California conjures up visions of sun-drenched landscapes, scenic mountain vistas, the blue Pacific, and expansive deserts. The birds are no less spectacular, with everything from Black-footed Albatross to Lawrence's Goldfinch.

The San Francisco Bay area and Bodega Bay hold such specialties as Surfbird, Black Turnstone, Wandering Tattler, and Black Oystercatcher, whilst searching for songbirds may yield views of Townsend's Warbler, California Towhee, Wrentit, and Cassin's Vireo.

The Sierras are a great spot to look for Swainson's Hawk, Acorn Woodpecker, and the endemic Yellow-billed Magpie. Whilst Sooty Grouse, Mountain Quail, Great Gray Owl, Black-backed and White-headed Woodpeckers, Williamson's and Red-breasted Sapsuckers, Pine Grosbeak, and Hermit Warbler are just a few of the species in Yosemite National Park.

The Mono Lake region may yield Greater Sage-Grouse, Sage Thrasher, Gray Flycatcher, American Dipper, Pinyon Jay, Lewis's Woodpecker, and Mountain Bluebird. Whilst the arid lands near Monterey may give up Greater Roadrunner, Lawrence's Goldfinch, and California Thrasher.

A birding trip to California is not complete without a pelagic trip. Visit the world-famous Monterey Bay that is bisected by a huge submarine canyon twice the size of the Grand Canyon. Cruise the bay and the adjacent offshore waters in search of shearwaters, Ashy and Black Storm-Petrels, and Humpback Whales or even a rarity such as Tufted Puffin or Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, then scan the coastline for Marbled Murrelet. Or head further offshore to the Albacore Grounds. Some of the many species here include Scripps's Murrelet, Sabine's Gull, Arctic Tern, Blue Whale, and Bairds' Beaked Whale, plus Pomarine, Parasitic, and Long-tailed Jaegers.

Journey south into California Condor country. Spend time looking for this spectacular species brought back from the brink of extinction. Target birds near Los Angeles include California Gnatcatcher, Allen's Hummingbird and Black-vented Shearwater. Take a boat trip to Santa Cruz Island for the endemic Island Scrub-Jay and the Santa Cruz Island races of Bewick's Wren, Allen's Hummingbird and Rufous-crowned Sparrow. Inland, search the deserts for LeConte's Thrasher and other residents.

Text courtesy birdtreks

California Condor

California Condor, copyright Bjorn Anderson

Showing the 39 Most Recent Trip Reports Posted

USA, California - 5th - 20th August, 2018, author Julian Thomas (added August 29, 2018)
(Monterey, Pinnacles NP, Sequoia NP, Yosemite NP, Mono Lake, )

San Francisco, California - March 23-25, 2016, author Brent Steury (added March 28, 2016)
(Mill Valley, Bothin Marsh, Richardson Bay, Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, Golden Gate Park, Embarcadero, Royal Tern, Scaly-breasted Munia)

California - November 3rd - 25th, 2015, author Mike Neale (added November 29, 2015)
(California, Birds, Mammals, Scenary)

California - 19th September - 3rd October 2015, author Anders Hangaard (added October 7, 2015)
(California Condor, California Gnatcatcher, Yellow-billed Magpie)

California: July 2012, author Pete Aley (added August 15, 2012)
(A two-week trip to northern California )

United States - Southern California and Northern Arizona - July 2012, author Michael Hurben (added July 9, 2012)
(Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Ventura, Channel Islands)

Repositioning Cruise from San Diego, California, April 19th - 23rd 2011, author Keith Taylor (added May 2, 2011)
(Murphy's Petrel, Cook's Petrel)

Eastern Pacific Cruise - October 29th - November 22nd 2009, author Gail Mackiernan (added September 25, 2010)
(California, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Chile, Yellow-footed Gull, Galapagos, De Fillipe's and Juan Fernandez Petrels, Hornby's Stormpetrel, Chestnut-throated Huet-huet)

USA California - Yuba Pass & Sierra Valley, June 27 -30, 2010, author Denise & David Hamilton (added July 11, 2010)

California 10/2 – 19/2/2010, author Frank Hemmings (added May 10, 2010)

USA - California 17 April - 8 May 2008, author Graham Burton (added August 6, 2008)
(Kern, Point Reyes, Prairie Falcon, Bendire's Thrasher)

US, California, June 2008, author Noah Gaines (added June 10, 2008)
(Yosemite, Mono Lake, Butterbredt Spring, Great Gray Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, Flammulated Owl, Sooty Grouse, Northern Goshawk.)

