A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California

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


Crane Creek Regional Park, Santa Rosa, 95404

Location aliases: Apparently none. Usually referred to by its proper name or just Crane Creek Park.

©2011 Google – Imagery ©2011 DigitalGlobe, USDA Farm Service Agency, GeoEye, Map data ©2011 Google

©2011 Google - Map data ©2011 Google

Location: The official address is 5000 Pressley Rd., Santa Rosa, CA, 95404, but the park is actually due east of the town of Rohnert Park.

GPS address: 5000 Pressley Rd., Santa Rosa, CA, 95404

GPS Coordinates: The main parking lot is at 38.3441N, 122.6643W (or 38 20 39N, 122 38 40W)

Access: From the north (Santa Rosa proper), Pressley Rd. can be reached from Petaluma Hill Rd. (via Roberts Ranch Rd., which becomes Pressley Rd.) or Bennett Valley Rd., (via Sonoma Mountain Rd.), both in southeast Santa Rosa. From the south, can be approached via Petaluma Hill Rd. From Hwy. 101, the Rohnert Park Expressway exit will be closest. Coming from the south, the Railroad Ave. exit will be closer, but require more navigating through the town of Petaluma.

Several miles of easy walking trails. There is a $6 parking fee. Regional park annual pass holders ($65 at the time of writing) park free.

Habitats: Open grassy areas on rolling hills, scattered mature oaks with denser patches of mostly oak woodland. Creekside brush.

Typical Species: Canada Goose, Mallard, Wild Turkey, Great Egret, Turkey Vulture, White-tailed Kite, Cooper's Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Eurasian Collared Dove, Mourning Dove, Great Horned Owl (on a nest), Anna's Hummingbird, Acorn Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pacific-Slope Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Western Scrub Jay, Common Raven, Tree Swallow, Violet-green Swallow, Oak Titmouse, Bushtit, Bewick's Wren, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Western Bluebird, American Robin, European Starling, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Spotted Towhee, California Towhee, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Brewer's Blackbird, Bullock's Oriole, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, and American Goldfinch

Unusual birds, sightings: Lewis’s Woodpecker (11/07/15, Wendy Dandridge); Lark Sparrow (4/4/15, Colin Talcroft); Grasshopper Sparrow (4/4/15, Gordon Beebe); Lewis’s Woodpecker (1/25-2/11/2014, Linda Schneider); Lewis’s Woodpecker (Oct 20-25, 2013, Craig Roth); Bullock's Oriole (Apr 2, 2011--early arrival). Known as a good place to see Western Kingbird.

Restroom facilities: Public Restrooms by the parking lot, at the start of the trails.

Restaurants nearby:  Nothing in the immediate area, but the park is not far from Petaluma to the south, which is probably the best bet for lunch. For a proper sit-down lunch, my favorite has long been the Water Street Bistro at 100 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma CA 94952 (763-9563). Small, but delicious. Lombardi’s Barbecue (3413 Petaluma blvd. North, Petaluma CA 94952; 773-1271) has excellent sandwiches to eat in or to go. Try the pulled pork sandwich. Ask for your cole slaw IN the sandwich. Yum. If you're heading north, toward Spring Lake, Lake Ralphine or other points, see the relevant pages for restaurant recommendations.

Nearby attractions: The historic downtown area of Petaluma has restaurants, galleries, antique and other shops, mainly on Kentucky St. and the surrounding areas. Good for a stroll and shopping. This area has some good Victorian architecture.  If you’re in the mood for bargain hunting, the Petaluma Village Factory Outlets outside of town may be of interest, at 2200 Petaluma Blvd. North (778-9300). Petaluma has a nice Carnegie Library still in operation that houses a small museum of local interest. (built in 1904; 20 Fourth St., Petaluma CA 94952). For the gardener, Cottage Gardens is an excellent nursery, at 3995 Emerald Dr., Petaluma CA 94952 (778-8025).

Related bird watching spots: Close to the Sonoma State University campus, which is just to the west. Petaluma area birding locations are to the south (see Shollenberger Park, Lucchesi Park, and Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility). Annadel State Park, Channel Dr., Spring Lake Park, and Lake Ralphine are to the north.

Notes: Trails can be muddy in the winter months. Beware of poison oak in the wooded areas.  

The bird in the photo: Female Red-winged Blackbird, Crane Creek Regional Park, April 2, 2011

All photos by the author, unless otherwise indicated

Maps by Google Maps



© Colin Talcroft, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

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.