Brown Pelican


Southern California with Geoff & Kitty
Oct 20 thru 24, 2003 
Guides: Bob Miller and Henry Detwiler

Continuation of day two with Bob and Geoff rolling into La Jolla! 

La Jolla 
A two hour drive put us into La Jolla at noon so the light was still good for looking seaward.  A lone Pink-footed Shearwater working the Kelp beds was unexpected.  Lots of Harbor Seals were hauled out on the rocks and the Western and Heermann's Gull were everywhere.

Wandering Tattler, Black Turnstone and Spotted Sandpiper were in the mix of gulls and seals on these outcrops. Elegant, Forester's and Caspian Terns were working beyond the Kelp beds.  

La Jolla

Ruddy Turnstones turned up on the ledges directly beneath us as we were studying the gulls up close.  A flight of about 50 Brown Pelicans came right over our heads.  Not much lower than the several law enforcement helicopters that buzzed by!
We moved over to the cliffs above La Jolla Cove and stuck our head into the cave shop to get a whiff of moist sea air coming up through the store from the tunnel below.  We searched through the Double-crested Cormorants perched on the cliffs and had about given up on Pelagic Cormorant when one flew right beneath us and landed just out of sight on the cliff!  We soon had another for a good look in the scope though.

Heermann's Gull

Western Gull
Looking north up the coast revealed the beginnings of a huge column of smoke that did not sit easy on our minds as we pulled out and headed up the coast to San Elijo Lagoon.    

House finch

House Finch goes away!

San Elijo Lagoon held a good number of birds on the water and we added several new ducks to our list but the land birding was the slowest and held the fewest birds of any visit I have ever made there.  We did get nice looks at the local Savannah Sparrow and the Black Saddlebags dragonflies were constantly catching our eye as we scanned  for the gnatcatchers, thrashers and quail that never appeared.  

Black Saddlebags

Catching the rays
This little guy was enjoying the sun and paid us no mind as we stopped to read the Toyon Berry marker. As the sun was setting the Wrentits began calling and we had a brief look.  We finally got onto a Nuttall's Woodpecker just before it disappeared into a cavity for the night!
The moisture in the sea air was heavy as we made our way back to the vehicle to call it a day and start the drive back to La Quinta.  We were having such a good time birding that we had not bothered to eat lunch so we both had one thing on our minds by now.  FOOD! 

Going north in the darkness we could see a fire raging on the hills that we had passed through earlier in the day and wondered.... 

San Elijo Lagoon

Henry picked them up in the afternoon of the next day and the adventure continued for two more days!  His pictures and the tale of their trip are on the next page.

As I put this page together, Southern California is on fire.  A large portion of the area that we had driven through to the south was burned.  None of the places in the photographs on these two pages has burned.  


Back to page ONE click here!
On to Henry's portion of the trip click here!

Photos Bob Miller