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Fall Birding | Santa Ynez River Estuary, Lompoc, CA

Distance: 0.5 mile | Duration: 90 minutes

Habitats: estuary, shoreline, sand, dunes, marsh.

Note: Ocean Beach Park is open from 8 AM to Sunset. Beach access is closed to the public from March 1st through September 30 due to the Snowy Plover nesting season.

We arrived right after 9 AM, it was foggy and the parking lot was nearly empty. A female Great-tailed Grackle ran away from us.

Sweeping views of the Santa Ynez River estuary.

Many shorebirds species where present either resting or actively feeding, like this Snowy Egret.

California Gull taking it easy.

Red-necked Phalarope.

Double-crested Cormorants.

Least Terns were resting on the opposite bank of the river mouth.

Great Blue Heron.

As the fog cleared, a Song Sparrow put its toes in the sand.

We followed the short path under the bridge and admired sweeping views of the estuary.

A juvenile Reddish Egret, a rare bird by the way, was very active.

Black-bellied Plover.

Greater Yellowlegs.


Least Sandpipers.

We walked along the beautiful fenced dunes for a little while.

We turnaround as no birds could be seen and checked out the railroad tracks.

Barn Swallow fledgling.

Pied-billed Grebes, Loon, Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets

Close up of the Common Loon.

Black Phoebe on its favorite perch.

Long-billed Curlew.

We observed a total of 27 bird species including a Snowy Plover, a Anna's Hummingbird, a White-crowned Sparrow, Mallards, House Finches, Semipalmated Plovers, as well as Caspian Terns and Turkey Vultures in flight.


Credits and Additional Information

SYRE is the acronym for Santa Ynez River Estuary.


Birding the Santa Ynez River Estuary was easy yet rewarding! We spotted Long-billed Curlew, Greater Yellowlegs, Least Tern species and even a rare Reddish Egret.



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