Northern California and Wine Country boast some of the finest birding sites in America, so grab your camera and visit one of these outstanding birding hot spots. 101 Things To Do has partnered with Tom Rusert of SonomaBirding.com for this feature. Tom, along with Darren Peterie, are co-founders of The Sonoma Birding Organization. They are well known and highly respected by the birding community across United States and Canada. Tom recently received the prestigious Ludlow Griscom Award, presented by the American Birding Association. Photo credits: Kevin O’Brien, Christine Hansen, Audubon, Len Blumin, Sonoma Birding, Tom Moyer. •sonomabirding.com
Bartholomew Memorial Park
1000 Vineyard Ln., Sonoma30 acres with 5 miles of trails, Kiosk. Diverse habitats in this hidden gem
including, streams, pond, oak covered mountain slopes, redwood groves.
Year round birding. Bathrooms & parking.
Crane Creek Sonoma County Regional Park5000 Pressley Road, Santa Rosa128 acres
near Rohnert Park consisting of of grasslands, rolling hills, oak woodlands
and seasonal creeks. Several miles of easy walking trails.
Parking and restrooms available.
Ellis Creek Water Recycle Facility 3882-3900 Cypress Dr., Petaluma3 miles of trails with connector to
Shollenberger Park. 100 acres of brackish tidal
wetlands connected to Petaluma River at high tide.
Hood Mountain Regional Park – Kenwood
3000 Los Alamos Rd, Santa Rosa1750 acre wilderness.
Mixed oak woodlands, chaparral, riparian zones
Jack London State Park – Glen Ellen- Eldridge
2400 London Ranch Rd., Glen Ellen2 mile Lake Trail Loop,
Sonoma Mountain trail – 8.25 mile round trip. Also try Fern Lake,
Asbury Creek Trail, Mays Clearing and the Old Orchard, old-growth redwood.
Bathrooms & parking.
Laguna de Santa Rosa
A 30,000 acre complex with multiple trailheads consisting of creeks,
seasonal wetlands, riparian forests, oak woodlands and grasslands.
Amazingly diverse birding.
Parking and information available at the Sebastopol Community Center.
Ledson Marsh-Lawndale Trail
In Annadel State Park5 mile trail- Take Lawndale Trail through
forest and meadow habitats up to the marsh loop. Seasonal wetlands.
Port-Sonoma Marina 270 Sears Point Rd, Rt. 37 at Petaluma River Bridge.5 mile trail, 475 acres.
Great birding area with SF Bay tidal influence.
Check out the Petaluma River under the bridge. Parking.
Kiosks on Baylands trail. Bathrooms & parking.
San Pablo Bay Natl. Wildlife Refuge
7715 Lakeville Hwy, Petaluma8.15 mile trail, 240 acres.
Parking. (Tolay Creek- Lower Tubbs Island Trail)
Large numbers of shorebird and waterfowl wintering and during
migrations beginning in late July/August.
Shiloh Ranch Sonoma County Regional Park;
5750 Fraught Road, Santa Rosa;850 acres consisting of a reservoir area,
mixed conifer forest and oak woodlands.
Includes a 3 mile loop ridge trail.
Parking and restrooms available.
Shollenberger Park – Alman Marsh
H St., Petaluma.2 mile circle trail. One mile trail into Alman Marsh.
165 acres. Parking. Tidal influence from Petaluma River.
Good year-round birding.Helpful kiosks with bird list. Bathrooms & parking.
Sonoma Historic Plaza 199 E. Spain St., Sonoma8 acre arboretum with approx.
60 species of mature trees with surpising mix of urban birds.
Request a Tree & Bird Self Guide Tour Map at Sonoma Visitor’s
Bureau on the Plaza. Bathrooms & parking.
Sonoma Overlook Trail 18300 Norrbom Rd., Sonoma2 mile loop trail.
Kiosk with bird and wild flower checklist at the kiosk.
Trail head about a third of a mile from the Sonoma Plaza.
