Best Photos from our Readers and Staff

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: CALIFORNIA GNATCATCHER

January 19, 2019 (San Diego) – Robert Gehr shot this photo of the illusive California Gnatcatcher (Polioptilla Californica) at the waterscape in downtown El Cajon as this tiny male bird flitted about, snatching small insects from the air as its food source.
 
“Listed as a threatened species, these uncommon feathered friends are interesting to watch as they forage for a meal,” says Gehr.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: CHANUKAH FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS IN EL CAJON

December 26, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Bettie Wells shared these photos taken Dec. 22 in downtown El Cajon, where Mayor Bill Wells lit a menorah in honor of the opening of Chanukah, the eight-day Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights.

The event was organized by Chabad of East County and featured firefights dropping gelt (chocolate coins) from atop a firetruck ladder, music, remarks from local dignitaries and unveiling of what organizers claim is the world's largest dreidel, a spinning top in the Jewish tradition.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: THANKFUL AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS IN ALPINE

East County News Service
 
Photos courtesy of Kelly Massey at Lions, Tigers and Bears
 
December 1, 2019 (Alpine) – At the Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary in Alpine earlier this week, exotic big cats and bears enjoyed some special Thanksgiving enrichment.  In addition to savoring raw turkey dinners, the animals also enjoying romping and frolicking in the newfallen snow.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: GIARDINO AND COMMUNITY CELEBRATE SECOND ANNIVERSARY

By Miriam Raftery

November 12, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Giardino Neighborhood Cucina celebrated its second anniversary last night, treating all guests to a delicious array of complimentary appetizers as well as toasts with champagne and lavender-vodka lemonade.

The appetizers include savory meatballs, cheese platter, olives, strawberries and more.  Guests also enjoyed live music and a festive ambience with red and gold balloons.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: TRENDY PUMPKINS

By Miriam Raftery

October 14, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Just in time for Halloween, Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson sent in these pics of “super-trendy pumpkins” spotted at Sprouts market. Why settle for a mundane round orange pumpkin when you can liven up your holiday décor with choices such as a Fairytale or Cinderella pumpkin that looks like a princess’s coach?  Or a knobby Knucklehead variety to add texture to your pumpkin patch display.  How about a ghostly white Jarradale pumpkin to add a spooky effect?

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: HOLY HALLOWEEN, BATMAN! GIANT PUMPKIN GROWN IN EAST COUNTY

East County News Service

September 27, 2019 (El Cajon) – Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson snapped this image of a Batman-themed giant pumpkin grown in a rural area of unincorporated El Cajon.

J. Jansson-Berndes says he supplied the special seeds and Vince George grew it under his tutelage. It weighs 1,036 lbs.-- more than half a ton. 

Jansson-Berndes drove up with the pumpkin to participate in the Irvine Park Railroads'  2019 Great Pumpkin Weigh - Off. But it wasn't the biggest entry!

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: INTERNATIONALLY ENDANGERED PARROTS BRIGHTEN UP EL CAJON

East County News Service

August 17, 2019 (El Cajon) – Photographer Robert Gehr snapped this close-up of a Red Crowned Amazon Parrot (Amazona Vindigenalis), aka Green-Cheeked Amazon parrot, aka Mexican red headed parrot - eating pepper tree berries in downtown El Cajon on East Main Street.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: THE FACE OF POISONING

By Debbie Merrill

August 5, 2019 (Jamul) - This was the breeding male of a Jamul coyote pack. The first image was taken before he ingested most likely a poisoned rodent, based on his symptoms. He had already recovered from mange, also most likely due to rodenticide poisoning. The second is a picture of him the afternoon before he died, and one of his last attempts at standing.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: COTTONTAIL RABBIT

East County News Service

July 19, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Robert Gehr sent in this photo of a native Cottontail Rabbit spotted near city hall in downtown El Cajon.  Winter rains have encouraged growth in grasses and native wildlife that rely on grasses for feed and habitat.

Remember to avoid use of chemical pesticides on your grass, which can also harm cute critters like this one!

LAKE JENNINGS SPRING PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS

Source: Helix Water District

July 10, 2019 (Lakeside) -- Helix Water District has announced the winners of its 2019 Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest. 

Now in its eighth year, the contest drew 60 entries from throughout the county. This year’s theme was Life at the Lake, and each of the entries highlighted the unique beauty of camping, fishing, hiking, spotting wildlife and enjoying the view at Lake Jennings in Lakeside. 

