This Del Mar photographer seeks the light fantastic via time-lapse videos

By Peter Jensen with Thomas Close


Del Mar resident Thomas Close has his camera set up nearly every day for spectacular time-lapse artworks. You’ll often find him on the bluffs and beaches of Del Mar at sunset (this photo of Tom with faithful companion ”Sawyer” was taken in Del Mar, not at Torrey Pines). 


He also loves the Extension near Red Ridge as a place to catch the pink rays of dawn or a sunset’s fade to indigo. His time-lapse work is especially moving (no pun intended) as it captures the changing colors and marching clouds of our coastal skies. 


A retired United Airlines pilot, Tom has a special knack for being at the ready with his digital camera during the tumultuous weather and cloud-sailing skies we’ve been having this winter. Here are three of his Vimeo-posted works specific to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. One of them with Del Mar guitar-virtuoso Pepe Romero accompaniment.

On The Come-Back Trail to High Point

Scripps Foundation-funded improvements are almost complete

By Peter Jensen

Poor High Point! A good number of trees have died here in recent years, victims of the drought, and the old railing made of peeler poles was usually in a state of falling-down disrepair. But this trail is finally on the “come back.”


Thanks to a generous grant from the Scripps Family Foundation last year, and the hard work of a private contractor joined by park maintenance and Docent crews, a new railing and bench are in, and the Reserve’s service crew is started on re-vegetation of the trailhead beside the road leading to the original Guy Fleming House. 


The High Point handrail may shock some of you at first. For starters, it’s brand new, so the galvanized pipes stand out visually. Weathering is expected, and this should mute the raw-looking newness a great deal. We are told that the railing may be painted at a later date to blend it into the landscape (if necessary). State Parks officials specified galvanized pipe for longevity, affordability and to meet State Park railing standards.

TPA's Third Annual Bird Hike

A March bird-watching hike in the Reserve's Extension saw nine TPA members and their Docent leaders, Kathy Dickey and Jack Friery, rambling over chaparral-lined trails and into the bright sunlight of the "DAR" ridgeline-the Daughters of the American Revolution trail. 

Kathy and Jack are superb hike leaders. Kathy "spots" birds as often with her ears as her eyes. Jack carried his 50x zoom spotting scope, and it paid off from an overlook when he focused in on an osprey atop a pole along Carmel Valley Road. 
Both speak knowledgeably on other interesting topics related to the Reserve: in particular, Kumeyaay culture and botanical oddities. 
All hands survived the eroded parts of the trails, and in particular, climbing over a large tree that had toppled during the big wind storm of early March. 
Here's Kathy's list of birds seen, or heard. 

TPA Wildflower Hike

Even though this year there are not many wildflowers, TPA members and docents alike enjoyed their stroll along the Guy Fleming Trail. Our amazing guide, docent and wildflower enthusiast Margaret Fillius shared a wealth of information. The hikers learned not only about wild flowers but about different kinds of pollination, native and invasive plants, the history of the Reserve, and so much more. If  you missed the hike and would like to learn more, check out Margaret Fillius' book "Native Plants" in the Lodge gift store. Bring your TPA membership card and receive a 10% discount at the store. Membership expired? Renew here!

"Birds of the Torrey Pines Extension" by TP Docent Kathy Dickey

Photograph by Kathy DickeyThe Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve (TPSNR) Extension provides a wide variety of habitats for birds, and each species uses specific areas for their feeding, nesting and shelter activities.  Habitats include the majestic and rare Torrey pines, coastal sage scrub, upland chaparral, and a small riparian area. We are fortunate that these beautiful habitats are preserved into the future for all the plants and animals that live there, and for those humans who enjoy encountering them. 

The Extension is home to at least 45 species of birds, and many hundreds of individuals, but not all are present in any given month. Monthly bird counts performed over many years by the Torrey Pines Docent Society typically tally from 17 to 35 species, depending on the season and the weather.

Art in the Park

This photograph by professional photographer John Durant (who is a TPA Counselor) is being interpreted by a painter and we hope will soon grace the Parry Grove gates until they are removed forever. Keep an eye out!


California State Parks Water Conservation Measures

Notice: California State Parks continues implementing water conservation measures within its state park system. Effective July 15, all state parks and beaches will shut off outdoor rinse stations. View full media release here.

The Quail's Call

It’s 8 a.m. and our small band of birdwatchers is greeted with a cheery hello from our guides, Kathy Dickey and Jack Friery, who get things started right away by pointing out an Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna), our County’s most abundant hummingbird and a permanent resident. We learn to differentiate between males and females, and to recognize their characteristic displays and figure-eight flight.
Climbing a tree nearby is a Northern Flicker (pictured), San Diego County’s largest woodpecker. Unlike other woodpeckers, however, it feeds mostly on the ground and loves to dine on ants. 

Status Update -- Los Penasquitos Lagoon

by Mike Hastings, Executive Director of the Los Penasquitos Lagoon Foundation
Background - Why the inlet closed
Recently the ocean inlet at Los Penasquitos Lagoon closed due to large volumes of sand and cobblestones pushed into the lagoon from ocean tides and wave events from the previous winter and spring. While large rainfall amounts occurred during the end of February through to early March, the exceptionally large waves that occurred along the San Diego coast during the same time abated any benefits associated with lagoon outflows augmented by storm runoff. The waves that hit the coast on March 1 were extremely large and well outside of norm for this coastline. It is most likely that it was this wave event that ultimately plugged up the inlet.

Vector Management - Mosquitos and Midges
The County's Department of Environmental Health has been alerted of the inlet closure and will determine the most effective means to control mosquito populations until the inlet is re-opened.

Challenges at the Lodge

Every old structure has issues, and our Reserve's beloved Lodge is no exception. The cracks are alarming. The downspouts are falling down. Drainage near the structure is non-existent in some areas: in fact, one corner of the grounds simply drains into the crawlspace under the Lodge!

What to do? TPA and State Parks have completed the first step. TPA commissioned architect Ione R. Stiegler, FAIA, of La Jolla to prepare a "Historic Structure Report for the Torrey Pines Lodge." The report has been submitted for TPA's review. Some of it is incredibly detailed (i.e. "Cross-section Paint Microscopy Report..."). Other sections provide historical overviews and construction histories of previous alterations that are downright fascinating. All of it is essential to helping us plan any future restorations and/or renovations that are as historically accurate and cost-effective as possible.

Torrey Pines Association

P.O. Box 345
La Jolla, CA 92038