Shooting Pelicans And Other Fun Things

Living in a destination city like San Diego means there’s never a shortage of things to do.  Today, Kongo and his troop headed out to Cabrillo National Monument in the Point Loma area of San Diego.

In September 1542 Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed a small flotilla of Spanish galleons into what is now known as San Diego Bay and claimed the coast for Spain.  He described it as  a good harbor.  He stayed six days before proceeding up the coast and died after breaking a limb during a skirmish with indians on one of the Channel Islands about 100 miles north.

Kongo keeps an eye out for California Brown Pelicans as he basks in the sun at the Point Loma tide pools

Kongo was originally just going to check out the sea life in the tide pools but there was a large number of brown pelicans hunting along the surf line that were irresistible.  They looked like a bunch of torpedo bombers driving in for a kill.  Although these big birds are awkward ashore, when they are in the air they are majestic expert flyers.

A single pelican scans the surf looking for small fish in the waves
A pair of pelicans hunt together. In the distance a line of cormorants look for breakfast too.
Close up of pelicans over the surf.

The California coast here is relatively soft and constantly crumbling which creates the areas in this rocky intertidal zone that we call tide pools — actually depressions in the rocky shore that hold seawater when the tide goes out and trapping a rich variety of sea life.  You can spot small fish, sea anemones, star fish, and barnacles.

Barnacles and a few sea anemones exposed and out of the water
Sea anemones in shallow water
A small fish trapped in a tide pool
The rocky coastline of the tide pools
The Point Loma coastline looking north
The Coronado Islands, about 8 miles south of Point Loma in Mexican waters. Note the optical illusion at the base of the islands caused by temperature inversion

The original Point Loma lighthouse closed in 1891 because it was placed in an awkward position.  It was ABOVE much of the fog that made navigation dangerous during certain times of the year.  The photo below, courtesy of Wikipedia, shows the original lighthouse.

Original Point Loma Lighthouse.
The lighthouse in use today.  It sits just above sea level and below the fog layer.
The lighthouse in use today sits just above sea level and below the prevailing fog banks.

From the top of Point Loma one can get some of the most spectacular views of San Diego. Kongo loves showing the city off to his crew.  Interestingly, several visitors to the top of Point Loma saw Kongo’s gang getting their picture taken and now a bunch of grandmothers from Iowa and Indiana have souvenir photos of Kongo.  Who knew?

Kongo's troop taking in the view of San Diego
Cheeky, Kongo, Missy, and Valentine take in the view of America’s Finest City
The famous Hotel Del Coronado as seen from Point Loma
San Diego Bay as seen from Point Loma.

Cabrillo National Monument is open every day except Christmas from 9 to 5.  It has an excellent visitor’s center that provides much educational material about the history, sea life, and ecology of the Point Loma area.  More information can be found at  On really beautiful days (which is about 90 percent of the time in San Diego) it’s a good idea to get there early so you can get a place to park.  When too many visitors are in the park, the rangers will restrict traffic.

For this post, Kongo used his Canon D40 and two lenses, a Canon EFS 18-55 MM telephoto and a Canon EFS 55-270 MM telephoto.

Travel safe.  Have fun.

13 thoughts on “Shooting Pelicans And Other Fun Things

  1. A little later in the Spring, we get the brown pelicans coming thru and feasting on fish. They are so much fun to watch! There is even a bay around the stateline called Pelican Bay, and is what they named the local maximum security state prison after. (ugh)

    1. I’ve been to Pelican Bay…not the maximum prison…and it is beautiful. You are waaay up there in Northern California, aren’t you. i remember camping at Cresent City as a boy of 16 and catching three king salmon…the smallest one weighed 55 pounds. I don’t think there are many of those left but it was great on the campfire!

  2. I love pelicans! One day in January, I spent hours on a SW Florida beach doing nothing but watching pelicans dive into the surf. (Well, that and getting sunburned!) It was so much fun!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your blog is great Kongo. I’ll be back soon for another visit to see what else you’ve been up to.

    1. 1. The San Diego Zoo & Balboa Park
      2. The beaches — La Jolla, Ocean Beach, Sunset Beach
      3. Downtown Gaslamp for night life
      4. San Diego Bay…sailing, the USS MIDWAY, whale watching
      5. Torrey Pines State Park and the Scenic Drive

      Have fun!