Santa Rosa, California is a city located in a popular birding area in Sonoma County. Santa Rosa is the largest city in California’s northern wine country. Over 200 species of birds can be seen in the Santa Rosa area and over 450 species total in the county. With the area being so populated, nature photographers may have to travel to the outskirts of city limits to capture the wildlife. The habitat is quite diverse. From lakes and channels to marshes and woodlands, it is the second most biologically diverse region of Sonoma County. Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and Black-crowned Herons are plentiful in the urban areas and others can be found on the trails nearby. Other wildlife found in the area is Red-spotted Toads, Desert Iguanas, Peninsular Sheep, and Desert Cottontails.
While wine might the initial draw to this coastal town for humans, the lush local trails draw many birds and wildlife. Some of these trails include Santa Rosa Creek Trail and Laguna de Santa Rosa Trail. Another birding hotspot for bird photographers in Santa Rosa is Spring Lake Regional Park. The “North Peninsula” located on the lake is a prime spot for bird photography. The east side of the lake gives a spectacular view of the waterbirds feeding and relaxing. During migration seasons, this park can see 60-80 bird species in a single day. Some of these species include Mallards, Acorn Woodpeckers, Yellow Warblers, and American Goldfinches.
Owen traveled to Santa Rosa, California in 2002, 2004, 2007, and 2012.