Pacific slope flycatcher

Pacific slope flycatcher

 New Field Trip:  California Year Round – per your schedule!

There are 673 bird species recorded in California. The reason for this diversity of species is the diversity of habitat. Counted among the habitat choices from west to east are; pelagic, coastal sage-scrub, coastal wetlands, riparian valleys, grasslands, sage and chaparral of west facing foothill slopes, oak woodlands, mountain conifers (to 6600’), desert scrub on the eastern mountain slopes of the Sierra Nevada.

Yellowbilled Tours offers the Sierra Foothills and Sierra Nevada Mountains divided into two areas, North central California to Reno area and South Central California Counties. Each region is a separate field trip but can be combined.

Area 1: Includes northwestern counties of California can arrange for airport pick-up in Oakland, Cal. or Reno, Nv. This field trip is a three day minimum. It includes northeast Nevada birding Pyramid Lake and Carson River Ranches, California Sierra and Plumas Counties, Sierra Valley, Cold Creek, Yuba Pass and Cemetery Hill. This field trip is great in summer for American Dipper, Flycatchers, Tanager and Mountain Finches. As well for wintering raptors. An additional side trip is to Northeastern California, birding Eagle Lake and the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge. This add-on requires a four day minimum.

Area 2: Birding the Eastern Central counties California Amador. Calaveras, Alpine and Mono Counties field trip includes Sonora Pass, Topaz Lake, Mono Lake and high county of Yosemite N.P. An additional day is required if you want to bird the Yosemite Valley of the national park. This field trip is great for high elevation species, Whit-headed, Woodpecker Sooty Grouse, Clark’s Nutcracker, Cassin’s Finch, Pine Grosbeak, Sage Thrasher, Pinyon Jay and possible William Sapsucker, plus other summer resident mountain passerines. 

An additional side trip is to central California to Pinnacles National Park & Monterey Bay area to find California Condors. This add-on requires a four day minimum.

  • Small group trips with a maximum of 6 participants to allow for social distancing
  • We will provide hand sanitizer and expect masks to be worn when social distancing isn’t possible
  • Trips will run from 7am until around noon

Client Testimonial July 2021

Rich knowledge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains was impressive adding to our birding field trip. We added 9 life birds in three days. We could tell early on that he had prepared for the our visit. Rich never stop in the pursuit of finding the birds we needed to see. Rich was good in getting us up and out early each day to beat the hot temp’s of the afternoon. Below is a posting from Easter Sierra birding list serve.

Gary Chupp, Goshen, In.

Four birders from Indiana and I birding Dana Meadows Yosemite National Park in the late afternoon on Sunday were treated to a Northern Goshawk (Juvenile) while driving slowly toward the entrance booth. The accipiter flew from the Mt. Dana Meadow in front of the car. As it was landing on a branch of a Sierra Juniper Tree, its irregular tail bands showed well. I was able to make a U-turn and re-found the NOGO for I.D. review and confirmation. Not soon after the sighting the rainstorm began.

In Lee Vining. the El Mono Motel hummingbird feeders had several Anna’s Hummingbirds, a few Rufous and a single Black-chinned Hummingbird. Monday morning, driving along Hwy 120 at 6:30 AM, there were Pinyon Jays calling and seen along the highway. A bit further west walking the South Tufa Area we had three Sage Thrashers, a Lark Sparrow, and a singing Black-throated Sparrow. In Lee Vining Canyon we had Red-breasted Sapsucker and Pygmy Nuthatches.  All good life birds for a visiting mid-west birder.

Client Testimonial June 2019

As an active birder for many years in both the Midwest and the San Francisco Bay Area, my recent and first trip to the Sierra Valley and Yuba Pass with Rich Cimino of Yellowbilled Tours was a delight. To say that Rich knows the area is a true understatement as he has been birding this area yearly since the mid 1960. He took us to specific areas for targeted birds and if they were not there when we arrived, we did not have to wait long for them to appear. He knows many of the locals and spoke to several over their fences about birds on their property and the status of their ranches. Rich is such an affable guy that he struck up a conversation with a local rancher driving by our group birding on the roadside and the next thing I knew we were getting a tour of the ranchers historic barn from the 1860’s while of course searching in it for Owls and Swallows.

Rich’s birding skills are first rate and he usually had the bird identified in flight or by ear before most of the rest of us could even get on the bird.

As a leader Rich was able to keep our group of 11 working together to find and identify birds without distractions or interruptions from birders grandstanding or pushing their way ahead of others. His easygoing demeanor hides his direct leadership skills kept our group friendly and assistive to ensure everyone got the targeted birds.

His knowledge of local restaurants and their menus ensured that we had good meals together and time to discuss our daily findings and outlining plans for the next day.

I look forward to birding again with Rich in the future.

David Wiechers
Sausalito, CA

Birder Testimonial: July 5, 2018

I had a great birding trip with Yellowbilled Tours in early July.  I saw lots of birds and Rich did a great job of explaining the local history and ecology as well as presenting documentation of the birds seen during the tour. Ken Alt, Fairbanks Alaska:


The Sierra Nevada field trip was wonderful!  Joy, Petaluma, Cal. April, 2018

Thank you for considering Yellowbilled Tours,

Rich Cimino

Yellowbilled Tours Field Guide

Cell: 925-353-0266