Point Reyes California Birding

Point Reyes National Seashore is well known for its excellent birding and large numbers of rarities. Located along the California coast along Highway 1 between San Francisco and Bodega Bay, the seashore offers many different habitats and birding opportunities and happens to be one of my favorite birding locations in California.

The towns of Olema and Inverness offer lodging and other accomodations very close to the park. To reach the park, you can either take the Sir Francis Drake Blvd exit along Highway 1 in Olema and head west into the park, or take the Sir Francis Drake exit from Highway 101 near San Rafael.


Lighthouse: One of my favorite stops within the park is the lighthouse which is located at the tip of Point Reyes and at the end of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Parking is somewhat limited here and the walk can be a bit uneven (especially if you climb the steps to the lighthouse itself), but the walk is well worth it. Raptors are easily seen from the trail, including Peregrine Falcon and possibly a rarity like Broad-winged Hawk. Scattered Cypress groves attract many migrants including rare species that stop and rest during migration. Some of the rarities seen here have included Black-throated Blue Warbler, American Redstart, Conneticut Warbler, Ovenbird, White-throated Sparrow, and Palm Warbler. Grassy areas and clumps of flowers attract flocks of sparrows and hummingbirds. Cliffs around the lighthouse provide opportunities to see Alcids like Common Murres and whales are often seen migrating in the distance.

Fish Docks: Located just before the lighthouse off of Sir Francis Drake, the Fish Docks can produce some good species. I personally like to look out over Drake's Bay for ducks, alcids, gulls and other water birds. All 3 scoters can be seen here. The Cypresses in and around the residence usually produce a few Great Horned Owls. Peregrine Falcons are quite often around the area. The Cypresses here quite often produce a good number of rare migrants too and I've personally seen American Redstart, Black-and-white, and Palm Warblers here. A trail leads out to the end of the penninsula here and the cliffs at the end can be good for alcids and cormorants. Horned Puffins have been seen here in the past.

Drake's Beach: Drake's Beach can provide good viewing of migrants in the various stands of tree's bordering the parking lot. On the opposite side of the parking lot from the visitor's center is a stand of trees surrounding Drake's Monument. This location quite often is a roosting spot for a Great Horned Owl and possibly a Barn Owl. The parking lot and beach can be excellent for various gull species. Also, a trail leads past a pond on the opposite side of the lot from the visitor's center and can produce various duck species. To reach Drake's beach, take Sir Francis Drake Blvd. toward the lighthouse and look for a well marked road heading left to the beach.

Ranches of outer Pt. Reyes: Ranches including Spaletta and Mendoza Ranch border Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in the region roughly between Drake's Beach and the lighthouse. Almost every ranch has accessible cypress trees either along the road or in a section that's accessible without disturbing the ranch inhabitants. These sections of trees are excellent for all kinds of migrants and rarities. Ponds at these ranches can turn up various water birds and the ranch fields can produce Pacific Golden Plover and Longspur species.

Pt. Reyes National Seashore
Pt. Reyes Bird Observatory
Pt. Reyes Kayaking
Pt. Reyes Getaways
Pt. Reyes CA Cottage
Pt. Reyes Lodging
Charming Pt. Reyes B&B's
Pt. Reyes, Olema Cottages
Pt. Reyes, Black Heron Inn
Pt. Reyes Lodging
Manka's Inverness Lodge
Pt. Reyes, Abalone Inn
Sonoma Wine Tasting

Return from Point Reyes to Northwestern California

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