Bird-Watching On California’s Central Coast


Bird watching is the ultimate pandemic hobby! It can be done while remaining socially distanced, and watching beautiful birds take off can work to lift spirits. There’s no need for expensive equipment, and birds can be found just about anywhere! California has a wide variety of birds for hobbyists to enjoy, thanks to its access to conservation areas. Read on to learn more about bird watching in California!

Travel and Leisure ~ ” We were standing on a cliff at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, which occupies a peninsula shaped like a lion’s paw scraping the Pacific just south of Carmel, California. The winter sun glinted off waves that splashed rocks draped in harbor seals. The docent was describing the plight of a three-foot-tall, ear-tufted bird perched near a posse of avian toughs in black, gray, and white formalwear. Millions of years ago, the North American and Pacific tectonic plates collided, creating the breathtaking, craggy coastline of Point Lobos we see today. And since it’s a nature reserve, it’s subject to stricter environmental protection than a state park, so the oceanfront real estate is about as pristine as it gets.

Photo by Erik Karits from Pexels

I planned to head south on a four-day, 170-mile sojourn on the Pacific Coast Highway, pausing at the crowdsourced hot spots on my eBird app and logging my own sightings along the way. My main destination: Morro Bay, a bird-silly spot I know well because my partner’s mother, Penny, lives there. Well past autumn’s ferocious fire season, the lush winter period is when birds flock to estuaries. Monterey pine and cypress forests, punctuated by massive coast live oaks, meet cliffsides covered in flowering shrubs and California poppies.

The day before, I’d driven my rental car from San Jose’s airport just over an hour to Mission Ranch, a cluster of sea-view accommodations on a 19th-century former dairy farm. After brunching on an omelette with shrimp and Anaheim peppers, I took a walk at Carmel River State Beach, where the waterway pools into a sandy lagoon that serves as a bird sanctuary. The place teemed with web-footed life: ruddy ducks with powder-blue bills; American widgeons with iridescent eye shadow; northern shovelers, named for their impressive schnozzes.” ~ Travel and Leisure

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Source: Bird-watching on California’s Central Coast | Travel + Leisure

**Please note: Due to the impact of COVID-19 on travel, we encourage people to always plan trips in accordance with the guidance provided by government and health officials.

Enjoy some bird-watching in California!

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