A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California

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


Bodega Bay: Campbell Cove

Location aliases: None. Bird watchers know it mostly by its proper name, Campbell Cove. Sometimes used interchangeably (causing a great deal of confusion) with “The Hole in the Head,” which is actually the pond and surroundings just inland from the cove. People often include the entrance to the Bodega Bay boat channel as seen from Campbell Cove as part of Campbell Cove. “Campbell Cove” may also refer to the parking area at Campbell Cove.

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

Location: At the end of Westshore Rd., Bodega Bay, CA beyond Owl Canyon and at the bottom of the hill reached by the switchback leading up to Bodega Head.

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

GPS Coordinates: 38 18 19N, 123 03 28W will take you more or less to the Campbell Cove parking lot.

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

Access: Free parking in the parking lot gives easy access to Campbell Cove and to “The Hole in the Head.” This area overlooks the Doran Beach area, but visiting Doran Beach requires backtracking all the way around Bodega Bay. The parking lot has been closed recently (late 2012) because of budget cuts, but there is roadside parking also on the ocean side of the road, before entering the Campbell Cove parking lot.

Habitats: Pacific coast, open ocean, light coastal woods

Typical Species: Red-throated Loon, Pacific Loon, Common Loon, Red-necked Grebe, Western Grebe, Bufflehead, Surf Scoter, Black Brant. All the common shorebirds may be present at water’s edge, but they tend to stay on the mud flats north of the Cove. Gulls and terns of many types favor the Cove and can be seen flying between the Cove and and the Doran Beach area (Western Gull, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull, Mew Gull, Heermann’s Gull, Bonaparte’s Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull and others). Pigeon Guillemot are often in the channel from early spring to late fall.  

Unusual birds, sightings: Rose-breasted Grosbeak (5/25/17, Dan Nelson); Bay-breasted Warbler (10/8/16, Ruth Rudesill); American Redstart (9/17/16, Chris Dunford); Northern Waterthrush (8/19-8/21/16, Lisa Hug); Black-throated Blue Warbler (10/7/15, Dea Freid); Clay-colored Sparrow (10/2/15, Ron Storey); Tropical Kingbird (9/20/15, Mario Balitbit); MacGillivray’s Warbler (9/16/15, Dan Nelson); Baird’s Sandpiper (9/13/15 Dan Nelson); Laughing Gull (7/22-7/25/15, Kirsten Lindquist); Palm Warbler (6/9/15, Dan Nelson); Tennessee Warbler (6/9/15, Dan Nelson); White-eyed Vireo (6/7-6/8/15, Dan Nelson); Prairie Warbler (9/15/14, Dan Nelson); Northern Waterthrush (9/10-9/12/11, Brooke O’Conner); Black-and-white Warbler (9/10-9/11/11, Brooke O’Conner); American Redstart (9/10-9/12/14, Brooke O’Conner); Summer Tanager (11/25/11/26/13, Denise and David Hamilton); Brown Booby (first county record--May 22-May 24, 2013, John Luther); Black Scoter (Feb 18, 2013, Bob Toleno); Black-throated Blue Warbler (Sep 24-25, 2012, Hugh B. Harvey); Barn Owl (Sep 25, 2012, Colin Talcroft); Clay-colored Sparrow (Sep 7-24, 2012, Dan Nelson); Common Tern (Aug 24, 2012, Rich Stallcup); Long-tailed Duck (Feb 16, 2012, Floyd Hayes); White-winged Scoter (Apr 1, 2010), Red-breasted merganser, Glaucous-winged gull (Nov 18, 2010); Ancient murrelet, Long-tailed duck (Dec 23, 2010) in the Channel area. MacGillivray's Warbler (Sep 2010)

Restroom facilities: Restrooms in the Campbell Cove parking lot and up the hill, at Bodega Head. If Campbell Cove restrooms are closed, head up 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: Near Campbell Cove is the “Hole in the Head.” Beyond Campbell Cove and the “Hole in the Head,” up the hill beyond the sharp switchback, is Bodega Head. Campbell Cove overlooks the Doran Beach area, but visiting Doran Beach requires backtracking all the way around Bodega Bay. 

The bird in the photo: Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster)--First Sonoma County Record (May 22, 2013), photographed May 23, 2013

All photos by the author, unless otherwise indicated

Maps by Google Maps




© Colin Talcroft, 2009-2016

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.