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Winter Birding | Jalama Beach, CA

Habitats: shoreline, sand, riparian scrub, estuary.

$10 day use fee.

From the road, partial view of the campground, creek estuary and Vanderberg SFB in the distance.

This Western Gull was waiting on one of the phone booths ready to let us know how to use a landline as there is no cell phone reception at Jalama Beach.

Jalama Beach County Park sign

A California scrub-Jay welcomed us to our campsite.

When setting up, we could see Red-winged Blackbirds flying over us singing incessantly. The weather was perfect and we could not wait to go check out the creak estuary and beach.

View of the train trestle from the beach. A Black Phoebe and House Finches were the only birds on duty in the creek estuary.

Many Sanderlings were present on the beach, doing their best to avoid dogs off leash. It was a nice surprise to briefly observe two Common Raven. Several Killdeer flew back and forth over our heads.

Gulls were resting on the shore or having a conversation while flying while humans were enjoying the sunset.

On Saturday morning, we fixed our coffee and walked to the beach. The campground was full and the day use parking was filling up with surfers, fishermen and dogs. Many Heermann's Gulls were already active while Royal Terns were gracefully landing on the beach,

The waves were misty and tempting surfers.

Brown Pelicans were gliding over the ocean. Countless birds were also lingering offshore.

Although I could not get a photo of an elusive Marsh Wren, it was such an enjoyable moment to watch the creek estuary.

A Song Sparrow was singing as we explored the scrub brush on our way back to the campsite.

Island Mallow bushes were in bloom.

As we got close to the creek again, a Common Yellowthroat was singing...

...and playing hide and seek with us in the cattails!

Near our campsite, we noticed this sign explaining the reason for the unpleasant smell coming from this naturally occurring mineral spring. Click the right arrow for a closer look.

After breakfast, we packed our lunch and walked on the beach. Fishermen of all ages were brushing up on their skills.

Heermann's Gull in breeding plumage. Click the right arrow for a closer look.

As the tide receded, Double-crested Cormorants rested on rocks covered with mussels.

Royal Terns did not mind standing on mussels. Breeding adult in the front.

This American Pipit was foraging and did not pay attention to us.

Lonely Spotted Sandpiper.

View of Point Conception in the distance.

We had lunch beside the tide pools and then turned around.

This Ring-billed Gull did not mind us.

Surf Scoters were swimming close to the shore...

...While this surfer was showing off... click the right arrow for more photos.

A "mystery" bird came by our campsite. While reviewing my photos, I identified it as a Palm Warbler and I am waiting for confirmation of the species. If I am right, this would be a new life bird!

We admired the sunset from our campsite.

In the morning, we returned to the creek estuary and noticed a Say's Phoebe catching bugs off the cliff while an American Kestrel briefly perched on a post far away.

House Finches were getting a drink.

Red-winged Blackbirds were taking a bath. Brewer's Blackbirds were also present.

A solitary Whimbrel was strolling the beach.

On our way back to our campsite, we heard a House Wren and observed this Nuttall's Woodpecker.

This White-crowned Sparrow was having a snack near our campsite.

Notice its head is covered with pollen.

This Eurasian Collared-Dove was getting a drink from the mineral spring.

We only identified 35 bird species and it was already time to leave. We were sorry we could not stay as long as our campsite neighbors who were headed to the beach.

While our neighbors were gone, this California Scrub-Jay was very persistent trying to get to the food they had left on the table.


Credits and Additional Information

Jalama Beach, where surfers compete with birds.



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