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A Birders Guide to Point Lobos

The diverse habitats at Point Lobos provide a wonderful birding opportunity.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 5 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview:  You can't actually go to Point Lobos without seeing a bird. There are birds all over. They are on the rocky cliffs, in the water, in... more »

Tips:  Point Lobos State Reserve is located about 5 miles south of Monterey, CA on State Route 1.

The Reserve is open from 8 am to 7 pm. The... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Bird Island Rookeries

The trail to Bird Island is once again open!

The Bird Island loop trail affords views of nesting Black-crowned Night Herons, Brandt's Cormorants, Western Gulls and Pigeon Guillemots in May through July.

Fall 2011 a pair of Peregrine Falcons took up residence on Bird Island. You may be able to spot one on the rocks near the top of the Island. You... More

2. Birds in the intertidal

Weston Beach provides the best tide pooling in the Reserve. The birds know this as well. Cormorants and Gulls are common here, so are Black Oystercatchers, Black Turnstones, Black Phoebes, and American Crows.

Snowy Egrets are commonly seen fishing in the tide pools. It is fun to watch them shake their foot along the bottom to scare up fish.

... More

3. Pine Forests

Much of the Reserve is covered by Monterey Pine forest. All of the interior trails, as well as the Carmelo Meadows and South Plateau trails meander through this forest. Dark-eyed Juncos, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, and Bushtits abound.

You may see Northern Flicker, Hairy Woodpeckers, Acorn Woodpeckers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Bewick's Wrens,... More

4. Scrub Meadows

Ok I call them scrub meadows, these are open areas filled with poison oak, hemlock, and other low scrub brush. There might be a better/more accurate name for them.

They are concentrated along the south shore from Sea Lion Point to Weston Beach. You will also find scrub meadows at the northeast end of the Reserve along the Granite Point trail.

... More

5. Cypress Forest

The Monterey Cypress forests are distinct from the pine forests in that they lack the dense undergrowth. While many of the birds in the trees are the same, chickdees, nuthatches, etc, you can get better views of them.

With the grassy undergrowth, you may also see California Quail.

There is also a resident Red-Shouldered Hawk who you may spot in ... More

6. Whaler's Cove

Whaler's Cove is the denizen of diving ducks. If you are looking for Pacific Loons, Red-breasted Mergansers, or grebes (Western, Eared, and Pied-billed), start here.

Having said that, my impression is that you are more likely to see them in the winter and early spring.

You will of course still see cormorants, Western Gulls and probably and... More

7. Great Blue Heron Rookery

In April through June, Great Blue Herons nest in the pine trees at Coal Chute Point.

8. Whaler's Cabin Museum

9. Docent Info Station

10. Bird Island Parking

11. Sea Lion Point Parking

12. Restroom

13. Restroom

14. Whalers Cove Parking

15. Restroom

16. Restroom

17. Restroom

18. Piney Woods Parking