California in Spring Intro

Intro Itinerary Information & Pricing Gallery Birdlist Registration


Dates: 27 April – 9 May 2018

California, where dreams come true! No, not a chamber of commerce slogan, lyrics from a 60’s pop music group or even a promotional video on YouTube. California is where Birders Dreams Come True. Make no mistake about it, California has much to offer the visiting birder. From the small Calliope Hummingbird to the large California Condor; the elegant Phainopepla to the drab Wrentit; the skulking LeConte’s Thrasher to the obvious Acorn Woodpecker; the coastal Heermann’s Gull to the desert Bell’s Sparrow; or from the lowland Lawrence’s Goldfinch to the montane White-headed Woodpecker California has something to interest anyone interested in birds or nature.

California Condor. Photo by Rick Bowers ©

California is an incredibly diverse state with a rich collection of habitats, producing an equally diverse list of birds. A cumulative birdlist that has grown to be greater than that produced by any other state. We’ll experience many of these environments from open ocean, coastal tidal flats, rocky beach, to chaparral covered hillsides up to pine forest covered mountains. Our eyes, binoculars and cameras reaping the benefits of each new biome we explore. Avian prospectors in quest of new birds.

Searching open sea, sea coast & offshore islands for Black-vented, Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters, Scripps’s & Marbled Murrelets, Cassin’s Auklet, Sabine’s Gull and migrant seabirds on the open ocean as we cross to Santa Cruz Island. Island Scrub Jay and endemic form of Allen’s Hummingbird on the island and Brandt’s and Pelagic Cormorants, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot and assorted gulls and terns from the cliffs and shores along the way.

Pigeon Guillemot. Photo by Rick Bowers ©

Probing tidal flats & saltwater marshes for shorebirds, waterfowl and waterbirds like Elegant, Royal & Caspian Terns, Western, Glaucous-winged, California, Mew and Heermann’s Gulls, Ridgeway’s Rail and Belding’s Sparrow.

Familiar looking freshwater marshes, lakes, rivers & streams will add many familiar birds to our ever expanding bird lists. While the more exotic chaparral—from Spanish “chaparro” referring to the scrub oaks that dominate the habitat—contributes goodies like California & Mountain Quail, Anna’s & Allen’s Hummingbirds, California Gnatcatcher (in coastal sage scrub), California Thrasher, Spotted & California Towhees, Wrentit, Bushtit, Dusky Flycatcher, Macgillivray’s Warbler, Tri-colored Blackbird and many migrant vireos, warblers and sparrows.

California’s grassland and savannah typically fades into riparian and oak woodlands. Here we’ll encounter Oak Titmouse, Western Bluebird, Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay, Acorn & Nuttall’s Woodpeckers, Hutton’s Vireo, Bushtit, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Yellow-billed Magpie and Lawrence’s Goldfinch.

Black-throated Gray Warbler. Photo by Kim & Cindy Risen ©

We’ll wander expansive deserts searching for beautiful desert wildflowers and birds like Chukar, Gambel’s Quail, Costa’s Hummingbird, LeConte’s & Crissal Thrashers, Verdin, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Phainopepla, Abert’s Towhee, Black-throated, Bell’s and Sagebrush Sparrows and Scott’s Oriole.

Savor each morning, quietly contemplating impressive mountain vistas and rambling about cathedral-like pine forests searching for Mountain Quail, Northern Pygmy-Owl, California Condor, Rufous Hummingbird, White-headed Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Townsend’s & Hermit Warblers, Western Tanager and Cassin’s Finch.

Southern California has its own collection of introduced exotic species. Some like Spotted Dove, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Scaly-breasted Munia and Northern Red Bishop are ‘countable’ while a large assortment of others including Pin-tailed Whydah, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Red-whiskered Bulbul and host of parrot possibilities still await approval.Those we find to be ‘banked’ until that point when each becomes elevated to established status..

Grab your binoculars & cameras and meet us in LA for a varied and bird-rich “Dream” tour of California!

Leader: Kim Risen



Intro Itinerary Information & Pricing Gallery Birdlist Registration