Birds a-plenty in Bodega Bay

Bird Walk
View from Bird Walk trail: Tall brown grass with yellow flowers in front of a wooden bridge leading to the saltwater marsh, a pond, and the the foggy coast in the distance. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Lewkowicz.

Bird Walk is a mile-long loop trail through a revitalized 14-acre saltwater marsh at the mouth of the Cheney Creek, where it empties into Bodega Harbor and Bodega Bay. This is one of Sonoma County’s prime spots for bird watching: here and in the neighboring pond, dunes, mudflats, and grasslands, you may see snowy egrets, northern harriers, northern pintails and marbled godwits to name a few.

During a recent hike, the coast was blanketed in a thick fog that muted the colors of the marsh and enhanced the colors of the birds, making them easier to spot. The firmly packed dirt and gravel loop trail runs atop a levee circling two dredge disposal ponds. From the parking lot off Highway One, take the switchback asphalt ramp to reach the loop trail, which sits some 25 feet above the top of a levee. If you choose to circle clockwise around the loop, you’ll first pass a pumping station–it’s unobtrusive, and you’ll likely be more focused on the vistas of Doran Park Marsh and Bodega Bay to the west. Within a few hundred feet you come to two spur trails; one travels down a gentle slope to a bridge that crosses Cheney Creek, where you can connect to the Doran Marsh Trail in Doran Regional Park and extend your trop another .4 miles. The other, a hard-packed first trail that bisects the loop, is a quite bumpy and doesn’t have the best views. Continue along the loop, stopping at strategically placed benches to enjoy the views and birdsong. First me, what started as a serene stroll quickly turned into a challenge to see how many difference birds I could identify.

Sonoma County Parks – 355 Highway One, Bodega Bay, (707) 875-3540. Click here for more information.

Open sunrise to sunset. No restrooms available: accessible public restrooms are at Doran Park and the Tides Wharf & Restaurant.

Visit Access Northern California for more info on accessible trails and other adventures in Northern California.