompoc, CA

Ocean Beach Park Lompoc featured image

Did I ever mention that my husband is originally from Lompoc? It is an inside joke between us- a small-town boy meeting a city girl. So, where is Lompoc, which is pronounced LOM-poke? Located 268 miles northwest of San Diego, Lompoc is often referred to as the flower seed capital of the world. The town was established in 1888 and is located in Santa Barbara County on the Central Coast of California. It is a small agricultural town that the Vandenberg Airforce Base surrounds. I informed my husband that if we were to visit,  my one desire was to go to the ocean. So we went to Ocean Beach Park in Lompoc, CA, and I am here to share.

Why Lompoc?

Lompoc Map central southern california

A little back story-We just celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary this past July 4, so we decided to go to Las Vegas to commemorate the joyous occasion.

It was nice to revisit where we were married (Treasure Island) and reminisce. On a side note, it was not pleasant to go to Las Vegas during Quarantine in 2020, but that is not what this post is about, so I digress.

After we were done with the ridiculous heat of Nevada (100 degrees plus), we headed northwest for six hours to see family in  Lompoc. As a rule, it is almost always chilly and overcast there. And to say that I was looking forward to not being so hot is an understatement!

Noting that we were only in town for less than a day, I thought having the family meet us over at Ocean Beach Park for a pizza picnic would be an outstanding idea.

It was perfect timing without even knowing just how lucky we were. If this had been any other time before 2020, we would not have been able to enter Ocean Beach Park.

More on this later.

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San Diego Summer Fun- 2019

Tijuana River Valley Regional Park Panoramic

For as long as I can remember, summer has always been my favorite season! It could be that my Birthday is on July 1st, but to be honest, I think it is more than that. You see, my favorite place on this Earth is the beach. So can you think of a better time to visit the beach but in summer? Me neither! Join my daughters and me and see where we explored during our San Diego Summer of 2019!

The Best  Summer Possible!

Heermans gulls encinitas moonlight beach
Heerman’s gulls on Moonlight Beach

This San Diego Summer, I wanted to make it super special because it was the last summer with my girls before they were both off to college.

My eldest daughter has been in college for two years already and came home for the summer, but my youngest was just about to start. I have been a stay-at-home Mom for over twenty years, so the thought of not having any children home puts the panic of God into me.

However, I was not going to let my anxiety of missing my kids get in the way of having the best San Diego summer possible.

Continue reading “San Diego Summer Fun- 2019”

California Super Bloom at San Onofre

Trestles Beach April 2019 California Super Bloom

Over three weeks ago, I had the supreme pleasure of taking the opportunity to get out and see what was happening on the coast of North County, San Diego. Amidst all the rain we got this winter season, I was extremely excited to see how all the coast plants looked. Did the California super bloom affect the coast?

So I grabbed my backpack, filled it with plant ID books, my iPad, water, and sunscreen, and ran out the door. Well, maybe not running, but I was super excited!

My two daughters and I headed first to Trestles Beach Trail and afterward doubled back and explored Bluffs Beach at San Onofre State Beach. I have to say, what I saw, took my breath away.

San Onofre State Beach Google Map
Trestles Beach Trail to the North- San Onofre Bluff Campground south

button map trestles beach trail google map

Ok, are you ready to check out all the San Onofre State Beach plants in North County, San Diego?

Continue reading “California Super Bloom at San Onofre”

Best San Diego Hikes on the Coast

Encinitas Bluff Tree Best San Diego Hikes

San Diego County has some of the best coastlines on the entire coast of California. From the rugged seashore, with towering sandstone cliffs found in North County San Diego, all the way down to the open estuaries and sandy beaches in South County San Diego. Today I would like to list some of my favorite San Diego hikes you can experience on the coast of San Diego.

All San Diego hikes listed will be taken only with a negative low tide. Please check out the tide chart before embarking on your adventure, as some of these walks are dangerous if the tide comes upon you. A good rule of thumb would be to allow a couple of hours before the high tide comes back in. Remember, a very high tide always follows a shallow tide.

One more thing. I have previously written extensively on these sites and have linked each post appropriately, so click on the underlined links for more information.

Continue reading “Best San Diego Hikes on the Coast”