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California Birding: Resident Specialties and Fall Migrants

Trip Description

Brief Itinerary

Southern California provides birders with a large diversity of habitat types – including coastal estuaries, chaparral, higher elevation pine forests, desert, Pacific Ocean islands – resulting in well over 400 regularly-occurring species of birds. On a typical September trip, you can expect to see between 175 and 200 species of birds, including most of the region's target species.


Many birds of Southern California would be difficult or impossible to see anywhere else, so a visit here provides a birder with the best chance to add many of these species to a life list.


On this trip, we will especially seek out the endemic Yellow-billed Magpie and Island Scrub-Jay, as well as the near-endemic California Gnatcatcher, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Oak Titmouse and Wrentit. We even have a chance to see a California Condor in the wild, and Yellow-footed Gulls on the Salton Sea.

We will travel from Los Angeles north along the Pacific coast, take a boat trip to the Channel Islands, go over 7,500 feet in elevation at Mount Pinos, over 200 feet below sea level at the Salton Sea, then back to Los Angeles. Join us as we tour one of the most wild and beautiful regions of the United States!

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1:  Arrival in San Diego before 1:00PM. Transfer to hotel and afternoon birding.


Day 2: Birding around San Diego for Ridgway's Rail, California Gnatcatcher, and other specialties


Day 3:  Birding in Laguna Mountains for higher altitude birds on the way to Salton Sea


Day 4:  Birding around Salton Sea for Yellow-footed Gull, Crissal Thrasher, and more, Afternoon in Morongo Valley


Day 5:  Day birding in the mountains of Angeles National Forest

Day 6:  Morning birding at Piute Ponds, afternoon drive to Mount Pinos


Day 7:  Morning at Mount Pinos, afternoon birding towards Pismo Beach


Day 8:  Birding coastal savannas and rocky shorelines to Santa Barbara

Day 9:  Santa Cruz Island Boat Trip for Island Scrub-Jay and Pelagics

Day 10:  Morning birding and afternoon flights home


More details about this Trip:

Find below our Southern California Detailed Itinerary or download it.

Download California

Detailed Itinerary

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