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California endemics and seabirds 9 days.

 
 INTRODUCTION:
This nine-day tour is a pelagic birder’s dream trip to California!  We will focus on Pelagics, endemics, near-endemics and specialties at Anza Borrego and the Salton Sea and along the beautiful coast of southern and central California. 
 
Note that the schedule is subject to change. 
 
Our route will take us from the urban wildlife preserves of Los Angeles south along the coast to balmy San Diego, then out to the deserts of Anza Borrego and the Salton Sea before heading out on the open ocean to look for offshore pelagics. Then, we will head north through L.A. to the coastal scrub and Chaparral near Santa Barbara where we will catch the ferry over to Santa Cruz Island. Then we’ll head north along the winding but spectacular US Hwy 1 through Big Sur and up to Monterey where we will go on another pelagic out on the famous Monterey Bay. We’ll then do some birding between the forests of Big Sur and Point Lobos before heading to Santa Cruz where we will see the cliffs of central CA before getting to spend time exploring a Redwood forest. The final day of the tour will be spent birding the coast of Point Reyes near San Francisco, where the tour will end.  
 
The pace of this tour will be fairly fast. We will cover long distances in short amounts of time which will make for long days. The advantage to this though, is that we will see lots of birds. 
 
Arrival will be at Los Angeles International the evening of Aug 9th. The tour officially begins the morning of Aug 10th and ends the evening of the 18th in San Francisco.  
 
Our first day will be spent hitting some of the local hotspots in the urban L.A. area. Our first stops of the day will be at Irvine Regional Park and some of the surrounding preserves to search for some of the endemics like California Thrasher, California Towhee and Wrentit. Other possible birds include Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Barn Owl, Western and Clark’s Grebes, Western Bluebird, Black Phoebe and Oak Titmouse. 
 
We’ll spend part of the afternoon between Bolsa Chica Biological Reserve and Upper Newport Bay for California Gnatcatcher, Royal, Elegant, Forster’s and Least Terns, Snowy Plover, and possibly Pacific Golden Plover and Clapper Rail.  We’ll then work our way down the coast with a quick stop at Crystal Cove where we’ll have our first taste of Heerman’s  and Western Gulls, Black Turnstone, Surfbird and possibly Wandering Tattler.  We’ll spend the night in San Diego. 
 
On our second day, we’ll make an early run to the barren desert of Anza Borrego for Le Conte’s Thrasher, California Quail and possibly Mountain Quail, before heading to the world-famous Salton Sea; the only place in the US where Yellow-footed Gull regularly occurs and the only place in California where Laughing Gull regularly occurs. Then we’ll head to the coast and spend some time looking for California Gnatcatcher, Towhee and Thrasher (if we didn’t already see them), and possibly make a run out to the Least Tern reserve on Silver Strand for another shot at Least Tern, Snowy Plover, Red Knot, Surfbird, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit and more. Night in San Diego.  
 
The 12th-14th will be spent aboard the Grande as we venture to the edge of the continental shelf in search of truly pelagic seabirds. The possibilities for vagrants is endless and the regular birds are quite good. Scripp’s and Guadeloupe Murrelets are often seen as well as Red-billed Tropicbird, Cook’s Petrels and sometimes Laysan Albatross. Upon arrival back at port, we will head to Santa Barbara for the night. 
 
The next morning, our fifth day, we’ll make an early run to Solvang to search for Yellow-billed Magpie, Nuttall’s Woodpecker and Lawrence’s Goldfinch before heading back to Ventura for a trip out to Santa Cruz Island for a chance to see the endemic Island Scrub-jay.  When we arrive back at the dock, we’ll head straight to Monterey for the night with a couple stops if time allows. It is possible to see Elephant Seal along this stretch of road. 
 
In Monterey, we will go on another pelagic trip, this time out on the famous Monterey Bay where almost anything is possible. Possible species include Black-footed Albatross, Sooty, Pink-footed and Buller’s Shearwaters, Black, Ashy, Wilson’s and Fork-tailed Storm-petrels, all four Skua species, Red and Red-necked Phalarope, Cassin’s and Rhinoceros Auklet’s, Common Murre and Pacific Loon. Upon arrival back at the dock, we may have time to bird along Cannery Row out to the point, or possibly time to visit the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. 
 
