San Diego Christmas landscapes by the sea. Lately the days have been a chilly 62 degrees, which reminds us that it is Winter in San Diego, but we know that days of 70 degrees are just around the corner & Christmas Day is always a sunny day to walk on the beach. Super high tides have created crashing high-tide waves & the Ocean Beach & Pacific beach piers shake with the pounding surf. Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach is decorated with wreaths & a giant Christmas tree at the end. After sunset tiny white fairy lights sparkle along the entire length of the pier & the tree is a beacon of light. Ocean Beach has their traditional giant Christmas tree on the beach decorated with inflated beach balls & art that local school children have made. California Brown Pelicans play with branches as their plumage changes to brilliant Winter breeding colors of red & green. The pelicans change the spots they sit in on the bluff to soak up the sun. I start wearing sweats & make sure I have a jacket with me. The California Harbor seals are pregnant & soon there will be adorable pups to delight us. The California Sea Lions climb up to the top of the bluff to stay warm & dry as they nap. Sunsets this time of year are breathtaking because often there are real clouds in the sky (instead of Coastal fog). At the end of the short Winter day, the sun goes down in a ball of fire & the sky lights up with such vivid jewel-tone colors that my eyes can hardly take in the beauty. Nature creates spectacular special effects sunsets with her brilliant color palette to send us home to cozy beds with sweet dreams of the sea.
Lovely afternoon spent following the pelicans, gulls & terns feeding frenzy on Anchovy fish from Sunset Cliffs to Ocean Beach. The birds followed the fish, I followed the birds & ended up out on the OB Pier. Even the dolphins came to join in the fish party!
OCEAN BEACH PIER photographed from a distance (looking north to the pier). The Ocean Beach Pier is the 2nd longest pier on the west coast. The end of the pier is a t-shape, which extends the pier north & south, too.
View to the beach from the very end of the pier. See how long it is? This is why it’s like being out in a boat when you walk out on the pier!
At my local library, I found a beautiful picture book with all the piers in California. It was really fun to see how many piers I’ve actually been out in the state. Wouldn’t this be a fun bucket list trip?
This is a little café & bait shop on the pier. I like how you can sit inside & the view is of the end of the pier. Something about being out on the pier makes me think of the romance of making a living from the sea, but living by-the-sea is pretty romantic, too!
Here’s the view of the t-end of the pier & looking back to shore.
Walking out onto the pier is like being out in a boat without being on a boat! It’s quite a long walk & the view back towards the beach is wonderful. I really like how the pier is out beyond the wave breaks & the surfers. When you watch the waves breaking from behind them, it’s such an odd feeling & sort of reminded me like riding on a train backwards.
What led me out to the pier was following the feeding frenzy of the pelicans, terns & sea gulls on a giant school of anchovy fish.
I love it when the pelicans dive into the water! There were so many anchovy fish that the terns didn’t even have to dive. They just swooped down & scooped the tiny silver fish in their beaks & flew off. A meal without even getting wet!
This is a photo of one of the anchovy fish that a fisherman was using for his fishing bait. There has been a gigantic school of anchovy fish here recently & that’s what all the birds were feasting on.
The Ocean Beach pier is a very popular spot for fishing as the pier is long enough that the fishermen are fishing in very deep water out past the kelp beds offshore. Being out on the pier with fishermen gave me the opportunity to see what they were catching. I’m interested in this because I can actually see what the wild life I love is catching & eating. (I don’t eat fish myself.)
The first fish I saw is a Yellow Croaker fish. The dolphins eat this fish a lot. It’s a large fish & has a little “barbel” on the end of it’s mouth. It’s called a Croaker fish because it makes a sort of drumming noise. This fish is more a surf fish & the man who caught this bucket of fish caught them from the shore, not from the pier.
Pacific Bonito & Pacific Mackerel fish are so beautiful. Sea lions love Pacific Mackerel fish! I like the turquoise sheen on them & the stripes that remind me of the patterns of water. I researched these fish on the California Department of Fish & Wildlife website. You can go there and look up information about fish and see a photo and drawing of the fish, too.
I felt sad for these dying fish, but the cycle of life is for all of us on this planet. As an environmentalist, I think I have a responsibility to know as much as I can about nature. As an artist by-the-sea & a naturalist, I want to know more about ocean life.
This was such a lovely day to have a stay-cation by-the-sea.