A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California

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


Duncan's Landing, Bodega Bay CA 94923

Location aliases: None. Note that Duncan's Landing addresses use the Bodega Bay zip code, but Duncan's Landing is outside of the town of Bodega Bay, about six miles to the north.

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

Location: Highway 1, about six miles north of Bodega Bay and about five miles south of the town of Jenner.

GPS address: 100 Emry Rd. Bodega Bay, CA should take you to the loop. Technically this is outside the town of Bodega Bay, but houses in the area have Bodega Bay addresses and most GPS units will probably require choosing Bodega Bay for the address. If not, just look for the "Duncan's Landing" sign at Emry Rd., about six miles north of Bodega Bay or five miles south of Jenner.

GPS Coordinates: The intersection of Hwy 1 (shown on the map as Coast Hwy. 1) and Emry Rd. is at 38.3957N, -123.0930W (or 38 23 44N, 123 05 34W).

Access: Emry Rd. gives access to a one-way loop around the top of Duncan's Landing, which overlooks Duncan's Cove and the Pacific Ocean. There is free parking in a small lot to the right after the road forks, but there is ample space to park to the left side of the road at the fork. No one seems to mind if you park there or at the side of the road elsewhere for short spells where there is space, as long as you don't block cars making the loop.

Habitats: Brush, rocky coast, open ocean

Typical Species: Excellent spot for watching gulls and shorebirds that prefer rocky coastal areas, including Wandering Tatler and Surfbird. Among the few spots in the country where Black-legged Kittiwake is occasionally reported. Otherwise, typical species include: Horned Grebe, Western Grebe, Brandt's Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Common Murre, Surf Scoter, Black Turnstone, Black Oystercatcher, Western Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Bonaparte's gull, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Northern Harrier, Say's Phoebe, Brewer's Blackbird, European Starling, Savannah Sparrow, and others.

Unusual birds, sightings: Black Scoter (at Wright's Beach, November 2, 2011); Thayer's Gull (November 2, 2011); Glaucous Gull (Jan. 29, 2011); White-winged Scoter (Jan. 27 and Jan. 23, 2011); Red-necked Grebe (Jan. 23, 2011); Pink-footed Shearwater (Jan 23, 2011); Black-legged Kittiwake (Jan. 8, 2011); Marbled Murrelet (Nov. 6, 2004). Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle have been sighted inland at this point along the coast.

Restroom facilities: None in the immediate vicinity. Closest will be about five miles to the north, in the town of Jenner. If you're headed south, Bodega Bay is about six miles. Some of the beaches marked along the coastal highway have restroom facilities, but not all. Some of these may be closed because of state budget cuts.

Restaurants Nearby:  If you’re headed south to Bodega Bay, it may make sense to eat there (see the Bodega Bay Overview page for restaurant suggestions), but there are choices along the highway to the north of Duncan's Landing as well. Just on the south side of the bridge over the Russian River is The Sizzling Tandoor, which offers good if not especially exciting Indian food (I've heard it's best in the evening) with a good view (9960 Hwy. 1, Jenner, CA 95450, 865-0625; bring your binoculars out on the deck in the summer). If you're headed north from Bodega Bay, take the left fork in the road after the bridge to continue north on Hwy 1. The right fork will take you east, away from the coast, into the town of Duncans Mills where Cape Fear Café (long one of the best restaurants in the North Bay area, although I haven't been recently) offers very good food with a southern flavor (25191 CA Route 116, 865-9246). Continuing east on State Route 116 will take you toward Guerneville, Sebastopol, and Santa Rosa. Continuing north on Hwy 1 brings you to Jenner. The Jenner Sea Store has sandwiches and the like (10438 Hwy 1, Jenner, CA 95450, 865-2906), or, if you feel like something more substantial, try the River's End Restaurant just north of Jenner proper (11048 Hwy 1, Jenner CA, 95450, 865-2484). There is also a new restaurant called Café Aquatica at 10439 Hwy 1, Jenner, CA 95450, across the street from the gas station, but I don't know anything about this place yet.

Nearby attractions: Fort Ross (pictured) at Fort Ross State Historic Park is 16 miles (about 20 minutes) to the north of Duncan's Landing, at 19005 Hwy 1, Jenner, CA 95450 (847-4777 for general information). The fort and associated buildings were built in 1812 as a Russian fur trading hub and supply outpost for Russian traders as far north as Alaska. There is an $8 parking fee. The museum is worth a visit. You can also walk down to the coast from here to do more birding. See the Bodega Bay Overview page for attractions to the south.

Related bird watching spots: The Bodega Bay area is to the south. See the Bodega Bay Overview page for information on Bodega bay birding spots. To the north is Willow Creek Rd. (page under construction) on the south side of the Russian River, and the mouth of the Russian River, at Jenner.

Notes: 1. Some GPS devices may call Hwy. 1 "Coast Hwy. 1." Some devices will put you near Los Angeles rather than around Jenner if you input addresses using Hwy 1, depending on how their databases code the name (using Hwy 1 or Coast Hwy 1 or California Hwy 1, etc.). Before starting off using a GPS, be sure you are, in fact, headed where you want to go.

2. Gasoline is expensive here, but if you're low and heading north, best to fill up in Jenner as there is only one other small, very expensive station between this area and Gualala, nearly 40 miles to the north.

The bird in the photo: Western Gull, Duncan's Landing, Feb. 26, 2011. Adult in breeding plumage

All photos by the author, unless otherwise indicated

Maps by Google Maps



© Colin Talcroft, 2009, 2010, 2011.

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.