2013 Monterey Bay Birding Festival


by Clark Tate

Break out your binocs—the birds are back in town. The seasons are shifting, migrations have begun and, from August to October, a spectacularly diverse assemblage of bird species will be passing through. Trailing on their tailfeathers will be an equally colorful flock of birders flying in from around the globe to participate in the Monterey Bay Birding Festival Sept. 12-15. Monterey Bay is dreamy for many reasons—flourishing marine life, world-class surf breaks, miles upon miles of hiking and biking trails, etc.—and its truly spectacular birding prospects stack up with the best of them. They inspired Hitchcock. Hitchcock.

The area’s extreme range and diversity of habitat types (Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Big Sur, Elkhorn Slough National Marine Estuary, Pinnacles National Monument) make it an ideal avian stopover. Smack in the middle of the autumn flocking frenzy, the Birding Festival takes full advantage of the splendor nature so nicely delivers to our front door. Offering field trips to local birding hotspots, water adventures to view seabirds, birding workshops, social events and speaker presentations, the festival is a varied affair. Expert guides will show you the ropes and point out the feathery eye candy. Once you register for the festival, event prices range from $0 to $154, with most falling between $10 and $25.

Monterey Bay Birding Festival Day One
Monterey Bay Birding Festival Day Two
Monterey Bay Birding Festival Day Three
Monterey Bay Birding Festival Day Four

Several events occur multiple times during the festival, and all are offered “a la carte,” meaning you can order them separately to create your own, masterfully designed bird safari. To plan yours, take a look at the Monterey Bay Birding Festival Schedule along with the full list of field trips and water adventures.

Read a profile of Monterey Bay birder and guide Clay Kempf

We don’t want to miss the Shearwater Journeys water adventure (9/12, 9/13, 9/14, 9/15), California Condor Recovery on the Central Coast workshop (9/12), Beginning Birding half-day field trip (9/13), Field Identification of Raptors presentation (9/13), Owls of Robinson Canyon night field trip (9/13, 9/14) or the Condor Viewing in Big Sur (9/13, 9/15). It’s gonna be a busy weekend.

Buller’s, pink-footed, and sooty shearwaters, jaegers, Sabine’s gulls, black-footed albatrosses, marbled godwits, Western sandpipers, Brandt cormorants and western grebes—it’s like living in a Lewis Carroll wonderland illustrated by Dr. Seuss. It's hard to describe how incredibly cool this event is. So we think you should just show up.

West Cliff Birding Surprise
Todd Newberry, Birding Teacher
Green Birding, Adventure Birding