Tours & Destinations California
. . . . . 2013 TOUR SCHEDULE . . . . .
From the Mountains to the Ocean to the Desert6 September 2013 - 19 September 2013, 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 passerine searches will 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 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. Mono Lake may yield Greater Sage-Grouse, Sage Thrasher, Sage Sparrow, 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 Xantus's Murrelet, Tufted Puffin, or Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, then cruise 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. Xantus's Murrelet and Black-vented Shearwater are possible on the boat trip to the island. Turning our sights inland, we'll search the deserts for Le Conte's Thrasher. The tour begins in San Jose and concludes in Los Angeles, or if you care to continue to the Salton Sea, there is a $150 discount for going on both tours. See the separate itinerary for full details about the extension. Jason Horn is the scheduled leader.
Bolsa Chica & the Salton Sea19 September 2013 - 24 September 2013, 5 days & 4 nights
After searching the 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 Phalaropes, thousands of Red-necked Phalaropes, and myriad 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 sea and we will make early morning efforts to see these species. Blue-footed Booby was found at the Sea in late summer of 2006 and 2007. There is a discount if you combine the extension with the preceding Complete California Tour. The scheduled leader is Jason Horn.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SPECIALTIES
California Gnatcatcher & Le Conte’s Thrasher6 December 2013 - 14 December 2013, 9 days & 8 nights
From the coast to the mountains and desert, the habitats of southern California are home to most of the West Coast's specialties. We'll begin in San Diego in search of species such as Heerman's Gull, Wandering Tattler, and Black Turnstone. Then, moving inland to the foothills and mountains, our targets will be species with California in their name: California Quail, California Gnatcatcher, California Thrasher, and California Towhee. We'll also be on the lookout for Nuttall's Woodpecker, Wrentit, Oak Titmouse, Bell's Sage Sparrow, Lawrence's Goldfinch, and Tricolored Blackbird. Continuing on to the desert and the Salton Sea, other birds that we'll be searching for include the elusive Le Conte's Thrasher, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Burrowing Owl, Costa's Hummingbird, Abert's Towhee, and hopefully, Yellow-footed Gull. This tour will be led by Jason Horn or Bob Schutsky