A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California

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



© Colin Talcroft, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

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.


Strawberry School Park, Santa Rosa CA 95405

Location aliases: Not sufficiently on the local bird-watching radar to have nicknames. The park is not indicated on many maps. Locals refer to the place as Strawberry Park. It's official name is Strawberry School Park, It's more or less connected to the grounds of Strawberry Elementary School. Best avoided at recess times (see Note 1 below). 

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

Location: Between Summerfield Rd. and Horseshoe Dr., Santa Rosa, California, 95405

GPS address: 3299 Summerfield Rd. at one end, 4123 Siskiyou Ave. at the other. Almost contiguous with the Arroyo Sierra Dr. area. This area and Arroyo Sierra Dr. can be combined into a continuous walk. See notes at the bottom of this page. 

GPS Coordinates: 38 26 09N, 122 39 48W will take you more or less to the Siskiyou Ave. address. Coordinates of 38 25 56N, 122 39 37W will take you to the Summerfield Rd. entrance.

Access: Can be approached from Summerfield Rd. or from Horseshoe Dr. The section between Horseshoe Dr. and Siskiyou Ave. on Avots Dr. (middle of map) is also birdable, though often less interesting. It connects to the Arroyo Sierra Circle stretch to the north along the creek. See Sierra Arroyo Circle for more information on that area.

At the Summerfield Rd. end, it is necessary to park on Horseshoe Dr. (there is no parking allowed on the section of Summerfield Rd. closest to the path entry point). Note that Horseshoe Dr., true to its name, is a big "U" with two entrances onto Summerfield. Be sure that you're at the one closest to the access point for the path (just off the bottom of the map here); look for the metal railings along the road.

Habitats: Residential, creekside brush, city park, mature oaks, mature evergreen, blackberry and native undergrowth.

Typical Species: Oak Titmouse, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Western Scrub-jay, American Crow, House Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, American Goldfinch, Lesser Goldfinch, Bushtit, Brown Creeper, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, Orange-crowned Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, California Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Bewick's Wren, Northern Flicker, European Starling, various warblers. Especially reliable place to find Brown Creeper.

Unusual birds, sightings: Pacific Wren (12/16, 2012, Gene Hunn); White-throated Sparrow (January 18, 2012); White-throated Sparrow (December 18, 2011); Townsend's Warbler, Black-throated gray Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Yellow Warbler all present September 2010. Appears to be a good spot especially for fall warblers.

Restroom facilities: A portable toilet is usually at the entrance to the park near Horshoe Dr., but it has been removed for a period of time on a number of occasions. Otherwise Howarth Park restrooms may be the closest (see the Lake Ralphine page), or, there are  restrooms at the Safeway noted below.

Restaurants Nearby: There is a Safeway with a deli for sandwiches at 2785 Yulupa Ave. (524-4646), one mile away. Across the street from the Safeway, Yao Kiku Japanese Restaurant (587-8180) is OK, at 2700 Yulupa Ave, No. 23 (next to the big CVS drugstore). Kirin (525-1957), a stone's throw down to the left (facing Yao Kiku), is one of the better Chinese restaurants in Santa Rosa. The dinner menu is more interesting than lunch, but Kirin is always friendly and reliable.

Further afield: There is a deli in the Safeway at 2751 Fourth St. 522-1455 (not the Safeway mentioned above). Michelle Marie's Patisserie, 2404 Magowan Dr. (575-1214) has sandwiches and full meals at lunchtime.

Nearby attractionsBennett Valley Golf Club is at 3330 Yulupa Ave. (528-3673). Public tennis courts next door to the golf course at Galvin Park. There are one or two wineries further out Bennett Valley Rd., beyond the golf course, the best known being Matanzas Creek Winery (6097 Bennett Valley Rd., 528-6464)--worth a visit for its lavender fields, usually in bloom in June, although I've never been able to get especially enthusiastic about the wines.

Related bird watching spots: This area connects via Avots Dr. to the section of the same creek along Arroyo Sierra Dr., accessible at the opposite end from Hoen Ave. Lake Ralphine at Howarth Park is close. Spring Lake Park is also nearby.

Notes: 1) Although I've personally never had trouble, some birders have reported that school administrators get nervous when adults with binoculars are around the school if the children are outside. You may be challenged. Best avoided at recess times for that reason (and because the children are noisy). Morning classes start at 8:30. Arriving right at that time gives more than an hour (plenty of time) before the first morning recess, at 10:00AM.  Early in 2012 signs were added saying the park is closed while school is in session (between 8:00AM and 4:00PM), although that is contradicted by the city signs that say the park is open 6:00AM to 9:00PM in the summer. The signs are routinely ignored by people walking through the park, however. In any case, being discreet and avoiding the place when children are around would seem to be the best strategy. Probably best avoided in groups. Saturdays and Sundays, of course, school is not in session, but weekdays are quieter as long as the kids are inside.

2) The walk along the creek starting at Summerfield Rd. can be extended all the way to Hoen Ave. The entire corridor along the creek can be excellent for autumn warblers. See Arroyo Sierra Circle. for more information. In a GPS unit or using a map, an address of 4123 Siskiyou Ave., Santa Rosa, should take you to the point BETWEEN these two birding spots, allowing you to go in either direction. An address of 3299 Summerfield Rd., Santa Rosa, should bring you to the Summerfield Rd. location from which a walk creekside through Strawberry Park can begin (look for the metal railings). The walk can then be linked to the Sierra Arroyo Circle. area to end up at Hoen Ave. Note, however, that there is no on-street parking allowed at the Summerfield Rd. end. Park on Horseshoe Dr. when entering from Summerfield Rd. (See access information above).

The bird in the photo: Brown creeper, Santa Rosa, California

All photos by the author, unless otherwise indicated

Maps by Google Maps