Tag Archives: san diego national wildlife refuge pictures

Lizard in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Not even close

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

One of my goals for taking regular hikes out at the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge is to see wildlife in the wild. I’ve seen a coyote, and lots of birds, of course. My ultimate goal is probably to see some sort of venomous snake in the wild. I’m pretty sure we don’t have king cobras here, or bushmasters, but we do have rattlesnakes. Ah, to see a rattlesnake in the wild. That would be so cool.

As the days continue to get warmer and longer, more wildlife is showing up. Yesterday a big fellow, over a foot long, stopped me dead in my tracks, so to speak. It’s not even close to being a rattlesnake, but it sure was a beautiful blue color:

Lizard in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Remember that if you’re coming to San Diego for business or pleasure, you are supposed to call me so we can meet up! With enough warning, I can play Docent for a Day! Don’t come on April 25 or 26; those days are already reserved for a blogging friend coming in from points north, in this case, near Sacramento.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Sunset at Sunset Cliffs

The new year’s first warm cloudless day

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I was up the entire night last night watching Novak Djokovik and Stan Wawrinka play an awesome five-set match at the Australian Open Tennis Championships. Djokovik won 1-6 7-5 6-4 6-7(5) 12-10. I think it was around 6:00 a.m. my time when the match finally ended.

Apparently I was so tired that I didn’t hear Zoey the Cool Cat trying to wake me up to play fetch with her red ring so she got a little upset, jumped on the dining room table (where she knows she’s not allowed), and proceeded to knock a glass bottle onto the floor. Broken glass everywhere. However, I was wide awake after just an hour’s sleep.

After cleaning up the broken glass, I decided to punish the Cool Cat by taking off and leaving her at home. Here she is in the office window staring at me as I was leaving:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The expression on her face tells you she’s not exactly happy about me taking off.

I went out to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge where, after all the recent rains, I found a vernal pool that is not on any of my vernal pool lists:

Vernal pool and Mount Miguel

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As I came to the historic Sweetwater River Bridge, built in 1929, I found a motorcycle club taking pictures of their bikes:

Motorcycle club

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Every single owner had a smarty pants phone, and they all were trying to take pictures. After watching them for a minute or so, I asked them if they would like to give all their phones to me, go get on their bikes, and I would take a group picture with each of their phones. That’s what I did.

Later on I discovered a new trail that I had not been on before. However, someone else was using it:

Home of a homeless person

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The guy was still sleeping. I looked in my wallet and found that all I had was a ten dollar bill. I put it just inside the “doorway” at the right and placed a rock on top of it so it wouldn’t blow away. I hope I brought a little happiness to someone today.

I spent about six hours wandering around the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. I also found out that the Refuge was expanded from 9,200 acres to over 11,000 acres over the Christmas holidays. When I got home, look who was waiting for me in the office window. What a welcome!

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

After eating and taking a shower, I headed out to Sunset Cliffs to watch the sunset. Today was the first cloudless warm day of the new year so I thought there was a good chance to see the green flash. For those of you who don’t know about the green flash, see Wikipedia.

Although I did see the green flash, it wasn’t a strong one so it didn’t make a good picture. Here are three pictures that I did get at Sunset Cliffs:

Bird of Paradise

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sunset Cliffs

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sunset at Sunset Cliffs

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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James Frimmer, Realtor
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sweetwater Bridge in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Further exploration of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I discovered the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge a few months ago, but with about 9,200 acres, there is a lot of discovering to do. Although the map says there are several entrances to the Refuge, I haven’t discovered them yet, so I’m relegated to the entrance with the historic Sweetwater Bridge:

Sweetwater Bridge in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I constantly see people out there on the bridge taking pictures of it and family photos. Even wedding parties show up to take pictures of themselves with the bridge in the background.

