A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California

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


Foothill Regional Park, Windsor, CA, 95492

Location aliases: Not sufficiently on the local bird-watching radar to have nicknames.  Usually referred to simply as Foothill Regional Park or Foothill Park.

©2014 Google – Imagery ©2014 DigitalGlobe, USDA Farm Service Agency. Map data ©2014 Google

Location: 1351 Arata Ln, Windsor, CA 95492, Phone: 565-2041; ranger phone 433-1625

GPS address: 1351 Arata Ln, Windsor, CA 95492

GPS Coordinates: Entrance is at 38.5612 N, 122.7977 W

Access: Foothill Regional Park is in the northeast corner of the town of Windsor. From Highway 101 heading north, use either Arata Lane (exit 499) or Old Redwood Highway/Central Windsor (exit 498). Using the latter, turn right onto Old Redwood Highway then left onto Hembree Lane. Follow Hembree Lane north to Arata Lane. The park will be on your right. Using the Arata Lane exit, head to the right (east) on Arata Lane until you see the park. Heading south on 101, reverse the directions above. Note that the exits are marked Windsor (498) and Arata Lane (499) on the southbound side of the highway. Note that Arata Lane and Hembree Lane blend into one another. Some maps may show the park on Hembree Lane

Recommended route: The Three Lakes Trail offers easy access to the three ponds. A full tour of the park involves the Three Lakes Trail, the Soap Plant Trail, the Meadow Trail, the Oakwood Trail, and the Westside Trail, a loop of 2.5 miles. See park map for details.

There is a $7 parking fee (at the time of writing in late 2014). See the park website for current information. There is a single parking lot at the main entrance to the park off Arata Lane.

Habitats: Freshwater ponds (three), mature oaks, mature evergreens, scrub, meadows, seasonal marshy areas. The three ponds east to west along the Three Lakes Trail are Pond A, Pond B, and Pond C. Park map.

Typical Species: Pied-billed Grebe, American Wigeon, Mallard, Common Goldeneye, Common Gallinule (Moorhen), American Coot, Great Egret, Snowy egret, Oak Titmouse, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Western Scrub-jay, American Crow, House Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black Phoebe, California Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Northern Mockingbird, Western Bluebird, Wild Turkey, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Turkey vulture, Cooper's Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Lesser Goldfinch, American Goldfinch. 

Unusual birds, sightings:  Lewis’s Woodpecker (1/8/15, Doug Shaw); American Bittern (1/1/2015, Doug Shaw); Least Bittern at Pond C (11/16/14-1/8/2015, Craig Roth, Doug Shaw). Phainopepla (1/16/2004, Lisa Hug)

Restroom facilities: Public restrooms at the trailhead in the parking lot.

Restaurants Nearby: Closest restaurants are in the town of Windsor

Nearby attractions: Windsor is pretty much due east of the Russian River resort area, which offers riverside lodgings, canoeing and kayaking (which allow you to bird along the river), and other activities. The town of Windsor offers typical northern California small town shopping. Windsor is close to the Dry Creek wine growing area. Many wineries in the area offer wine tasting and tours. Westside Rd., to the west of the town, along the Russian River is home to well known wineries, many specializing in Russian River Pinot Noir.

Related bird watching spots: The closest area is Shiloh Ranch Regional Park, southeast of the town of Windsor. If you’re moving south from Foothill Regional Park looking for other birding opportunities, see the Santa Rosa area pages and pages for locations further south. If you’re heading to the coast, from the Windsor area, north coast birding spots such as Jenner/mouth of the Russian River, Willow Creek Rd., and Duncan’s Landing will be closest. South from there, see the Bodega Bay area pages.



© Colin Talcroft, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

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.