Photo: Yolo Audubon

Birding in the Region

In winter, hundreds of thousands of waterfowl fill the Central Valley. Fall and spring are busy migration months for passerines and shorebirds. Summer residents, including the Swainson’s Hawk, are distributed throughout the lowland areas of the county.

Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area
Auto tour loop and hiking trails. Ponds and marshes with patches of grassland and riparian. Excellent for waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors. Take I-80 east from Davis (approximately six miles) to the East Chiles Road Exit. After exiting onto East Chiles Road (also called 32B) turn left (east) and go about 0.2 miles to a gravel access road on the right, which climbs to the top of the levee. Turn left past the gate on top of the levee and drive down into the Wildlife Area.

City of Davis Wetlands
Opened in 2000, this City of Davis water management facility has proved enormously successful in attracting shorebirds, gulls and waterfowl. Located at the east end of Road 28H which is off of Road 102, north of Davis. Please note that the City of Davis Wetlands are open to the public during the hours of 7:00 AM – 1:00 PM Monday-Sunday during most of the year, but are only open on Mondays during the hunting season, i.e. open daily 7am-1pm Feb 16-Aug 31; Mondays only Sept 1-Feb 15.

Rayhouse Road and Cache Creek
Northwestern tip of Yolo County. ROAD NOW CLOSED TO VEHICULAR TRAFFIC. Go north on Highway 16 through the Capay Valley (you will be basically paralleling Cache Creek once you pass Esparto) past Rumsey to the Lower Cache Creek Canyon Regional Park. Turn left into the park and walk up Rayhouse Road (also called County Road 40) to the top of the ridge. Good for chaparral and riparian species. Rayhouse Road is one of the best owling locations in Yolo County and Lower Cache Creek Canyon Regional Park is reliable for Bald Eagle during the winter months.

Lake Solano
Good year-round for waterfowl, nesting ospreys, and passerines. Lake Solano is approximately four miles west of Winters off of Highway 128. Take a left on Pleasants Valley Road and explore the Lake Solano County Park or continue to Putah Creek Road, turn right and proceed east for approximately one mile to a parking area just west of the Lake Solano Diversion Dam.

Lake Berryessa and Canyons
Lake Berryessa, a reservoir held in place by the Monticello Dam just above Lake Solano, has grebes in winter and nesting Peregrine Falcons and White-throated Swifts in summer. Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve (located just east of Monticello Dam off of Highway 128) is a UC Natural Reserve with a well-marked trail leading up into Mountain Quail country. Golden eagles are resident.

Reichmuth Park, Sacramento
Excellent for migrating landbirds, woodpeckers and a possibility for vagrant warblers. Wood Ducks are resident. Travel south from Sacramento along Interstate 5. Take the 43rd Avenue Exit and turn left at the light at the bottom of the ramp. Stay in the rightmost lane and turn right onto Gloria Avenue. Reichmuth Park will be on your left and there is parking near the restrooms or along the street. The nature area is behind the tennis courts.

Organizations of Interest

American Birding Association American Ornithologists’ Union
Cornell Lab of Ornithology Central Valley Birding Symposium
National Audubon Society Point Reyes Bird Observatory

Western Field Ornithologists

Other Internet Resources

Central Valley Birds (mailing list) Birdwest (mailing list)
Calbirds (mailing list) American Bird Conservancy
Joe Morlan’s California Birding Ocean Wanderers
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Surfbirds
The Virtual Birder Where Do You Want to Go Birding Today? eBird
Birding in Yolo County