As I continue to explore the Refuge, making my way deeper into the wild, I continue to discover new things, such as this bridge, aqueduct, and dam:

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge map

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San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

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I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Dead trees in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Dead can be beautiful

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Long-time readers know that I have a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management from Texas A&M University. My minors (if Texas A&M recognized minors) would have been civil engineering and organic chemistry.

My intent when I enrolled at Texas A&M was to go into structural engineering, i.e., gaining as much from the forest as we could to build our homes and businesses. Research and development with a forestry company like Weyerhauser, Texas Pacific, Louisiana Pacific, or Georgia Pacific. Even though I have never used my degree, I still have a great appreciation for trees, even dead ones.

Dead trees in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

I found that beauty in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge where I have been hanging out on a regular basis.

For more about the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge see these posts:

I’m trading in my beach sandals for hiking boots

A lonely sycamore grove

It’s a staredown

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sycamore grove in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

A lonely sycamore grove

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Out in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge where I’ve been taking my daily walks, there is a river — I use that term loosely because if you saw what we call a river, you’d laugh your head off — running through the place. It’s the Sweetwater River. Since there is some water in it, there are some river bottom trees growing along it, such as willows, cottonwoods, and sycamores. I came across a small sycamore grove yesterday which made a beautiful picture with the morning sun shining on it. I took two pictures and had Photoshop merge them:

Sycamore grove in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Coyote in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

It’s a staredown

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

One of my favorite places to go walking is the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. I just discovered it a couple of months ago (see San Diego National Wildlife Refuge). It’s just eight miles from me, is far less populated than the beaches, and has more interesting wildlife than the beaches. On my walk this morning, I got into a staredown with this little beauty:

Coyote in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I saw him (or her) before he (or she) saw me, but when she (or he) finally saw me, he (or she) stopped and simply stared. We probably stared at each other for about a minute before I slowly started walking forward, snapping pictures all the while, to see how close I could get. That picture was the final one before she (or he) took off in the opposite direction.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Not too long ago I found a national wildlife refuge that previously I did not know about. It’s the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge:

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge map

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It is not in any of my San Diego books about hiking, biking, walking, running, or national thises and thats. Time to turn to………………….

Russel Ray, Private Investigator.

The San Diego National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1996. Ah-ha! That explains my lack of knowledge about it. I arrived in San Diego in April 1993 and, in March 1994, decided to stay here. At that time I bought a bunch of books about San Diego County, all published well before 1996. Hmmm. Maybe it’s time to get some more recent books.

According to some articles I found on the Internet, “The San Diego Refuge will protect, enhance, and restore habitats for threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and rare plants and animals found in a variety of habitats. It will help conserve the biological diversity of San Diego County and provide important habitat for a significant number of endangered birds. It has been designated a Globally Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy.”

Although it was originally established with 8,471 acres, it now comprises over 9,200 acres.

There ya go! My work is done.

Oh, wait!

I guess you want some pictures, huh? You folks are demanding.

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

According to a plaque I found, many of the trails throughout the area where I walked were created by Samuel Marks as his Eagle Scout service project in August 2006. The plaque you see by the fence in the rear center of the picture above indicates that the area behind the fence is filled with San Diego Ambrosia (Ambrosia pumila), a small, endangered plant only a few inches tall that grows in dry, sunny spots in southeast San Diego County.

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I walked around the trails for three hours but obviously did not even come close to traipsing all 9,200 acres. Somewhere in all that acreage are 30 acres of vernal pools with San Diego fairy shrimp, San Diego button celery, Otay Mesa mint, and California orcutt grass. Vernal pools are puddles of water that exist for a few hours to a few days after rains. In my home state of Texas, we actually called them “puddles of water” and stomped around in them to get all muddy and wet, to the chagrin of our parents. Who knew that tiny organisms were born, lived, and died in those puddles of water in just a few hours or days? Not to mention that I feel so bad now knowing that I might have been stomping the life out of some tiny creatures belonging to Mother and Father Nature.

This last picture is of a nasty, invasive plant called dodder. To see additional pictures and a discussion of dodder, see my blog post here.

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos