A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California

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


Porto Bodega, Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Location aliases: Pretty consistently referred to by bird watchers as Porto Bodega (although frequently misspelled as “Port ‘o Bodega” or “Port o’ Bodega” or “Port o Bodega”). No nicknames or aliases in common use. The marina is officially Porto Bodega Marina. People may occasionally refer to the area as being “down by the Sandpiper Restaurant,” although the Sandpiper has relocated to Pelican Plaza. Note also that “Diekmann’s Basement,” the area below Diekmann’s Bay Store, is accessed from here.  

Location: Porto Bodega Marina, Bodega Bay, CA 94923

GPS address: 1500, Bay Flat Rd., Bodega Bay, CA 94923

GPS Coordinates: 38 20 00N, 123 03 05W

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

Access: There are two distinct areas for birds at Porto Bodega. Enter the large parking lot by driving straight in and staying along the side of the lot that runs parallel to the dilapidated dock on your left as you enter (on the right in the map)--a favorite spot for cormorants, gulls, and other birds.

Continue straight ahead and park in front of the boat dock to see birds that hang out on the broken paling behind the dock area (photos below). 

Habitats: Commercial fishing/boating pier, Pacific Ocean coast, tidal mud flats.

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

Typical Species: On the dilapidated pier: Western Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Heermann's Gull, Elegant Tern, Forster’s Tern, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Black-bellied Plover. In the water and on the mud flats around the pier, look for: Willet, Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, Black Turnstone, Ruddy Turnstone, Double-crested Cormorant, Western Gull, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull, Pied-billed Grebe, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper. Loons are frequently present along with typical ocean-going ducks in the winter (Ruddy Duck, Common Goldeneye, Scoters, etc.). In the parking lot area, House Sparrows and Brewer's Blackbird are common. Various gulls like to hang out in the parking lot as well. Belted Kingfishers are occasionally seen among the boats and over the parking lot. Look for Osprey overhead and Brown Pelicans over the water. At the commercial boat pier, the broken piling is a favorite hangout for Black Turnstone, Ruddy Turnstone, Willet, Whimbrel, Dowitchers, various gulls, Forster’s Tern and Elegant Tern in season. Note the photo posted here (immediately below) shows the pier at very high tide. Usually much more of the palings is visible.
More unusual birds, sightings: Black-legged Kittiwake (1/14/17, Scott Carey); Black Vulture (10/22/16, Rick LeBaudour); Common Tern (9/19/15, Scott Hoppe); Red Knot (1/7/14, Gene Hunn); Bald Eagle (Feb 6, 2014, Kathleen Mugele); Common Tern (late September, 2010). 

Restroom facilities: Portable toilets in the parking lot.  

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

Nearby attractions: See the Bodega Bay Overview page for details.

Related bird watching spots: See the Bodega Bay Overview page for geographical context.  

Notes: 1. The dilapidated pier is scheduled to be torn down at some time in the future. The area around the pier and the former Sandpiper Restaurant building has been redeveloped. There is now a building that houses the relocated Gourmet au Bay and Ginochio’s Kitchen..

2. The commercial boat dock and boat owners don't appear to mind quiet bird watchers coming down to look at birds, but remember that the pier is private property. Technically, entering is trespassing.

The bird in the Photo: Heermann's Gull, Porto Bodega, September, 2010

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.