When it comes to habitat diversity, California has few rivals. Every few miles, things change, which makes for superb birding--from Marbled Murrelets, Sooty Shearwaters, and Black-footed Albatrosses, to enigmatic Wrentits, Nuttall's and White-headed woodpeckers, Williamson's Sapsucker, California Thrashers, "Bell's" Sage Sparrow, Lawrence's Goldfinch, and Oak Titmouse. And some species widespread elsewhere have California twists, such as "California Raven" and "Thick-billed" Fox Sparrow; even the White-breasted Nuthatches are different!
Our tour begins in the San Francisco Bay area; coastal California in fall is a vagrant magnet, so you never know what may turn up. A highlight will be a pelagic to the rich waters of the Pacific where our main quest will be seabirds--including Pink-footed, Sooty, Buller's, and maybe Flesh-footed shearwaters. Of course we also hope to run into Black-footed Albatross, storm-petrels, Cassin's and Rhinoceros auklets, whales, and who knows what else--the ocean always holds surprises.
We'll cross the agricultural Central Valley and head to the Sierra Mountains, where we'll spend a few days in the conifer forests (for such rewards as Hermit Warbler, Clark's Nutcracker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, and possibly Mountain Quail), then we'll visit the sage desert where we'll seek Pinyon Jay, Sage Thrasher, and Greater Sage-Grouse. Come join us on this cross section of northern California, a region both birdy and beautiful.
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