Our second day in Monterey will be a long one. We will start off the day with a run south to Andrew Molera State Park and Big Sur to look for California Condor. We’ll then head back north to Point Lobos to look for Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Pelagic Cormorant, Townsend’s Warbler, “Audubon’s” Warbler, Brandt’s and Pelagic Cormorants among others. We will also have a decent chance at seeing Sea Otters, Dolphins and Sooty Shearwater. Then we’ll swing north to Santa Cruz where we will pick up Marbled Murrelet, Tricolored Blackbird and more Pelagic Cormorants. We will then take a walk through the awe-inspiring Redwoods at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. By late afternoon, we will head to San Francisco, cross the Golden Gate Bridge, with a stop for sunset photos of course, and spend the night in San Rafael. 
 
Our final day in California will begin at the famous Point Reyes where we will look for anything that we missed and include a swing through Mt Diablo State Park and San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  The tour concludes late afternoon at Oakland International airport.


 DEPARTURES:
No Departures for this Tour


If the departure dates don't fit you, please suggest another date.
 
 GALLERY OF BIRDS ON THE TOUR:
[No Pics in Tour]


 THE TOUR:

Day 0:

arrive at L.A. International in the evening, have dinner, settle in at the motel for the night. 
 

Day 1:

Birding our way south to San Diego.  We’ll hit some local hotspots 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 head down the coast to Crystal Cove where we’ll get our first taste of Heerman’s and Western Gulls, Surfbirds, Black Turnstone and maybe Wandering Tattler.  Night in San Diego. 
 

Day 2:

Early morning run out to Anza Borrego where we will search for Le Conte’s Thrasher, California and Mountain Quail, White-headed Woodpecker and Pygmy Nuthatch along with other desert species like Greater Roadrunner, then we'll head to the Salton Sea 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
By mid to late afternoon, we'll head back to San Diego and, if we missed them the day before, spend time looking for California Gnatcatcher, California Thrasher and California Towhee, Allen’s and Anna’s Hummingbirds. Otherwise, we’ll head out to Silver Strand to look for shorebirds like Red Knot, Surfbird, Whimbrel and possibly Snowy Plover and Least Tern.  Night in San Diego.
 

Day 3-5:

If we have time before the pelagic, we’ll have an optional early morning jaunt to the nearby Point Loma to look for MacGilivray’s, Townsend’s and Audubon’s Warblers, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Allen’s Hummingbird and other passerines before heading off on a deep water pelagic aboard the Grande to the edge of the continental shelf in search of Guadeloupe and Scripp’s Murrelets, Black-footed and other Albatrosses, Sooty, Pink-footed, Cory’s, Buller’s Shearwaters, Cook’s Petrels, four species of Storm-petrels and Red-billed Tropicbirds  
 
Night of day 5h in Santa Barbara 
 

Day 6:

Begin the morning with an early run to the old Danish town of Solvang to look for Nuttall’s Woodpecker, California Thrasher, Yellow-billed Magpie and more. By 8:30, we’ll be down in Ventura to catch the 9am ferry to Santa Cruz Island where we will go for a leisurely hike and look for Island Scrub Jay and other island endemic plants and animals.  Upon arrival back at the dock we’ll make the long drive up the coast to Monterey where we’ll spend the night.


Day 7:

We’ll be up early, have a light breakfast and join Shearwater Journeys for a trip out on the famous Monterey Bay to look for seabirds; Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Auklets, Murres, Loons, Phalaropes and more.  
 
Upon arrival back at the dock, we will decide whether or not we have time to take a spin through the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row. 
 
Night in Monterey


Day 8:

We will get an early start and head south to Andrew Molera State Park where we will search for California Condor before making a quick stop at Point Lobos for Pelagic Cormorant, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Townsend’s and Audubon’s Warblers. Then we will head north with a quick stop at Elkhorn Slough for marsh birds before hitting the cliffs at Santa Cruz for Marbled Murrelet and making a concerted search for Tricolored Blackbird. 
 
From Santa Cruz, we will run up to Henry Cowell Redwoods State park and spend some time wandering through this spectacular forest, home to some of the largest Redwoods in the world.  By late afternoon we will head to San Francisco in order to watch the sunset from the Marin Headlands at the Golden Gate Bridge overlook.  
We will spend the night in San Rafael on the north side of the bay. 
 

Day 9:

This will be a rather more leisurely day to end the trip with. We will start early and head straight to Point Reyes where we will spend a good portion of the day. The birding here is awesome and the habitat is quite varied. Our targets will be anything that we missed earlier in the trip.  Our route to the airport will include a short stop at San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge and 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 Oakland International Airport.
 


 TRIP SUMMARY:
 
 PRICE :

No Prices for this Tour



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