Local Birding Locations

Laguna Grande Park, Seaside and
Frog Pond Wetland Preserve, Del Rey Oaks
Activity level: mild; short morning trips possible
These two small wetland parks along Canyon Del Rey Blvd. are hidden treasures for birding. Both have a variety of waterfowl, sparrows, warblers, finches and occasional vagrants. Peregrine Falcons and Great-tailed Grackles are also possible in the area surrounding Laguna Grande Park near Embassy Suites. More information on Frog Pond here.
Directions: From Monterey, take Hwy 1 north to Hwy 218/Canyon Del Rey Blvd exit. Continue past Embassy Suites about a ½ mile to a parking lot on the right with a church. Frog Pond is a mile farther down Canyon Del Rey, past Fremont Street, and is on the left across from Via Verde.

Fisherman's Wharf area, Monterey
Activity level: mild; short morning trips possible
The entire Monterey harbor is an excellent location for viewing pelagic and inshore marine species such as loons, scoters, grebes, and gulls. During winter, you may find our returning Harlequin Ducks or other vagrant species. Walking the entire length of Wharf #2 is a great opportunity to scope and photograph birds up close.
Directions: From the Wild Bird Haven, head down Munras St., continuing on Abrego and Washington Street. Turn right onto Del Monte Avenue and then left into the Municipal Wharf parking lot.

Crespi Pond, Pacific Grove
Activity level: mild; short morning trips possible
This small freshwater pond, flanked by groves of cypress trees and the rocky shoreline, is located on the edge of the Pacific Grove golf course. The immediate area around the pond has attracted over 300 species, including rare vagrants during migration. Pull-outs to view the pond are close by, but access to the pond itself can be limited during heavy golfing activity. Visitors are asked to be courteous to the golfers and avoid walking on the putting greens.
Directions: From the Monterey Bay Aquarium, follow Ocean View Blvd. along the coast past Lovers Point, in Pacific Grove. Crespi Pond is on the left, just after Asilomar Ave, near the lighthouse.

Jacks Peak, Monterey
Activity level: mild to moderate
This County Park offers about 8.5 miles of hiking trails through our endemic Monterey Pine forest for a chance to see hawks, swifts, and various forest specialists. The summit offers fantastic views of both Monterey Bay and Carmel Valley, making it a worthwhile hike for the sights alone. More information here.
Directions: Heading east on Hwy 68 towards the Monterey Airport, turn right at the airport’s intersection onto Olmsted Rd. Turn left at the entrance of Jacks Peak Drive. Park outside in the small lot and walk in or pay an entrance fee to drive in.

Elkhorn Slough, Watsonville
Activity level: moderate; half-day to full-day hikes
Starting from the Slough's Visitor Center, the trails though the surrounding wetlands, grasslands and forests sample the area's extraordinary habitats for finding a variety of waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, and songbirds. Try to spot some Barn Owls nesting in the old barns near the Visitor Center! *Fee required for day access beyond the Visitor Center. More information here.
Directions: Drive north on Hwy 1 up to the Moss Landing Power Plant, take a right on Dolan Rd. and drive about 3.6 miles east. Take a left at Elkhorn Rd. and continue north about 2 miles to reach the Visitor Center on the left.

Point Lobos, Carmel
Activity level: mild
This scenic State Reserve is one of the most beautiful in the county, with many trails through meadows, cypress groves, marine terraces and hidden coves. The area is a great opportunity to observe both forest and oceanic wildlife, especially at low tide. *Fee required for autos; pedestrians and cyclists free. More information here.
Directions: From the Wild Bird Haven, take Hwy 1 south for about 5.5 miles. The reserve’s entrance will be on the right. Parking is along either side of the Hwy, or you can drive into the reserve (fee required) for parking inside.

Garland Ranch, Carmel Valley
Activity level: mild to moderate
This Regional Park offers many trails through various habitats and elevations, including willow banks, oak woodlands, cottonwood floodplains, and redwood canyons. Open to public access at no charge, visitors have the opportunity to spend the whole day exploring the area and observing many species. More information here.
Directions: Traveling south on Hwy 1, turn left onto Carmel Valley Rd and keep heading east for about 8.6 miles. The parking lot will be on the right side of the road.

Andrew Molera State Park, Big Sur
Activity level: moderate to strenuous; full-day trip with various hiking trails
The drive down scenic Hwy #1 to reach the park is worth the trip alone for the chance to see some soaring California Condors among the cliffs. The park itself is one of the finest areas for birding in the county, with major trails through a variety of habitats. *Entrance fee required. More information here.
Directions: From the Wild Bird Haven, go south on Hwy 1 approx. 25 miles. The parking lot and Ventana Wildlife Society’s Discovery Center are off on the right.

Pinnacles National Park, Paicines
Activity level: moderate to strenuous; full-day trip with various hiking trails
The entire park is an exciting opportunity to see California Condors, Canyon Wrens, Prairie Falcons, Rufous-crowned Sparrows, Wild Turkeys, and other regional specialties. The East Pinnacles entrance is the most accessible and offers trails through a variety of habitats, including rocky crags, grasslands, riparian, and thick chaparral. *Fee required at Visitor Center. More information here.
Directions: The East Entrance is about 30 miles south of Hollister on Airline Hwy 25. For the West Entrance, continue south on Hwy 101 until you reach Soledad, then turn east on Hwy 146 for about 12 miles. There is no road connecting the two sides of the Park.