A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California

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


Lucchesi Park, Petaluma CA 94954

Location aliases: None. Generally referred to by its proper name, Lucchesi Park.

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

Location: Main entrance is at 320 North McDowell Blvd., in Petaluma.

GPS address: 320 North McDowell Blvd. Petaluma, CA 94954.

GPS Coordinates: The parking lot is at 38.2524N, 122.6306W (or 38 15 08N, 122 37 50W).

Access: This is a Petaluma city park with free parking.

Habitats: Freshwater pond, urban park, creekside woods

Typical Species: American Coot, Mallard, Ruddy Duck, Western Gull, California Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Red-winged Blackbird, Canada Goose, Brewer’s Blackbird, Turkey Vulture, American Crow, Black Phoebe, Western Scrub-jay, Raven, Northern Mockingbird, Bushtit, American Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, House Finch, Starling, American Goldfinch, Song Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow

Unusual birds, sightings: Glaucous Gull (1/7/18, Gene Hunn); Kumlien’s Iceland Gull (2/26/16-2/28/16, Ron Storey); Black-bellied Whistling Duck (10/27-10/31/15, Peter Colasanti--a bird presumably that was earlier seen at Lake Ralphine and then at Roberts Lake); Canvasback, Common Merganser (both unusual here), Jan. 9, 2011. A single Ross's Goose has been resident (reportedly since about 2001), although the absence of this bird was noted for the first time since then in October 2015. There is a small group of feral Greylag geese. Since around 2008, there has been an interesting pair of Mallard x Wood Duck hybrids present (photo below). The park can be an excellent place to compare gull species in the winter. There is usually a good crowd of relatively tame gulls that allow leisurely comparisons.

Recommended route: Chiefly interesting for the birds on the pond. Note, however, that adjacent to the park and extending for a considerable distance both north and south is Lynch Creek. A trail allows you to walk all along the creek, which can be good for the usual woodland birds found in Sonoma County. As time permits, I will add a page for the Lynch Creek Trail.

Restroom facilities: Public restrooms (portables) near the baseball diamond/soccer fields. There is a major shopping center virtually across the street with stores that have restrooms.

Restaurants nearby: For a quick meal, head across the street to the shopping center where you'll find several fast food restaurants as well as a Raley's supermarket with a deli for sandwiches and other prepared foods. There is also a Peet's Coffee inside Raley's. There's a Trader Joe's in the same shopping center. If you're looking for more interesting food and don't mind a short drive, downtown Petaluma is probably the best bet for lunch (less than 10 minutes away). 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. Try the pulled pork sandwich. Ask for your cole slaw IN the sandwich. Yum.

Other Petaluma-area restaurants that come recommended to me by readers in the Petaluma area include:

Aqus Cafe, 189 H Street at 2nd St., downtown Petaluma

Della Fattoria Bakery and Cafe, 141 Petaluma Blvd. North, downtown Petaluma

Velasco's North of the Border, 190 Kentucky St., downtown Petaluma 

Zocalos Latin Grill, 3120 Lakeville Highway, Suite A, Petaluma

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: Shollenberger Park is about 10 minutes to the south. Next to Shollenberger Park you'll find the ponds and trails at Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility, another excellent birding spot (3882 Cypress Dr. Petaluma, CA 94954; GPS coordinates 38 13 35N, 122 35 8W). See the Ellis Creek page for details. On the opposite side of Shollenberger Park is Alman Marsh. A one-mile trail leads from the bridge over Adobe Creek at Shollenberger through marshy areas, terminating at the Sheraton Sonoma County hotel (745 Baywood Dr., at the Petaluma marina). The Petaluma Wetlands Alliance oversees all three areas--Shollenberger Park, the areas around Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility, and the Alman Marsh area. See the Wetlands Alliance Website for more information. 

Further afield: Continuing south on Lakeville Hwy/Route 116 from the Shollenberger Park area will bring you to a T-junction at Hwy 37. To the left with the water in front of you (east) is the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge (mostly in Solano County). To the right, you can head back to Highway 101. The Atherton Rd. exit gives access to good birding at wetlands accessible from Bahia Dr. (Marin County). Head for the intersection of Bahia Dr. and Topaz Dr. A GPS address of 500 Bahia Dr., Novato CA should get you close. 1600 Armstrong Ave. should take you close to good birding along Binford Rd., on the other side of the same area (heading toward Gnoss Field, a small airport here). Trails connect the two areas.

The birds in the photos: Ross's Goose (above), Lucchesi Park, Petaluma, February 21, 2011. Mallard x Wood Duck hybrid (below), Lucchesi Park, Petaluma, December 12, 2011

All photos by the author, unless otherwise indicated

Maps by Google Maps



© Colin Talcroft, 2009-2018

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.