Sunday, January 28, 2024

La Jolla Beach, Pelicans and Sea Lions

San Diego Metro KOA

Chula Vista, CA

January 24, 2024

(Just a reminder to click on the pictures for a much sharper image.) 

The La Jolla coastline is a photographers dream and it doesn't matter how many times we have walked there, it is always one jaw-dropper after another.  Incredible views, rocky reefs, hidden coves, sandy white beaches, and 300 feet tall cliffs are just a few reasons why this 7 mile stretch of coastline is a popular beach destinaiton.  The name La Jolla comes from the Spanish phrase "la joya" which means "the jewel" truly is !

I have been wanting to see Brown Pelicans since we arrived here.  On all of our outings I would say when we headed home, "No Brown Pelicans today."  They just happen to be one of my favorite birds and I love photographing them.  Wednesday morning we joined Carol and Ronnie for a walk at La fingers were crossed.   We usually park between the Children's Pool and The Cove.  The sidewalk follows the curve of the shoreline with gorgeous views of the ocean on one side and lots of green space and residences on the other side. Finding something to photograph is not a challenge.

I love this !


This artist is Paul Straham.  We stopped to admire his work and chat for awhile.  Some of his landscapes include the ocean and are done with beautiful vivid colors.   We chose a print he had painted of the pier with the cottages on it at Mission Bay  It is a wonderful reminder of a place we love to visit and the memories we have made. 

It turned out to be my lucky day.  I have never, ever seen so many Brown Pelicans.  

And this was just one small portion of one cliff...there were hundreds more pelicans!

The immature Brown Pelicans are gray-brown with pale whitish belly and breast.

Adult breeding Brown Pelicans on the Pacific coast have a red color on their neck.


The concrete breaker at the Children's Pool seems to be holding steady as we had read it had been damaged the first of the month.  We were happy to see snoozing seals.  This space is off limits to humans this time of year and reserved for the seal's birthing months. 

We were just discussing the whereabouts of the sea lions when we rounded a corner and stopped short in our tracks...

Sea Lions are known for their intelligence, playfulness, and noisy barking.  Their fur ranges in chocolate brown seen in males to a lighter, golden brown seen in females.  Males are much larger weighing in between 600-850 pounds and 7 feet in length while the females grow to 200-250 pounds and up to 6 feet in length.  

A noisy conversation...and we all know girls rule!

A mom and pup and my first time to see feeding time.

Seal Lions are a member of the otariid or "walking seal" family.  They have large flippers they use to walk on land.

These amazing creatures have a beautiful dog-like face and external ear flaps. 

Seal Lions often congregate in large groups when on the shore.  I read that they don't just cuddle for the heat.  Being very sociable marine mammals, they gain much more by chilling out on the rocks with friends than one might imagine... strengthening family relationships to finding a mate are important social skills for them. 

It was a most delightful morning topped off with lunch at Miguel's Mexican Restaurant on The Island with Carol and Ronnie.  The outdoor patio was perfect...

...and the queso was the best we have had.

I'll close with a few extra photos... 

Until next time, 



  1. I think you've discovered where the brown pelicans like to hang out! La Jolla beach and pools never disappoint ... if you can find a parking spot :) :)
    Miguel's Cocina is part of the Brigantine family including Brigantine Seafood and Oyster Bar in IB.

    1. Hi Jeff...we sure hit the jackpot for brown pelicans at La Jolla. Such magnificent birds they are. Parking can be a bit of a challenge...we got lucky last week...but for me (Joe or Ronnie might not agree) it is always worth the effort. I love taking photos there! You always have the bestest info...we will have to give the Oyster Bar in IB a try sometime!

  2. A blog full of gorgeous photos--the pelicans, the seals, the flowers--that truly is a stunning section of coastline!

    1. Good morning Janna….it really is!

  3. Oh my goodness! How beautiful! The sea lions were absolutely adorable! They have such sweet faces. :)

    1. Hi Jill…I know, aren’t they just the cutest ever? I always enjoy a few hours at La Jolla. One year I was lucky enough to catch low tide there…what a real treat that was photographing all the ocean creatures pooling among the rocks and boulders.

  4. Your pelicans are fabulous. They're such majestic creatures with a very goofy side :-) I'm missing the beach seeing all your wonderful adventures. Adorable sea lions. Love the pic of the lone beauty with the splash behind - perfection!

    1. Hi Jodee….and thank you! I do love looking thru photos and finding surprises like the lone sea lion and the splash. Pelicans are so much fun to photograph. And I especially loved seeing so many immature pelicans this year…so dang cute!