Southern California Birding: Resident Specialties and Fall Migrants
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!
Day 1: Arrival in Los Angeles at any time. Transfer to LA hotel.
Day 2: Morning birding for California Gnatcatcher and Spotted Dove. Coastal birding as we drive north. Primary objective in the afternoon is to find Yellow-billed Magpies. Overnight Ventura.
Day 3: Santa Cruz Island boat trip for Island Scrub-Jay. Evening birding around area sod farms. Overnight Ventura.
Day 4: Morning birding as we drive through Los Padres National Forest. Early afternoon search for LeConte's Thrasher, then high elevation birding around Mount Pinos. Overnight near Frazier Park.
Day 5: Mount Pinos in the morning for more upper elevation species, like Mountain Quail and White-headed Woodpecker. Before lunch, we begin the drive to the San Bernardino Mountains. Overnight in Indio.
Day 6: Birding the Salton Sea all day. Overnight in Indio.
Day 7: We’ll spend today looking for any species we may have missed, as we work our way back towards Los Angeles.
Day 8: Morning birding if later flights home. Departure for home.
More details about this Trip:
Find below our Southern California Detailed Itinerary or download it.