Overview

Southern California is the most biodiverse area in the United States. This is explained by the incredible array of habitats in a very small area. During this tour we will visit the edge of the Mojave Desert, seek out the once almost extinct Californian Condor, take a boat ride to the Channel Islands and bird various mountains, wetlands and the Pacific Ocean coast. This will allow us to see a superb diversity of birds and other wildlife and with minimal travel! Boasting one of the best climates in the world, this tour is suitable year-round.

Tour Facts Top Birds
California Condor; Island Scrub Jay; Yellow-billed Magpie; LeConte’s Thrasher; Bell’s, Fox, Rufous-crowned, Golden-crowned & Sagebrush Sparrows; Wrentit; California Quail; Nuttall’s & White-headed Woodpeckers; Ridgway’s Rail; Greater Roadrunner; Cactus Wren; California Gnatcatcher; Ferruginous Hawk; Prairie Falcon; White-tailed Kite; Tricolored Blackbird; Surfbird; Black Turnstone; Black Oystercatcher; Wandering Tattler; Clark’s Nutcracker; Williamson’s & Red-breasted Sapsuckers; Red Crossbill; Cassin’s Finch; Black-vented Shearwater; Red-tailed Hawk; Ross’s & Greater White-fronted Geese; Mountain Plover; Mountain Bluebird. ABA Countable species: Red-crowned Amazon; Scaly-breasted Munia; Yellow-chevroned Parakeet; Red-whiskered Bulbul.
Top Mammals
Gray Whale; Island Fox
Habitats Covered
coastal beaches, California sage scrub, oak chaparral, montane pine woodland, desert
Expected Climate
overnight lows down to 40F (5C), potentially cooler in the desert, with daytime highs in Los Angeles in December averaging 67F (20C) but as high as 80F (27C) plus. Rain is possible during the winter months.
Max Group Size
1 - 5 with 1 Rockjumper Leader / 6 - 10 with 2 Rockjumper Leaders
Tour Pace & Walking
the tour pace is fairly easy though we will be out all day most of the days. Walks will be short and mainly over paved terrain. We are also based in the one hotel for the whole trip so there are no repacking and moving days.
Accommodation
single comfortable hotel
Ease of Birding
generally easy, though species like Mountain Quail will require some luck.
Other Attractions
fantastic scenery, excellent reptile diversity.
Photographic Opportunities
excellent photo ops of bird and landscapes
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

This was my first birding tour, not only with Rockjumper, but any tour company. Being a first for me, I was a bit anxious, but am happy to say the tour met and exceeded my expectations. The lodging, meals and other tour participants were all great. Best of all was our tour guide, Stephan Lorenz. His knowledge, kindness and willingness to accommodate each member of the tour were phenomenal. I am also happy to say I picked up 94 life birds!

This was my 4th tour with Stephan, and he continues to be welcoming, caring, and on-point the entire trip. He always goes the extra mile to ensure everyone has a chance to see the birds and is very informative throughout the tour, always slipping in identification characteristics, sounds, or habitats that will help us in the future. He does all this with a very easy-going manner despite his high energy level and excellent people skills to ensure comraderie within the group. Despite the varied skill levels of the group’s participants, he is able to make each of us feel special, whether it is for me as a beginner birder with limited name associations to the species and a brain that doesn’t recall the information from day to day, all the way for those who are excellent at spotting birds and already knowing the species, perhaps due to a career in the field. This tour provided more challenges with some restaurants and toilets closed due to the pandemic or limited hours which did not mesh with the tour route, but Stephan and Claudia did an excellent job of rounding up food, supplies, meals, drinks, and toilet breaks. Because of the intense nature and number of miles/hours required each day to see the target species, they arranged for one vehicle to return to lodging each night at dinner time to provide an early night for those of us who needed a bit more sleep or for those whose abilities limited nighttime walking on uneven surfaces! I really appreciated that effort and concern, even though I love to see owls, etc. They are wonderful guides and friends!!!

It is great to be traveling again, even if it is a short domestic trip. But I don’t want to sell the tour short. It really was an excellent short tour. We saw a great number of migrating warblers and shorebirds. Stephan Lorenz has an uncanny ability to find the one special shorebird or a rare migrating warbler buried in the bushes. He is also kind, informative and always helpful. And a special thanks to Claudia for her help with the driving and coordination.

Stephan and Claudia are a great team: Stephan is simply amazing hearing, spotting and helping all get on the relevant bird(s). As the only non-master birder and the oldest person on the trip, I thought that they both were helpful, careful and mindful of the needs of me and each of the group. Claudia often got on the bird as quickly as Stephan spotted it. The group worked for the best interest of the group. .... During a pandemic, the group acted responsibly and carefully.

Stephan Lorenz is a fantastic leader. This is my second trip with him and the reason I booked this trip. His attention to details and relentless searching for sought after birds makes any trip with him well worth the time. He and his wife, Claudia work well together as a dynamic team solving any problem that arise. We missed our connections and were late for the first day and efforts were made and resolved for us to join the group quickly. Despite the stormy weather we were able to see the target birds. This trip was selected because of the shorter amount of days making it easier to fit into our schedule. During this pandemic we felt safe traveling with this group and with the conditions of lodging and take out meal dining. I look forward to my next trip with Stephan.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2022 DEPARTURES
2023 DEPARTURES
Tour Enquiry
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