Natural La Jolla

  • Natural La Jolla: Pocket gophers spend time digging intricate burrows

    Natural La Jolla: Pocket gophers spend time digging intricate burrows

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: Last week, I spotted a little furry creature poking out of its burrow in the middle of a manicured lawn — it was a pocket gopher! Botta's pocket gophers (Thomomys bottae) are native to California and are mainly nocturnal rodents related to beavers, squirrels, chipmunks and rats....

  • Natural La Jolla: Brandt's cormorants now nesting at La Jolla Cove

    Natural La Jolla: Brandt's cormorants now nesting at La Jolla Cove

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: Birding could not be better than at La Jolla Cove right now. If you peek over the edge of the fence on the north side of the lifeguard tower, you'll be able to see a Brandt's cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) nesting rookery in mid-season. Over the past couple of months,...

  • Natural La Jolla: Do early blooms signal an early spring?

    Natural La Jolla: Do early blooms signal an early spring?

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: It was an exceptionally warm fall here in La Jolla, with record high temperatures being observed day after day. Temperatures on Thanksgiving Day tied the previous high record for that late in November (87 degrees F). Now that we are into winter, many of the flowering shrubs and...

  • Natural La Jolla: African tulip tree stuns with gorgeous blooms

    Natural La Jolla: African tulip tree stuns with gorgeous blooms

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: It's the beginning of fall here in San Diego, but our temperatures are still lovely and warm. This amazing climate allows us to have beautiful flowering trees and shrubs all year round, even as the weather starts to cool. One stunner of a tree is the African tulip tree (Spathodea...

  • Natural La Jolla: Summer fun in La Jolla as days wind down to fall

    Natural La Jolla: Summer fun in La Jolla as days wind down to fall

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: Summer is slowly drawing to an end as many kids are already heading back to school. It will still be a while before our temperatures dip down and we return to the cool breezy days of the fall, so there are plenty of things to see and do in La Jolla before summer fades away. Snorkeling...

  • Natural La Jolla: Clever oystercatchers forage along rocky shores

    Natural La Jolla: Clever oystercatchers forage along rocky shores

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: The black oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) is a conspicuous shorebird that may be found along the west coast from Alaska down to Baja California. It is seen less often in Southern California, because the birds prefer rocky shorelines. Oystercatchers are entirely black except...

  • Natural La Jolla: Risso's dolphins are playful pests to other cetaceans

    Natural La Jolla: Risso's dolphins are playful pests to other cetaceans

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: The Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) is a species that is fairly commonly seen off La Jolla, and they are widely distributed throughout the world's oceans. However, they are inconsistent in their distribution or reliability of being spotted. Risso's like deep water, where they...

  • Natural La Jolla: Coastal walks provide chance to spot wildlife

    Natural La Jolla: Coastal walks provide chance to spot wildlife

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: The best way to see La Jolla is to travel on foot. At a slower pace, you are able to take in the sights and notice the little things that you would otherwise miss. La Jolla has no shortage of places to walk and enjoy nature without feeling the crush of people. Here are just a...

  • Natural La Jolla: Showy snowy egrets are elegant fishers

    Natural La Jolla: Showy snowy egrets are elegant fishers

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: The snowy egret, Egretta thula, is a small and delicate shorebird with beautiful plumage. They are also one of the easiest herons to identify because of their pure white feathers, yellow skin near their beaks, piercing yellow eyes and bright yellow slippers. They have black legs...

  • Natural La Jolla: It's a new year and a new migration season!

    Natural La Jolla: It's a new year and a new migration season!

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: Spending an afternoon in La Jolla at the seaside just watching for wildlife can give you some calm after a hectic holiday season. Many of the animals in our area are gearing up for migrations, breeding seasons and spring. January is when we start to see southbound gray whales...

  • Natural La Jolla: Willets, whimbrels and godwits forage winter shores

    Natural La Jolla: Willets, whimbrels and godwits forage winter shores

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: On almost any walk along the beach, particularly at the Shores, you'll see foraging shorebirds with long legs, wandering along the tideline and into the water halfway up their legs, probing in the sand with their long beaks to find buried prey like insects and invertebrates. There...

  • Natural La Jolla: Acrobatic Pacific White-sided Dolphins move into our area

    Natural La Jolla: Acrobatic Pacific White-sided Dolphins move into our area

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: They had long been on my list of marine mammals to see. A few weeks ago, I was able to check Pacific White-sided Dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) off that list. Sometimes referred to as Lags because their scientific name is a mouthful and their common name is long, these...

  • Natural La Jolla: A delicious fruit that can be found growing wild

    Natural La Jolla: A delicious fruit that can be found growing wild

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: The prickly pear, in the Opuntia genus, is a group of cactus with many uses. It is native to this area, and throughout the Americas, where it grows wild along roadsides and on hillsides. It's a great forage fruit for many animals and for us, too. Indian fig (Opuntia ficus-indica)...

  • Natural La Jolla: So much beauty under the sea!

    Natural La Jolla: So much beauty under the sea!

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: Our beautiful fall sunsets full of red and orange tones are in full bloom; the sun is still warm during the day, but there's a cool breeze and chilly nights. Lobster buoys bob offshore (the season has been open about a month now) and each morning you see little boats tending to...

  • Natural La Jolla: The fragrant frangipani is in bloom!

    Natural La Jolla: The fragrant frangipani is in bloom!

    NATURAL LA JOLLA: Associated with tropical climates and swaying palm trees, the frangipani (Plumeria rubra) is a beautiful flowering tree that can be found here in La Jolla in a more shrubby version of itself. The gorgeous flowers vary in color from pure delicate white, to white tinged with yellow,...

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