California Specialties: Apr 27—May 06, 2018

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Please contact us if you would like more information on upcoming departures for this tour.

Departs: San Diego
Ends: Santa Barbara
Tour Limit: 7
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (838.1 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Jeri Langham

Jeri M. Langham has a Ph.D. in plant ecology from Washington State University, and afte...

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Island Scrub-Jay

Island Scrub-Jay— Photo: Brad Schram

Explore beautiful Southern California on this wide-ranging tour, enjoying all its native habitat types while searching for specialty birds unique in the ABA area.

Southern California has long been regarded as one of the great birding areas in the country. A wide variety of habitats—including deserts, mountains, shoreline, chaparral, grasslands, and pelagic waters—a moderate climate, and its geographic location guarantee a long and interesting bird list. Our tour is designed in a way that takes participants through all its habitat types, ensuring the broadest introduction possible to its fascinating avifauna.

As a further attraction, California is characterized by a high degree of endemism. Where else in the country could one go to look for Scripps’s Murrelet, Allen’s Hummingbird, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Island Scrub-Jay, Yellow-billed Magpie, California Gnatcatcher, California Thrasher, California Towhee, and Oak Titmouse? This tour is planned in a manner to give maximum opportunity to see all these endemics or near-endemics.

Other western specialties such as Mountain Quail, White-headed Woodpecker, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, LeConte’s Thrasher, and Hutton’s Vireo are also breeding birds in Southern California. An occasional Yellow-footed Gull winters at the Salton Sea, giving us the hope of seeing this species, but they are easier to find here during the hot summer months.

Much of Southern California’s exciting bird life is set amidst its most natural, scenic landscapes. One experiences the magic of natural wild places whether among spindly ocotillo in the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the Jeffrey pines at 8,000 feet atop Mount Pinos, or the rugged coast of Santa Cruz Island.

Good to excellent accommodations; easy terrain; many road miles; boat trip to Santa Cruz Island; below sea level to 8,000 feet altitude; outstanding scenery; mild weather.