Sonoma State Historic Park (General Vallejo’s Home)
298 W Spain St., Sonoma50 acres, grasslands,
mixed woodlands, ridges, parking. Hawks, woodpeckers, songbirds.
Sonoma Valley Regional Park
13630 Sonoma Highway(Suttonfield Reservoir)
3 mile loop hike, 162 acre preserve w/oak woodlands.
Variety of hawks, waterfowl, woodpeckers. Bathrooms & parking.
Spring Lake 393 Violetti Road, Santa Rosa 2.5 mile trail.
Great place to bird year round.
Environmental Discover Center.Bathrooms & parking.
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
2172-3498 Adobe Canyon Rd., Kenwood21 miles of trails.
2,700 acre park range from 600 feet at the entrance
to 2,729 feet. Meadow Trail is a favorite of birders.
Chaparral-covered ridges, oak/fir forest land along
the open meadows, and redwood forest in the canyon of
Sonoma Creek. Several owl species. Bathrooms & parking.
Tolay Lake Regional Park Lakeville Hwy 116 @ Cannon LaneHalf mile gravel/clay
road loop that goes to the east ridge up into the wooded hills.
1,737-acre grasslands, ridges, and freshwater wetlands.
Check out Tolay Lake, look for nesting birds and migrant fallout.
Access Info: (707) 565-2041, 2.5 mile trail.
Great place to bird year round. Bathrooms & parking.
Viansa Wetlands Overlook 25200 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, daily 10 a.m. – 5 PM.
90 acre seasonal wetlands overlook. Hawks, shorebirds,
American white pelican variety of ducks.
Scope is most helpful. Bathrooms & parking.
Vista Point Overlook Rt. 37 East, 2.2 miles from 37/121 Intersection @ Sears Point1500 acres, large numbers of shorebird
and waterfowl wintering and during migrations.
Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
3801 St. Helena Highway N., CalistogaBirders have many opportunities for bird watching
due to the varied vegetation and microclimates
in the park, very diverse flora and fauna. (707) 942.4575
American Canyon Wetlands Walk the Flyway! Take a walk on the new wetlands trail passing near grasslands, woodland, saltwater bay, fresh water ponds, pickleweed marsh and the shores of the Napa River. Shorebirds, ducks, egrets and herons, hawks, hummingbirds and songbirds abound. 205 Wetlands Edge Road & Eucalyptus Drive, American Canyon
Napa-Sonoma Marsh From State Hwy. 12/121 take Ramal Road south, 5.0 miles, large hay barn & parking. 396 acres – 2.5 mile trail at Hudeman Slough Wetlands Walk. Kiosk. Migratory flocks regularly visit while they are making their way through the area. Willets, Stilts, Killdeers,Peregrine Falcons, Red-shouldered Hawks and Golden Eagles.
Lake Hennessey &Lake Berryessa
Northeast Napa County. Small but very popular lake for hundreds of resident and migratory bird species. Bufflehead, Osprey, Bald Eagle and Woodpeckers. At Lake Berryessa, the Dam area at the southeast corner of the lake is one of the best local birding areas in Napa County.
Knoxville State Wildlife Area
10 miles north of Lake Berryessa. Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, Prairie Falcon, Rio Grande wild turkeys. Knoxville Wildlife Area/Blue Ridge Berryessa Natural Area. (707) 944-5500
Coastal Bodega Bay Considered to be one of the best birding areas in the world, the beautiful Sonoma Coast and Pacific Flyway offers nearly a dozen coastal birding hotspots year round for all levels. 355 Highway 1, Bodega Bay will take you to the entrance of Sonoma Coast State Park.Doran Beach In Bodega Bay, this Sonoma County Regional Park offers a “Bird Walk”, Rail Ponds, Owl Canyon, Porto Bodega Marina and Hole in the Head for premium coastal birdwatching opportunities. Bathrooms & parking. •stewardsofthecoastandredwoods.org