Winter Southern California: Jan 25—31, 2015

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Price: $1,995
Departs: San Diego
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (86.2 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Barry Zimmer

Barry Zimmer has been birding since the age of eight. His main areas of expertise lie in Nor...


Brennan Mulrooney

Brennan Mulrooney was born and raised in San Diego, California. Growing up, his heart and mi...

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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Pygmy Nuthatch

Pygmy Nuthatch— Photo: Brian Gibbons

Exceptional mid-winter birding in a wide variety of habitats from rocky shoreline to chaparral to pine forests. Generally wonderful weather combined with a trip list that could approach 200 species. California specialties, abundant waterfowl, shorebirds, and raptors. Can be taken in combination with Winter Southern Arizona.

Southern California offers some of the best winter birding to be found in the United States, and is a pleasant getaway from the cold weather blanketing most of the country at this time. A wide range of habitats, including rocky shorelines, coastal estuaries, chaparral, pine-oak woodlands, and desert, combine for an amazingly diverse list of birds. Most of the California specialties are present and readily found at this season, including the federally threatened California Gnatcatcher, the skulking Wrentit, California Thrasher, California Towhee, and Tricolored Blackbird. The newly countable Scaly-breasted Munia is a strong possibility as well.

Along the coast we will seek out Western and Clark’s grebes, Pelagic and Brandt’s cormorants, Eurasian Wigeon (rare), Ridgway’s Rail, Wandering Tattler, Black Turnstone, and Surfbird. Foothills and mountains could yield California Quail, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker (rare), Pygmy Nuthatch, Oak Titmouse, Bell’s Sparrow, and Lawrence’s Goldfinch (sporadic). Finally, we will bird the famed Salton Sea where Yellow-footed Gull (found nowhere else in the United States), Mountain Plover, and Ross’s Goose are among the many possibilities.

An abundance of wintering birds (especially waterfowl, shorebirds, and raptors), excellent potential for rarities, and great weather combine for a superb birding experience.

Good accommodations; easy to moderate terrain with roadside birding and some short hikes; generally pleasant weather conditions.