Torrey Pines State Reserve: Trip 2
July 9, 2011

Here is the story of another day at Torrey Pines State Reserve. Neither running nor briskly walking was necessary as the sun shone brightly and warmly above me as I began the hike: no need to rush to catch the sunrise or sunset. I took a different trail that ultimate led to the same beach entrance but featured a different route. The landscape was flat for the most way lending little shade for animals and hikers alike from the midday sun. Additionally, this trail was very popular, with ten times as many visitors as the one from the previous trip.

Today's highlights included pretty wildflowers sparsely populated along the fringes of the sand. They are sometimes difficult to spot, but if sidetracked by a squirrel, I may just notice it before moving on. The infrequent findings made each flower that much more special: red buds emanating from a white stem, clustering purple blossoms clinging to eroded soil, and a singular yellow-petaled bloom seemingly modeled after a fraying cloth-plant.

The landscape in the reserve is interesting: further north, the Torrey Pines' distinguishing shape lines the cliffs and provide shelter for wildlife while the southern trails, however, have little cover, as seen in the effects of weathering upon the ledges. This erosion reveals a colorful striping of layers of sediment from earlier times, which is somewhat aesthetically appealing. I should stay sometime to see if a colorful sunset can enhance the picturesque sand sculptures.

Animals in this neighborhood were difficult to spot in the low-lying shrubs, but after waiting a while, squirrels and small birds began to emerge and chatter. Characteristic to busy trails, photographing sensitive animals is difficult. Early in the hike, I had been somewhat disappointed to miss a few fledgling bushtits. Just as I had spotted one hopping about ahead of me, conversing hikers approached and subsequently scared the bird down the hill and out of range. I kept the camera out for the duration of the hike just in case I would come across animals as the sun moved toward the horizon. It was textbook luck that I spotted a family of bushtits in a shrub along the access road on the border of the park. The little birds darted around and clung to twigs and branches upside-down, yet here is one success, a Charlie-Brown looking bushtit.