A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California

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


Salmon Creek, Sonoma Coast State Beach, Bodega Bay

(and Chanselor Ranch ponds*)

Location aliases: Generally referred to by local birders as “Salmon Creek” rather than by nicknames, but not to be confused with Salmon Creek Rd., which starts in the town of Bodega (near the other end of Salmon Creek). Salmon Creek crosses the highway in numerous places, which can be quite confusing. This page refers to the area that is the northernmost intersection of the creek and the main coastal highway.

Imagery ©2015 Data CSUMB SFML, CA OPC, DigitalGlobe, USDA Farm Service Agency, Map data ©2015 Google

Location: About 1.5 miles north of the town of Bodega Bay. This is the mouth of Salmon Creek, accessible from Bean Ave., a coastal access point within the stretch of Hwy. 1 (the Coast Highway) that runs through Sonoma Coast State Beach. Note that Sonoma Coast State Beach includes all of the coast stretching from Bodega Bay to Jenner in the north. Within the park are numerous named beaches, including Salmon Creek Beach (Bean Ave. dead-ends into the Salmon Creek Beach parking area).

*The Chanselor Ranch ponds are inland, on your right heading north from the town of Bodega Bay, on your left if you’re heading south from areas such as Jenner. These can be worth scoping for waterbirds. 

GPS address: 101 Bean Ave., Bodega Bay, CA

GPS Coordinates: 38.3516N, 123.0609W will take you to the corner of Highway 1 (the Coast Highway) and Bean Ave.

Tide information: See the NOAA Tides & Currents page for Bodega Harbor

Access: The best viewing areas are along Bean Ave., a public street. 

Habitats: Creek estuary, marshy areas, mud flats, coastal scrub, views to Pacific Ocean

Typical Species: Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Western Gull, California Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Western Scrub-jay, Crow, Raven, Brewer’s Blackbird, Red-winged Blackbird, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Northern Harrier, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Sanderling, Black Phoebe, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, California Towhee, House Finch, European Starling, House Sparrow, Eurasian Collared Dove.

Unusual birds, sightings: White-winged Dove (11/14/15, Brook O’Connor); Marbled Murrelet, Ancient Murrelet (12/28/14, Gene Hunn); Black-legged Kittiwake (12/7/14, Bill Malet); Eurasian Wigeon (11/14/14, Gene Hunn)

Restroom facilities: None. Closest easily accessible proper toilets are probably at The Tides Wharf area, although there may be portable toilets or more permanent toilet facilities at some of the nearby beach parking areas. 

Restaurants Nearby: See the Bodega Bay Overview page for restaurant recommendations.

Nearby attractions: See the Bodega Bay Overview page.

Related bird watching spots: See the Bodega Bay Overview page for the closest nearby locations

Notes: Bean Ave., which runs along the creek here, is a narrow road lined with houses. Parking can be difficult. The people who live here will appreciate considerate parking and use of the area.

All photos by the author, unless otherwise indicated

Maps by Google Maps




© 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.