View Full Version : San Simeon / Morro Bay

Joerg Rockenberger
11-24-2008, 04:30 PM
If anyone has recommendations for good bird photography locations in San Simeon and Morro Bay for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend that would be much appreciated. Thanks, JR

Aidan Briggs
11-26-2008, 01:24 PM

I live about 15 minutes from Morro Bay and right now is a pretty good time to visit. The estuary in Morro Bay will usually have a group of roosting godwits (500 or more) along with one or more curlews, and multiple great and snowy egrets. The Rookery (near the natural history museum) hosts nesting egrets, herons and cormorants. Red shouldered hawks are spotted there occasionally. The birds there are too far up to get anything besides environmental shots though. This is also usually true at the estuary, however take a look at the website www.orchidoutriggers.com (http://www.orchidoutriggers.com) They provide tours in outriggers specifically designed for photography. When I have been on them, we have often been able to get as close as 6-7 feet away from loons, sandpipers (western and least) curlews and night herons. You will also photograph terns, cormorants, and sometimes osprey flying by. These tours can cost up to $100 for 4 hours, so if you don't want to spend that much you can always rent a kayak and explore the bay yourself. You will see grebes, cormorants, pelicans in the bay. And on the sandspit (accross from the bay) there are large flocks of roosting terns, godwits with a few dowitchers, and sometimes cormorants. Remember to pay attention to the tides and winds when kayaking. Windy conditions will make it nearly impossible to get any shots.Wintering gulls are also here now, with heerman's, western, and ringbilled being the most common.

For Pelicans, try Tidelands park in the morning, there are usually some juvie pelicans near the parking lot where the fish cleaning station is. You can get full frame shots of them at 100mm or less If the fishermen are there then there will probably be around half a dozen adults there as well. There will also be many BIF opportunities.

Remember the tides are crucial to bird photography; there will always be more shorebird activity at low tide.

If you have a 500mm lens than bring it. I don't but I use a 100-400 and there are plenty of photo ops. For pelicans a close focusing medium-telephoto is ideal at Tidelands park. You will also find white-crowned sparrows there, and sometimes yellow-rumped warblers.

I hope this helps, and maybe I'll see you there ;)

Joerg Rockenberger
11-28-2008, 12:59 AM

Thanks for the input. This is terrific. Especially the Outrigger trip sounds interesting.

But I decided to go to Merced NWR instead of going South. Morro Bay might be the perfect trip for the Xmas holidays though. :)


Alma K Bailey
12-03-2008, 02:59 PM
Morro is a GREAT any time of year, I was there this last weekend and it was high tide with low clouds, but as always BEAUTIFUL!!