A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California

(Unless otherwise indicated, all phone numbers are in the 707 area code)


©2011 Google – Imagery ©2011 DigitalGlobe, USDA Farm Service Agency, GeoEye, Data CSUMB SFML CA OPC Map data ©2011 Google

Location aliases: While the entire tip of the peninsula at the mouth of Bodega Harbor is Bodega Head, local birders generally use the name to refer to the parking area and lookout point shown on the map above.

Location: At the end of Westside Rd., Bodega Bay. On the outer Pacific Coast bluffs above Campbell Cove.

GPS address: None appropriate, as there are no addresses here.

GPS Coordinates: 38 18 13N, 123 03 52W will take you to the Bodega Head parking lot.

Tide information: See the NOAA Tides & Currents page for Bodega Harbor

Access: Free parking in the parking lot at the Head. As you approach, you’ll need to keep to the right when the road forks.

Habitats: Coastal bluffs, open ocean, rocky shoreline, coastal scrub

Typical Species: On the rocks immediately below the overlook, look for Pelagic Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Black Oystercatchers, Surfbirds, Western Gulls, Heermann’s Gull. On the open water, look for Surf Scoter, Pacific Loon, Common Loon, Eared Grebe, Brown Pelican, White Pelican, Pigeon Guillemot, and Common Murre. In surrounding areas and overhead, Great Fgret, Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Western Scrub-jay, American Crow, Common Raven, White-crowned Sparrow, and American Goldfinch may be present.

Unusual birds, sightings: Vermillion Flycatcher (4/25-5/2/18; Trudy Sirkis); Rock Sandpiper (11/5-11/28/17, Kirstin Lundquist and Roger Marlow); Black Scoter (4/19/17, Scott Carey); Long-tailed Duck (4/19/17, Colin Talcroft); Harlequin Duck (3/7/14, Dan Williamson); Lapland Longspur (9/22/13, Scott Carey); Blue-footed Booby (9/20-9/22/13, Scott Carey); Blue-footed Booby (9/17/13 Alan Wight--first Sonoma County record); Rock Sandpiper (Feb 10-18/13, Dave Shuford); Ancient Murrelet (11/22, 2012, Scott Carey); White-winged Scoter (11/22, 2012, Scott Carey); Long-tailed Duck (11/22, 2012, Scott Carey); Cassin’s Auklet (11/22, 2012, Scott Carey); Marbled Murrelet (8/25, 2012, Colin Talcroft); Wandering Tattler (August 24, 2012, Daniel Edelstein); Wandering Tattler (4/28, 2012); Long-tailed Duck (2/8 2012, Peter Colasanti); Black Scoter (February 8, 2012, Peter Colasanti); Ancient Murrelet (February 8, 2012, Peter Colasanti); Long-tailed Duck (December 6, 2011, Ruth Rudesill); Long-tailed Murrelet (December 5, 2011, Rich Stallcup); Red-throated Loon, Ancient Murrelet, Marbled Murrelet (Dec. 27, 2010); Ancient Murrelet (Jan. 5, 2010). A number of species nest here, including cormorants, gulls, and occasionally Pigeon Guillemot.

Restroom facilities: Restrooms in the parking lot. Also at Campbell Cove parking lot down the hill.

Restaurants Nearby: See the Bodega Bay Overview page for restaurant recommendations.

Nearby attractions: See the Bodega Bay Overview page.

Related bird watching spots: Below Bodega head are Campbell Cove and the Hole in the Head. Campbell Cove overlooks Doran Beach, but visiting that area requires backtracking all the way around Bodega Bay.

Notes: Bodega Head is also known as a whale-watching spot.

All photos by the author, unless otherwise indicated. Maps by Google Maps




© Colin Talcroft, 2009-2017

Unless noted, all photos by the author. If you would like to use one of my images, please ask for permission for non-commercial use with proper credit or commercial use with proper compensation.


Bodega Bay: Bodega Head