Birding California - Pelagics and Endemics
Day 0 Friday night. Meet-up at LA motel (to be announced)
Tour officially begins:
Day 1 Saturday: LA Birding and drive to Salton Sea.
Early wakeup, Birding around L.A. Our targets will be the “California” birds. We’ll spend the morning at Irvine Regional Park, Peters Canyon and Santiago Oaks for Oak Titmouse, Wrentit, California Thrasher, California Towhee, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, etc before heading to the coast where we’ll hit Bolsa Chica Biological Reserve and Upper Newport Bay for Elegant, Royal and Forster’s Terns, Snowy Plover, Least Tern, various other shorebirds, California Gnatcatcher, and then By late afternoon, we’ll head towards the Salton Sea. Night in Calipatria.
Day 2. Sunday. Birding Salton Sea and Borrego Springs
We’ll get up early and spend the cool morning hours birding around the Salton Sea looking for Yellow-footed Gull, Laughing Gull, Forster's Tern, California Gull, and other waterbirds, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, maybe Ladder-backed and Gila Woodpeckers, Costa’s Hummingbird and Abert’s Towhee, Gambel’s Quail, California Quail, Sage Sparrow, Curve-billed Thrasher. Then we’ll head to Borrego Springs where we’ll search for Le Conte’s Thrasher before heading to Cuyamaca Rancho for a quick chance at White-headed Woodpecker, Mountain Quail, Pymgy Nuthatch and Pinyon Jay. Night in San Diego.
Days 3-5: Monday-Wednesday: 56-hr Pelagic with Buena Vista Audubon.
This trip will take us out to the edge of the Continental Shelf in search of Red-billed Tropicbird, Laysan, Black-footed and possibly other Albatross, the newly split Guadeloupe Murrelet, Sabine’s Gull, Black-vented Shearwater, Arctic Tern, all four Skua species, and possibly Cook’s Petrel. On Wednesday upon arriving back at the dock around 3pm, we will head north to Santa Barbara and settle into our hotel for the night. Night in Santa Barbara
Day 6: Thursday:: Bird from Santa Barbara to Monterey.
On this day, we will check out the wine-country of Solvang for Yellow-billed Magpie, and then head north towards Monterey. We’ll make a stop at the Elephant Seal preserve, then pass through Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, and stop in Big Sur to look for California Condor. Then we’ll hit Point Lobos for Townsend’s Warbler, Pygmy Nuthatch, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Brandt’s and Pelagic Cormorants and a good chance of seeing Harbor Seals. Night in Monterey
Day 7: Friday. Monterey Pelagic.
We’ll get up early to join Shearwater Journeys out on the world-famous Monterey Bay.
Seabirding is unpredictable at best, but we’ll look for Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Skuas, Murrelets, Auklets, Murres, Loons, Phalaropes and more!
Night in San Jose
Day 8: Saturday: Half Moon Bay Pelagic.
We’ll join Shearwater Journeys once again, but in a different part of the ocean. This time, we’ll be on the lookout for the uncommon Cook’s Petrel and the Mega Hawaiian Petrel. Most other pelagic species are expected as well. Night in San Jose
Day 9: Sunday: Bird around Bay Area.
This will be a rather more leisurely day to end the trip with. We will start early and head south to Monterey before looping back north again. Our route will include a morning stop at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and possibly Henry Coe State Park, and then a couple hours at Mt Diablo State Park where we will have a last ditch attempt at any of the higher elevation chaparral species. The tour will conclude at the hotel in San Jose. From where shuttles can take you to your airport of choice. Don't plan for flght earlier than 7 pm.
Photo: Black-footed Albatross by Chris West.