Bicycling the Shoreline of San Diego Bay

Cooler air temperature draws me to the San Diego area a few times per year and sometimes the birding is excellent. This day I wandered by bicycle along San Diego Bay’s shoreline past areas I had not spent time before.

Leaving my Chula Vista campground, I bicycled parallel with the San Diego River, through an industrial area and naval entities. (San Diego is a naval city.) I’m riding a bike path at the start, then bike lanes past marinas and the Seaport Village which is touristy. I continued cycling along the shoreline. In the industrial area I saw hundreds of Dole containers arriving … with no doubt …. all forms of pineapples, and in the tourist area, many statues and some historical ships. I stood below these huge ships: “Star of India” and the “USS Midway”, both with history of their own. I read tributes at many statues recognizing military service from all armed forces. The “Cancer Survivor’s Park” provided excellent info which I’ll share in my next blog post.

USS Midway
Star of India

Yes, I saw some birds: terns, pelicans, pigeons, sparrows… but today was my slow day and seeing people enjoy the outdoors in ways not particularly my interest. The huge cruise ships, solo paddle boarders and every watercraft in between reminded me of personal previous sea-sickness! They were not pleasant memories, but to see the sunlight bouncing off the water on this day, I was good! I continued cycling to a lunch stop at a shady picnic table. This will be my turn-around point even though I contemplate riding further to Point Loma, but that is not to happen today.

People here are wearing masks and socially distancing in the touristy areas, thanks to it being a requirement! All of us outdoors can enjoy the sea breeze with hopes the Covid viral numbers go down.

The airport is across the road from where I am eating my lunch of cheese, crackers and hot green tea. (The tea is my usual mid-morning snack break so I brought it along today.) As I watch these planes land and take-off, I hope my air travel returns by 2022. I still have so much of the world to see! In the meantime California here I come!

What To Do On a Rainy Day in San Diego?

When you are tenting and it rains you never remain in your tent. Rainy morning meant a cold breakfast and finding activities to do between rain drops. I drove to see the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, the largest Ficus macrophylla represented in Balboa Park. It was planted in 1915. Measurements taken in 1996 put it at 78 feet high and crown width of 123 feet …. but they can grow to 150 feet… and this one certainly has the space to do it!

As I walked Balboa Park, walkers, joggers and a few Western bluebirds and black phoebes were around despite the light rain. I drove to Shelter Island, another relaxing place to walk even on a rainy day. The Pearl of the Pacific and Friendship Bell are located here. I only saw hearty fishermen on the piers and a couple of brave birds walking toward me seeming to think I had some food for them! No, that’s not the way it works!

The Pearl of the Pacific is an architectural project completed in 1998 by four international students from Russia, China, USA and Mexico, the Pacific Rim countries. Each part of the monument has a special meaning: Mexican Quetzalcoatl, Russian Siberian tiger, Chinese dragon and American shorebird. The message of blended cultures is an important one needed in these days too.

A short walk away is the Yokohama Friendship Bell presented from the citizens of Yokohama, Japan to San Diego in May 1958 as they are sister cities. This bell monument signifies the post-World War II friendship that emerged between the US and Japan. In 1957 these two sisters were the first sister city friendships on the west coast. 

A 2009 statue in front of the bell: “The Girl in Red Shoes” has quite an interesting history. This statue was inspired by a poem and song of a Japanese woman with many hardships to also care for her 3 year old daughter. The mother believed her daughter – who was wearing red shoes – boarded a ship with blue-eyed foreigners. It seems the new father-in-law arranged the adoption, but the child contracts tuberculosis, incurable at the time, and is taken to an orphanage. She dies there at the age of nine with her mother never knowing.

The rain is on – off, heavy – light, such moody weather and I am literally catching sights between the rains. I decide to find a restaurant serving fish tacos and clam chowder soup for a late lunch with hopes the rain will pass in an hour or so or by the time I head north to a bird-watching area.

The place I had lunch was okay, plenty of food but not as hot in temperature as I would like. The sun is coming out for full minutes at a time so I head to Mission Bay Park. No birds here, but a chance for me to stretch my legs for a few miles as it is a popular place with fishermen, walkers and runners. I noticed too in the parking lot many people sleeping in their vans, cars or RV. According to the sign, you just cannot be in the parking spot between 2 – 4 AM. I have noticed this other places too; sign for no parking between 3:00 – 4:30AM, which strikes me as really weird times for people to move – but homeless people living in their cars or campers not staying at RV parks can sleep, move when needing to and not pay anyone for a place to sleep.

Finally off to Kendall- Frost Marsh Reserve. You cannot walk through it from what I noticed so I set-up in a dirt lot just on the other side of the fence from the reserve. Motorbikes were behind me for a short while but I did see a few birds; new one for me is the gull-billed tern. Here are some photos and I especially was happy to see the female finch feeding the chick. Despite it being a gray and rainy day, it was a good day!

Look closely to see mother feeding the chick!