Wetlands, Waterfowl, and Wine: Birding in the California Central Valley

The California Central Valley is famous for its gorgeous wetlands filled with various waterfowl and its endless vineyards producing some of the world’s finest wines. As huge fans of this area, Naturalist Journeys crafted the California: Birding Wine Country itinerary from February 5-11. Explore Lodi and stay at the luxury Wine & Roses Hotel while our trusted guide, David Yee, takes you to see some of the most beautiful wildlife habitats in the Central Valley. Here’s a sneak peak of the top ten birds you might see on this trip.

Greater White-fronted Goose

First, this medium-sized goose boasts bright orange legs and a white face and flies in huge flocks at this time of year. Observe them mixed in groups of other species of geese. Additionally, Greater White-fronted Geese thrive in agricultural fields like the famous Central Valley vineyards. 

Ross’s Goose

This “mini” version of the Snow Goose is an adorable sight in the California wetlands. Find Ross’ Geese in huge flocks of other species of geese. 

Cinnamon Teal

The Cinnamon Teal is named for the male’s spice-colored feathers, boasts pops of dusty blue and striking red eyes. Spot these beautiful waterfowl in the wetlands of the California Central Valley!

California Quail

The California Quail is native only to the western coast of North America, they were introduced to other locations including Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, and Hawaii. The California Quail has a scaly-patterned belly and can be seen running along their brushy habitats. 

Anna’s Hummingbird

This chunky hummingbird is most recognizable by the striking magenta heads found on males. In addition, females share the male’s greenish-gray body. Anna’s Hummingbirds are only found in North America. 

White-faced Ibis

The White-faced Ibis is a striking maroon-colored wader. They gather in flocks and feed in marshy wetlands or agricultural fields. 

Lewis’s Woodpecker

Lewis’s Woodpecker is one of the larger members of the woodpecker family, with pink, silver, and oily green feathers. It is also one of the strangest. Despite its family name, this bird’s flight pattern resembles a crow and foraging methods are like a flycatcher.

Western Bluebird

Another bird native to North America, the Western Bluebird is a beautiful backyard species that thrives in open woodlands. Despite their territorial nature, a large number of nests with youngsters in them are defended by males that did not father them.


The Phainopepla, named for its slick black feathers, coming from Greek origin meaning “shining robe”. Fun fact: the Phainopepla can eat up to 1,100 mistletoe berries a day!

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Finally, easily recognizable by its strange call, this bird is a North American beauty. Yellow-headed Blackbirds are huge fans of wetlands, especially those sporting cattails. 

To sum up, you don’t want to miss this California Birding Wine Country tour, an immersive guided tour that allows you to bird premier National Wildlife Refuges and witness iconic western species. To find out more about our California trip, visit our website or click the link below: 

 California: Birding Wine Country | February 5-11, 2022 

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