Cycling is a fantastic way to get to the best sites for a spot of bird watching because the very lack of noise a bike makes compared with a car is a benefit immediately. Not only that but most of the best spots tend to be a little of the main routes so a bike is an ideal way to get up close to the perfect sites. Here are a few ideas of where to go and what types of birds you might see. For more information on bird type, see http://www.birdgalaxy.com/
Malibu may be a great spot for a bit of surfing or sunbathing but it is also home to around 200 species of birds. Malibu Lagoon State Beach is the saltwater marsh next to where Malibu Creek joins the Pacific. From seagulls to brown pelicans, many different types of birds make use of the sands while cormorants stand watch on the sticks while snowy egrets ignore everyone in their quest for food. You can drive to the site along the Pacific Coast Highway then hike or bike from there.
Despite being one of the busiest airspace areas in the country, the land around LAX airport is host to a huge range of birds. There are around 300 recorded species in the Ballona Wetlands while the Del Rey Lagoon is home to greylag geese, mallard ducks and belted kingfishers as well as the American coot, easily identified with his red eyes and green and black feet. Both sites have a range of hawks in the trees as well as different types of hummingbirds amongst the flowers.
The Salton Sea is the largest body of water in the state and is twice the size of Lake Tahoe. It is best to visit during the winter when around 400 species make it their home. The Rock Hill Trail is one particularly good way to take in the sites with birds such as Canada geese, snow geese and Ross’s geese as well as American white pelicans flying in their formations overhead. The shoreline is home to avocets, snowy plovers, marbled godwits and log-billed curlews.
Palo Alto Baylands is a 1500 acres site containing salt marsh where the threatened California Black Rail and the endangered California Clapper Rail both make their home. There are also freshwater marsh, mudflats and grassy areas so a huge range of birds can be seen running from White-tailed Kite and Burrowing Owls to Western Meadowlark, Allen’s Hummingbird and the Tricoloured Blackbird. Different times of the year will yield different residents to check out when is best if you are seeking a special bird.
Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area
This wildlife area was completed in 1997 and was the largest wetlands restoration project in the western USA. It now has 3700 acres within the Yolo Bypass, a flood control project made by the Army Corps of Engineers. It is known for its waterfowl including significant numbers of some of the rarest in the country such as the Least Sandpipers and Northern Pintails. Other residents include the White-faced Ibis, Cinnamon Teal, Western Kingbird, Bullock’s Oriole and the Short-eared Owl. Again, residents can vary between seasons, so check if you want to see a certain type of bird.