Bird Watching – Cambria, California


A trip along scenic California Highway 1 is in itself a worthy endeavor as there are many fine towns along the way. The views along the coast of the Pacific Ocean are spectacular and there are so many places to stop, either for sightseeing, picnicking, hiking, beachcombing, photography, or simply relaxing. And no better place is the quaint town of Cambria where bird watching along that part of the coast offers a special treat year-round.

The following are birds that we observed and photographed over a three day visit. Although we managed to see several more species, our camera eye just wasn’t quick enough to capture them all. Above, is the Acorn Woodpecker. 

The photos of the birds observed in Cambria are shown in alphabetical order. Above is the American Crow.

The Band-tailed Pigeon loves to visit garden fountains.

A Black Turnstone enjoys a bath at low-tide.

A very young Brandt’s Cormorant has no problem navigating the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

An adult male Brandt’s Cormorant displaying its breeding plumage.

A male Brewer’s Blackbird shimmering in the sunshine.

Brown Pelicans are a common sight but rarely this chocolate colored.

California’s state bird, the California Quail can be seen foraging in the hilly forests. 

Perhaps one of the easiest birds to photograph up close is the California Towhee.

Chestnut-backed Chickadees are a bit harder to photograph as they tend to hop from branch to branch.

The uncommon looking Common Merganser loves fresh water lakes, rivers, and ponds.

We spotted a Costa’s Hummingbird on a hike along the ridge trail of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. 

It is hard to spot the eyes of the Dark-eyed Junco!

One of many invasive species that are now common in the USA is the Erasian Collared Dove.

The stealthy Great Blue Heron will stand patiently still as it awaits an opportunity to pounce on prey.

The elegant and equally stealthy Great Egret, once near extinction due to its beautiful feathers being highly desired as adornment for women’s hats. 

Many finches can be seen in the Cambria area including this female House Finch.

A very colorful male House Finch sits atop a fence post flashing its bright red color.

We spotted this Red-breasted Merganser as it dove among the tide pools.

A great many sparrows, including the Song Sparrow, can be found in most places around Cambria.

A stroll along the boardwalk trail at Moonstone Beach will likely yield many shorebird sightings like the Spotted Sandpiper and the beach may yield a beautiful Moonstone. 

The metallic call of the male Spotted Towhee is an unmistakable sound.

The ocean bluff hike at Fiscalini Ranch Preserve will have you looking down on Turkey Vultures as they soar below you.

There are many types of sea gulls along the Cambria coast, this Western Gull was quite keen to have its photo taken. Or perhaps it was just waiting for a handout.

The beautiful song of the White-crowned Sparrow can be heard from Alaska to Mexico and throughout the USA.

Cambria is one of those places that is not too touristy and yet has enough amenities to make your visit a pleasant one. Oh sure, it has its art shops and boutiques and trendy restaurants that have lines that form way before they open, but Cambria is also filled with many places to enjoy simple hikes, nature and best of all, bird watching. If you are a birder, a trip to Cambria will add another drop in the bucket!

All photographs are the copyright of Jim Jackson Photography. Please contact me with any questions, comments, or for authorization to use photos or for signed, high-resolution prints.

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