sbcobirding receives the generous support of the Santa Barbara Audubon Society. For more than 50 years SBAS has helped to preserve the biological diversity of the Santa Barbara area.
sbcobirding This website was created as a resource for everything birding in Santa Barbara County. The goal is simply to promote the activity of field birding in the county and to provide information to interested birders. If you have comments about this website or would like more information about local birding, please contact me.
Tepusquet Canyon & Colson CanyonSeasons: sp | su | wi Map: eBird:Description: Pronounced "Tep-us-kay" (the Chumash word "fishing for trout"), the stream and oak woodland at the bottom of Tepusquet Canyon between the 7 - 9 mile markers east of Santa Maria is quite good for spring birding. Migrants move through the narrow riparian corridor along the creek, in the sycamores, and shaded oaks. You can access Colson Canyon and Los Padres National Forest from Tepusquet Road but low clearance vehicles are not recommended at creek crossings.Birds you might see or hear: Costa’s Hummingbird, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Western Wood-Pewee, Oak Titmouse, Canyon Wren, Warbling Vireo, Steller's Jay, Lawrence’s GoldfinchNojoqui Falls County ParkSeasons: sp | su | wi Hours: 8:00AM - dusk Map: eBird:Description: Nojoqui Park is known to local birders for its small breeding population of Purple Martins in the county. A rare and local breeder in much of California. Look for them in spring and summer around the sycamore trees near the entrance to the park. An easy hike up the trail into the cool, shaded canyon to see the picturesque cascading falls is well worth the effort (best in spring). You may be fortunate to see Black-chinned Hummingbird, Cassin's Vireo, or Black-throated Gray Warbler here. Winter is good for White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows, kinglets, thrushes, and occasionally a Pacific Wren, or Canyon Wren, and Varied Thrush on the park lawn.Birds you might see or hear: Wild Turkey, Band-tailed Pigeon, Purple Martin, Violet-green Swallow, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Hutton's Vireo, Yellow-billed Magpie, Purple Finch, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Bullock's Oriole.Refugio Road - Quiota CreekSeasons: sp | su | wi Map: eBird:Description: This seven mile drive along Quiota Creek south of Solvang is good in spring and early summer for resident and migrant birds. The riparian habitat along the creek is reliable for warblers, flycatchers, vireos and orioles. The road crosses the creek at a few places which often provides the most productive birding. Much of lower canyon is easy to traverse, but is unpaved as you head up into the Santa Ynez Range and can be easily hiked. As you near the top of the Santa Ynez Mountains look for nesting Chipping Sparrows, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Black-throated Gray Warbler.Birds you might see or hear: Black-chinned Hummingbird, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Western Wood-Pewee, Hutton's Vireo, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Yellow Warbler, Bullock's OrioleFigueroa Mountain & Ranger PeakSeasons: sp | su | wi Map: +eBird:Description: Drive up Figueroa Mountain Road in spring (April and May) and you will be treated to incredible displays of wildflowers and amazing views of much of the surrounding Santa Ynez Valley below. Birding can be done all along this road as you ascend toward the upper elevations. The habitat is a mixture of oak-savanna, grassland and chaparral at lower elevations, and oak, pine and fir forest around the Figueroa summit and nearby Ranger Peak. A short distance past Catway Rd. is a 1.5-mile unpaved road to the Pino Alto Day Use Area and the old fire lookout tower. The road is fine for most passenger vehicles and the Day Use Area provides some of the best birding on Figueroa Mountain. Davy Brown Trailhead is east of Figueroa Campground and descends into the shaded Fir Canyon below where there is running water. Also worth exploring is Ranger Peak and East Pinery Road which is just east of Davy Brown Trailhead. Rarities in the area have included Black Swift, California Condor, White-headed Woodpecker, Evening Grosbeak. Be sure to search eBird for additional Hotspots in this area.Birds you might see or hear: Mountain Quail, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Golden Eagle, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Mountain Chickadee, Pygmy Nuthatch, Rock Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Townsend’s Solitaire, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Chipping SparrowHappy Canyon Road to Nira CampSeasons: sp | su | wi Map: +eBird:Fee: Description: This scenic drive through much of the ranch land in the Santa Ynez Valley is good for oak-savanna birds such as Lark Sparrow, Acorn Woodpecker, Bullock’s Oriole, Yellow-billed Magpie and Western Kingbird in summer. Lewis’s Woodpecker and Mountain Bluebird are both irregular visitors some winters. As the road winds upward, you eventually enter the Los Padres National Forest. A stop at Cachuma Campground for birding along the creek is productive for migrants in spring. Continue on to Sunset Valley Road and Davy Brown campground (fee area) and eventually the terminus at Nira Campground and Manzana Creek at edge of the San Rafael Wilderness.Birds you might see or hear: Mountain Quail, Golden Eagle, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Costa's Hummingbird, Lewis's Woodpecker, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Steller’s Jay, Yellow-billed Magpie, Common Raven, Cassin's Vireo, Lazuli BuntingCachuma Lake Recreation AreaSeasons: sp | su | fa | wi Hours: 6:00AM - dusk Map: +eBird:Fee: Description: Lake Cachuma County Park is the largest body of fresh water in the county. Each winter a multitude of waterfowl along with cormorants, grebes and loons can easily be spotted from various sites along the south shoreline and the Bradbury Dam overlook. Occasionally, geese and American White Pelicans are seen in the eastern portion of the lake. Western and Clark’s Grebes are breeding birds here. Bald Eagles and Ospreys are regularly seen on the lake’s Eagle Cruise. The oaks within the park and campground areas are good for several western species.Birds you might see or hear: Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Clark’s Grebe, California Quail, Common Loon, Acorn Woodpecker, Prairie Falcon, California Scrub Jay, Western BluebirdParadise Road - Santa Ynez Recreation AreaSeasons: sp | su | wi Map: +eBird:Fee: Description: This narrow, interior stretch of the upper Santa Ynez River offers a mix of rocky canyon and riparian habitat. Water is flowing most years. It is excellent in early summer for Swainson’s Thrush, flyactchers, warblers, Cassin's, Warbling, and formerly, the endangered “Least” Bells Vireo. "Southwestern" Willow Flycatcher is also a rare breeder in the area. The Upper Santa Ynez River is recognized as an Audubon Society Important Bird Area. There are several campgrounds available along Paradise Road.Birds you might see or hear: Mountain Quail, White-throated Swift, Costa’s Hummingbird, Western Screech-Owl, Violet-green Swallow, Canyon Wren, Phainopepla, Lawrence’s Goldfinch