A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California
(Unless otherwise indicated, all phone numbers are in the 707 area code)SCBWS_front_page.html

Sonoma County, CA: Birding itineraries

If you're traveling in the area with limited time, the following three locations are likely to be most productive

  1. Bodega Bay (one or two days)

  2. A circuit coming in from the north and east (Sebastopol or Santa Rosa) might begin with a check of the Bodega Farm Pond. From there, stop at Porto Bodega to check the dilapidated pier and the commercial pier at the Marina. Follow that with the north end of Bodega Harbor and a walk around the rail ponds. Next, head to Gaffney Point, and from there to Owl Canyon, Campbell Cove, “The Hole in the Head,” and Bodega Head before backtracking to take the road down to Doran Beach. If you have more than one day, add Smith Bros. Rd., The Tides Wharf area, Diekmann’s Bay Store, a more extensive investigation of the mud flats on either side of Gaffney Point, the trees at the entrance to the Marine Lab residences, and a walk around “The Hole in the Head” (rather than just a look from the deck over the pond). See the Bodega Bay Overview page and the individual location pages for details.

  3. Spring Lake/Lake Ralphine (one day)

  4. My favorite way to see these areas is to begin by parking at the upper parking lot at Lake Ralphine to begin a walk taking the lower path north along the right (or east) side of the water until reaching Spring Lake for a full circuit of that lake. The entire trip is three to four hours at a leisurely pace. Spring Lake alone can be done in two to three hours. See individual location pages for details.

  5. Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility/Shollenberger Park (one day)

  6. To see these two areas, I recommend parking first at the main Shollenberger Park entrance and proceeding toward Adobe Creek. After checking the Adobe Creek area, return to the parking lot and drive down to the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO) offices on Cypress Dr. Park on the street and head straight out along the dike that extends from the back of the PRBO parking lot, checking both sides of the dike. Then, return and drive down to the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility for a full circuit of the trails that go around the ponds there. See individual location pages for details.


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

Unless noted, all photos by the author. If you would like to use one of my images, please ask. I'm happy to allow non-commercial use with proper credit or commercial use with proper compensation.