Login | Sign Up
Search all web:

Kolibri Expeditions - Peru Birding Tours and Birdwatching Holidays Worldwide

  South Peru  |  Manu Road  |  Central Peru  |  Lima Area  |  North Peru  |  Amazon Lowlands  |  Machu Picchu  |  5-day trips  |  World Birding  |  Bird Photography
    South America   |  North America   |  ASIA   |  C. America & Caribbean   |  Europa   |  Africa   |  Australia and Oceania  

Coastal California: Endemics and Pelagics 9 days


Yellow-billed Magpie - By Linda Tanner [CC-BY-2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

We choose 9 days over two weekends so you can pack in this tour with only 5 days off work. The tour begins in San Francisco and ends in Ontario and will be moderately paced. Birding on land will be mostly leisurely and relatively easy, while birding at sea can be quite difficult.  With four full days at sea and one channel crossing, we will have lots of time to study pelagic species. The other part of the tour will be focused on finding the California “near-endemic” species.  These are species that, within the US, are found either only along the pacific coast, or strictly within California. Our first two days will be a fast and furious introduction to pelagic birding with all-day pelagic trips on Monterey Bay and Half Moon Bay. This will be our first taste of birding out on the water and is an excellent chance to familiarize ourselves with common seabirds. With some luck, we'll be able to see a few species each of Storm-petrels and Shearwaters, at least one Albatross and Alcids such as Common Murre, Rhinoceros Auklet, and maybe Tufted Puffin.

Over the next few days, we’ll bird our way south towards Los Angeles, searching for such goodies as Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Yellow-billed Magpie, Tri-colored Blackbird, California Towhee, California Thrasher, California Gnatcatcher and more.  One of the days will include a ferry ride out to Santa Cruz Island to look for the endemic Island Scrub-jay. While there, we may also be treated to a few endemic subspecies, including a Loggerhead Shrike that is found only on Santa Cruz Island. The beauty of the island is incredible and we will be able to hike up into the island where we will be treated to some spectacular views. Some of the scenes in Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed here.

The final stretch will include mountain birds in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains, as well as dash to the desert at Salton Sea and Anza Borrego.  

No Departures for this Tour

If the departure dates don't fit you, please suggest another date.

Day 0:  Fly to San Francisco

Fly in to San Francisco in the afternoon. Meet for dinner, discuss plans for the week. Night in San Mateo close to San Francisco International Airport.

Day 1: Pelagic from Monterey

We shall leave San Mateo at 5 AM to drive to Monterey for an all day Fall Seabird Classic pelagic trip on Monterey Bay with Shearwater Journeys. We're literally jumping straight into pelagic birding on day one. This will be a fairly typical example of pelagic birding in Monterey Bay with good chance for Black-footed Albatross, all four Skua species, Red and Red-necked Phalarope, Sabine's Gull, Pink-footed, Sooty and Buller's Shearwaters, Ashy, Black and Fork-tailed Storm-petrels, Cassin's and Rhinoceros Auklets, Pigeon Guillemot, Pacific Loon, Arctic Tern and maybe Tufted Puffin Night in Monterey/Half Moon Bay

Day 2: Half Moon Bay Pelagic

Half Moon Bay Pelagic Trip with Shearwater Journeys. Half Moon Bay is a bit farther north than Monterey where the offshore canyons are not quite as close as in Monterey which allows for a more sharply defined edge between warm shallows and cold deeper water. Consequently there are possibilities for different species. We should have a good opportunity to study many of the same species as the previous day, but may also have a chance at Short-tailed and Laysan Albatross, Cook's Petrel, Black-vented and Flesh-footed Shearwaters, Scripp's Murrelet and maybe even a Mega, such as White-chinned Petrel, if we're extremely lucky. Night in Monterey

Day 3: Birding coastal Redwood forest to Morro Bay

Head south birding from Monterey, etc. We'll meander our way south, looking for Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Townsend's and Hermit Warblers, Marbled Murrelet, Pygmy Nuthatch and other landbirds of the coastal Redwood forests. Night in Morro Bay.

Day 4: California Condor at Big Sur and travel to Sta Barbara

Head south. We'll check along the cliffs of Big Sur for soaring California Condors and check along roadsides for Yellow-billed Magpies. The beach in Morro Bay may have some migrating shorebirds like Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, and we'll check the rocky shorelines for Surfbirds, Black Turnstones and Black Oystercatchers, Wandering Tattler and others. Along the way, we’ll stop to see a Sea Lion colony along the beach. Night in Santa Barbara.

Day 5: Birding Santa Cruz Island 

Island Scrub Jay - Chris West

Targets on the Santa Cruz Island apart from the endemic Island Scrub-Jay, endemic subspecies of Allen’s Hummingbird, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Horned Lark, Bewick’s Wren, Loggerhead Shrike, Orange-crowned Warbler, Rufous-crowned Sparrow and Song Sparrow. We usually also see the endemic Island Gray Fox.  Late afternoon birding. We'll check a few spots for California Gnatcatcher, White-tailed Kite and California Thrasher. Night in San Bernardino or nearby. 

Day 6. San Bernardino Mountains

Full day birding in the San Bernadino Mountains. White-headed Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Mountain Quail, Steller's Jay, Pinyon Jay, Tri-colored Blackbird, Mountain Chickadee, possiblyAmerican Dipper.   In the late afternoon we drive  to San Jacinto  trying to pick up missing species such as Oak Titmouse, Wrentit, California Towhee, Nuttall’s Woodpecker on the way. 

Day 7. Birding San Jacinto Mountain and drive to Salton Sea

San Jacinto mountains have similar species as San Bernadino Mountains. We spend the morning looking here and then we’ll head towards the Salton Sea hoping to do some birding in the afternoon and sessing out the site for the birding next morning. Night in Calipatria.

Day 8. 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. 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  and Pymgy Nuthatch.  We shall decide in the afternoon where we strategically shall stay this night, as we shall have most of the next day to look for species we may have missed.

Day 9. Clean up day.

Pick up day for species we may have missed. Perhaps we go to the coast to look for Elegant, Royal and Forster’s Terns, Snowy Plover, Least Tern and various  shorebirds or we may need to hit more Califonrnian oak forest for any special species we still need to see.  The trip ends in Ontario, CA where one can fly to various destinations in the US or get a shuttle to LA International (LAX). 

Price: US$ 2160

Price is $2150 with a group of 6 people. Includes two pelagics, a boat trip to Santa Cruz island, and guided birding for the entire 9 days. Transport in vans. Lodging in double rooms. SIngle room supplement TBA. Food is not included, apart from breakfast that are often included in the hotel. We will stop at roadside fast food options during day and have sit down dinners in the evenings.


Copyright © 2012 Kolibri Expeditions. All rights reserved.
Telephone: +51-1- 652 76 89. From the US: 011-51-1- 652 76 89. Cell: 988 555 938 (Gunnar) or 999 007 886 (Elia Gallo) - Email: kolibriexp@gmail.com