Tours & Destinations california
From the Mountains to the Ocean to the Desert9 September 2016 - 22 September 2016, 14 days & 13 nights
California conjures up visions of sun-baked 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. We'll start in the San Francisco Bay area and journey to Bodega Bay for a day of shorebirds and migrants. Some of the specialties of this rich area include Surfbird, Black Turnstone, Wandering Tattler, and Black Oystercatcher. Our song bird searches may yield views of Townsend's Warbler, California Towhee, Wrentit, and Cassin's Vireo. Our first pelagic destination is the Cordell Bank, where we will search for Black-footed Albatross, Buller's and Pink-footed Shearwaters, Cassin's Auklet, Long-tailed, Pomarine, and Parasitic Jaegers, South Polar Skua, Sabine's Gull, and Arctic Tern. Blue and Humpback Whales are a distinct possibility. Next on our route are the Sierras to look for Swainson's Hawk, Acorn Woodpecker, and Yellow-billed Magpie. 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 that we will seek 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. We will look for Greater Roadrunner, Lawrence's Goldfinch, and California Thrasher in the arid lands near Monterey. Our next adventure will be the SECOND pelagic trip of the tour, a trip into world-famous Monterey Bay that is bisected by a huge submarine canyon twice the size of the Grand Canyon. We will cruise the bay and the adjacent offshore waters in search of shearwaters and Ashy and Black Storm-Petrels. We will hope for a rarity such as Tufted Puffin or Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, then scan the coastline for Marbled Murrelet. Our continued journey south will put us in California Condor country and we will spend time looking for this spectacular species brought back from the brink of extinction. Our targets near Los Angeles will be California Gnatcatcher, Allen's Hummingbird, and Black-vented Shearwater. We'll 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. Black-vented Shearwater is again possible on the boat trip to the island. Turning our sights inland, we'll search the deserts for Le Conte's Thrasher and other residents. The tour begins in San Jose and concludes in Los Angeles. Jason Horn is the scheduled leader. If you care to go on to the Salton Sea, there is a $150 discount for continuing your tour. See the separate itinerary for full details about the Extension.
Bolsa Chica & the Salton Sea22 September 2016 - 26 September 2016, 5 days & 4 nights
After searching the Los Angeles and San Diego area for some coastal specialties, we'll head inland to the Salton Sea to look for Yellow-footed Gull, along with Wilson's Phalarope, thousands of Red-necked Phalaropes, and a multitude of other migrating shorebirds. Black-chinned Hummingbird, Verdin, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Black-throated Sparrow, and Abert's Towhee frequent the brush around the southern edge of the Salton Sea. We will make early morning efforts to see these species. Blue-footed Booby is found here occasionally. There is a $150 discount if you combine the extension with the preceding Complete California Tour. The scheduled leader is Jason Horn.