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: SPECTACULAR SUNSET

East County News Service

June 30, 2019 (Mt. Helix) – Yvonne Goff shot this spectacular sunset from her home on Mt. Helix. Where else but San Diego could you frame a sunset with a pine tree and a palm tree?  Meteorologists say Thursday night’s dazzling sky show was due to high humidity in the air – or maybe it’s just magic.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: LIGHTS FANTASTIC AT HUBBELL HOUSE CHAPEL

June 27, 2019 (Julian) -- No, our editor hasn't gone punk. The vivid colors on her hair, hands and stone floor below are caused by sunlight filtered through stained glass crowning the "chapel" building at Hubbell House near Julian, which was recently open for the facility's annual Father's Day Tour.

The complex includes the home, studios and galleries of famed artist and architectural designer James Hubbell.  Proceeds from the tour benefit the Ilan Lael Foundation, working to keep alive the magical artistic style created by Hubbell for future generations to enjoy.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT

 

 

East County News Service

June 1, 2019 (El Cajon) – Robert Gehr snapped this photo of a crow in El Cajon. “It was keeping an eye on me as I photographed the antics of it, being a bit playful,” he writes.

Crows are highly intelligent, capable of recognizing individual human faces and have even been trained to talk.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: BORREGO RAINBOW

 
East County News Service
 
May 22, 2019 (Borrego Springs) -- Rob Amato shot this idyllically posed photo of a rainbow arcing over horse statues by artist Ricardo Breceda in Borrego Springs.
 
You can read more about world-famous metal sculptor Breceda at his website: http://ricardobreceda.com/
 
Find a map and details on the Borrego sculptures at https://www.desertusa.com/borrego/bs-art.html#newmap.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: PACIFIC CREST TRAIL

East County News Service

May 8, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Greg Dunne recently hiked 77 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.  He sent in these two photos. The first is at the trailhead start in Campo near the Mexican border. The second image is about 50 miles north near Garnet Peak, between  Mount Laguna and Julian, overlooking the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: BORREGO BLOOMS AND BIRDS

 
 
East County News Service
 
Photos by Renee Owens
 
March 24, 2019 (Borrego) -- The Anza-Borrego Desert's superbloom season continues.  Wildlife biologist Renee Owens sent in these beautiful images showing fields of wildflowers and a beavertail cactus in bloom.  She also captured images of two birds that frequent California's largest state park, the California quail, our state birds, as well as a black-throated sparrow.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: LUPINE AT INDIAN HEAD

 

 

East County News Service

March 21, 2019 (Borrego Springs) – Bob Kutscher has sent yet another gorgeous shot of wildflowers in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  These purple lupine are blossoming along a trail to a ridgeline to Hidden Saddle east of the Cove at Indian Head Mountain. 

HELIX WATER DISTRICT LAUNCHES 2019 LAKE JENNINGS SPRING PHOTO CONTEST

 

 

Source:  Helix Water District

March 19, 2019 (Lakeside) - Helix Water District has launched its eighth annual Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest to share the beauty of its reservoir with the local community. The contest is open to photos taken at Lake Jennings between March 1 and May 31, 2019.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: CATCHING A WHOPPER AT LAKE JENNINGS

 

 

East County News Service

March 19, 2019 (Lakeside) – Steven Scouten sent in this photo of his son, Justin, with a large-mouth bass caught at Lake Jennings in Lakeside this past week.  “It’s 10 pounds—his personal best,” Scouten says. 

You can find more information about fishing, including special fishing events, at Lake Jennings by visiting http://www.lakejennings.org/.

MIGRATORY BUTTERFLIES FLUTTER ACROSS REGION

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 13, 2019 (Borrego Springs) – This year’s super bloom season has brought an added bonus.  “Butterflies are gracing us with even more color,” says photographer Bob Kutscher, who snapped this image south of Clark Lake in the Anza-Borrego desert.  Swarms of the Painted Lady butterflies on their migratory path from Mexico are being reported across Southern California.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: PEOPLE WATCHING AND WILDFLOWER JAMS

 
 
East County News Service
 
March 12, 2019 (Borrego Springs) – If you’re going wildflower watching in the Anza-Borrego desert area, several sources tell us that the desert floor is now in full bloom—and with wildflower season comes tourists and traffic jams.

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