Whales & Dolphins of Monterey Bay - 22 - 30 August 2015, author Naturetrek (link created November 7, 2015)

Deep Water Seabirding – the final frontier?, author thunefeld (added March 31, 2008)
(We were on a quest for rare seabirds aboard the Searcher, a 95-foot live-aboard natural history boat, exploring seldom birded regions near the edge of the continental shelf.)

California 7th –23rd September 2007, author Simon Hartill (added January 14, 2008)

San Diego River, California - 7 tern day - 29th June 2007, author Martin Birch (added September 1, 2007)
(Elegant Tern, Royal Tern, Caspian Tern and many others)

USA - Three Nova Scotians in Southern California, April 4-13 2007, author richard stern (added May 20, 2007)
(Big Morongo, Salton sea, Anza-Borego,San Diego, Palomar Mtn, Orange Co. coast)

California – Central Coast 10th – 17th March 2007, author Steve Arlow (added March 31, 2007)
(Varied Thrush, Yellow-billed Magpie, Nuttall's Woodpecker)

Birding Southern California with trips to Southeast Arizona and Baja California - December 2004 - December 2005, author Herman van Oosten (added January 12, 2007)

California in the Winter: 8th to 22nd February 2014, author Ian Merrill (link created August 7, 2014)
(Primary objectives of witnessing some of the unique avian spectacles and tracking down the sought-after bird species which can be found in this magnificent State during the 'cold' season)

Hawaiian Cruise - May 1st - 4th, 2013, author Keith Taylor (link created May 14, 2013)
(40 species including Hawaiian Petrel, Mottled Petrel, Murphy's and Cook's Petrels)

California - 12th - 26th January 2013, author Mark Hows (link created February 4, 2013)
(Bobcat, Killer Whale, Californian Condor, Island Fox, Island Scrub Jay, Goose spectacular, Blackbird spectacular, Dolphin megapod. )

Southern California, USA Sept 1st - Sept 5th 2005, author Andrew Birch (added January 3, 2006)
(California Gnatcatcher, Le Conte's Thrasher, Tricolored Blackbird, Island Scrub Jay, Yellow-billed Magpie, Yellow-footed Gull, Mountain Quail, Abert's Towhee)

Santa Barbara, California Pelagic on Condor Express Sept 24th 2005, author Andrew Birch (added September 25, 2005)
(Flesh-footed Shearwater, South Polar Skua, Long-tailed Jaeger)

United States of America - San Francisco - 2007, author Scott Bowers (link created March 2, 2011)

USA, California Monterey Bay Pelagics Trip Report Archive, author Roger Wolfe (link created March 1, 2009)
(Monterey Bay, Seabirds, Pelagics, Shearwaters, Monterey)

Monterey Bay, May 2004, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 8, 2004)

Southern California Pelagic from San Diego Sept 4th-7th 2003, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 8, 2004)

Los Angeles, California, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 8, 2004)
(Los Angeles)

California, July - August 2003, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 8, 2004)

California, 18th March - 1st April 2002, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 8, 2004)

California, 15th - 31st March 2002, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 8, 2004)

California, 30th October - 25th November 2001, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 8, 2004)

California, 2nd - 19th September 2000, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 8, 2004)

California, November 1999, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 8, 2004)

California Condors around Los Angeles, author Andrew Birch (link created August 27, 2005)
(California Condor San Gabriels)

USA, California, Monterey Seabirds Trip Report Archives, author Roger Wolfe (link created November 29, 2004)
(Monterey , California , Seabirds, Pelagics,)

Looking for California Condors near Los Angeles - Mar 04 , author Surfbirds Admin (link created September 8, 2004)
(California Condors)

Southern California Pelagics , author Surfbirds Admin (link created September 8, 2004)
(Pink-footed Shearwater, Red-billed Tropicbird, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara)