NMono Lake SunriseSonora Pass Hwy 120 high elevation birding.

Sonora Pass Hwy 120 high elevation birding.

Pinyon Jay

Altamont Pass Livermore Ca., Home of the Golden Eagle

Mountain Blue Bird        

Mountain Blue Bird

DSCN0971                 American Dipper

Green-tail Towhee                  


Coopers hawk
Cooper’s hawk

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.

  • Small group trips with a maximum of 6 participants to allow for social distancing
  • Participants will asked to have a Covid-19 negative test to attend for safety reasons.

The following is a typical Sierra Nevada Field Trip itinerary for you to consider.

Day 1. |  The morning starts with a 7:30 AM hotel pick up near a northern California airport-hotel or Home. If you live in northern California we can prearrange a different location. We begin our field trip on Mines Road in far eastern Alameda County.  Some birds are just easier to see on Mines Road than anywhere else in Alameda County, including Bald and Golden Eagles, Phainopepla, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Rufous-Crown Sparrow, Wrentit, Yellow-Billed Magpie, Violet-Green Swallow, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Lewis’s Woodpecker, the scarce Lawrence’s Goldfinch, Road Runner, Rufous Hummingbird and California Thrasher. The winding road climbs into the mountains for some 45 miles. We’ll stop for our lunch break then continue into Del Puerto Canyon for Canyon Wren, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Lazuli Bunting, Western and Cassin’s Kingbird and possible Bell’s Sparrow. We spend the night in Oakdale, CA..

Day 2 & 3 |  We will find ourselves traveling over Sonora Pass (9696 ft. elevation) on the eastern ridge of the Sierra Nevada where we will bird Bodie State Pk. for Sage Grouse and Prairie Falcon, Bridgeport Reservoir for Eared Grebes, Black-billed Magpie, western Red-tail Hawk, American Kestrel, Prairie Falcon, Green-tail Towhee,  Clark’s Nutcracker, Mountain Blue Bird, Mountain Brewer’s, Vesper, Savanna’s, and Sage Sparrows, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Red Crossbill, Nashville Warbler and Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch. Our lodging for the next two evenings is in Lee Vining overlooking Mono Lake Basin, which includes a fine county park and boardwalk into Mono Lake, plus habitats including Aspen Forest, Sierra Yellow Pine forest and Sage/Chaparral . We will search for Pinyon Jay, Common Nighthawk, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Williamson Sapsucker, Mountain Bluebird, Townsend Solitary, Western Wood-Pewee, Dusky Flycatcher, Gray Flycatcher, Sage Thrasher, Interior Bushtit, Mountain Chickadee, Bullock’s Oriole and California Gull.

Day 4 | We will bird a few local birding hot spots before we enter Yosemite National Park to bird the Yosemite High County and the valley habitats. You will spend the day in the high Sierra Nevada Mountains crossing the Sierra’s Tioga Pass (9945 ft. elevation). Birds we’ll seek will be the American Dipper, Black Swift, Cassin’s Finch, Hairy Woodpecker, Pacific- Slope Flycatcher, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Western Wood-Pewee, Raven, plus Orange-crowned, Black-throated Gray, Hermit, and MacGillivray’s Warblers, Western Tanager, Purple and Cassin’s Finch.   We end our Sierra Nevada field trip in Oakland in the evening. You can plan a late night flight out or stay the evening in Oakland. This hotel room is not included in the field trip.

Day 5 |  Option:  Birding the Pinnacle N.P. for California Condor or San Francisco Bay area hot spots and Half Moon Bay Pacific coastal scrub habitats. You will need to schedule your flight out for late Saturday night or Sunday. The hotel is not included in this segment of the field trip (day 4&5).

Call to discuss field trip planning and  registration.

Included is your lodging for 3 nights, transportation, fuel, national park fees and guiding fees. Arrangements can be requested for pick-up at another Bay Area Airport. No meals or beverages are included. Day 1 lunch will be as we bird, the other days will be sit down meals. Luggage space is limited. Bring your own scope and favorite field guide if you wish. Dress for warm weather and bring walking shoes.

Two birders are needed for the trip to go, max. 4 birders:  Pricing is | $1325.00 per birder for a group of 3 or more. Contact me for the rate if the group is 1-2 persons. There is no single supplement. The daily sequence of the itinerary may change but the locations will remain the same. Add-on optional days start at 7:00AM and end at 5 PM at a flat $350.00 per day for transportation, fuel and guiding. Not included are lodging and meals. Ask us about a private group field trip tailored for your group. Contact Rich Cimino.

2019 July Client Testimonial:  Dear Rich,
Just want you to know I truly appreciate the fine effort you put into making the Sierra Valley trip successful. I could tell it was going very well and that people were pleased with the trip. That didn’t happen by accident. You communicated well with the group, knew exactly where to find the birds, and planned the trip so that people would see the maximum variety of birds in the area. Thank you for sharing the bird lists from both counties. Definitely impressive for two days of birding!

Jane M. San Rafael, Cal.

2019 June Client testimonial: You did a very nice job of planning and leading our trip. Amazing how you got us all to all the important sites around The Valley on time and with a smile. Thanks so much. We look forward to future adventures together. ~ Dede Sabbag, Somona, Ca.

2019 June Client Testimonial: Hi Rich: Thank you for such a great weekend – I learned so much. This is only my second birding trip via car (the other two were to the Farallon’s and the Sacramento Delta), and although intense, it was great fun and I learned a lot. Pat Young . Sonora, Cal.

2019 January  Client Testimonial:  This is my third time to hire YBT for a one on one field trip in California (while visiting my son and family) that I have used YBT – Rich’s services. We had a very successful hunt for the California Condor. Unable to enter Pinnacles National Park due to the government shutdown, Rich did not give up. Instead we set up scopes at the edge of the road near the east park entrance and were rewarded in less than half an hour with 5 condors flying over the rim. We were able to distinguish them from the more common Turkey Vulture by the white under wing color and the larger size. It was a great morning! The yellow-billed magpie’s and the acorn woodpeckers hanging nearby where we stood were fun as well. Elaine, Milwaukee,  Wisconsin

February 2018:, Rich thanks for the presenting your birds presentation on Birds of the Sierra Nevada to the Central Sierra  Nevada Audubon Society. We had a record membership showing / attendance.

Linda Millspauph, Twain Heart, Calif.

2018 April Client Testimonial:  Sierra Nevada Foothills west side field trip:  Excellent trip! Sally and I both enjoyed immensely and you played a big part in our good vibes about the entire tour. Wound up with an addition of 38 birds to my California life list which is now tied with Arizona at 211. Five Life list additions feels good but I will return for the White-headed some day. We have no hesitation in recommending you and your services. Best to you and future field trips.                                                    Dave Crouch, Indiana

YBT- Sierra_ Nevada US-CA-2017_year_list

YBT – Testimonial Sierra field trip 2017.doc

2017 July Client Testimonial:  Hey Rich, I just went over our bird list for the day. I saw 24 life birds and added 13 birds to my list for the year! Thanks for sharing your birding knowledge with Susi and I. It was a fantastic trip!

Spade W. Mimi, Florida

Photos from June 2015 Sierra Nevada Field trip by Larry Thompson

YBT – Testmonial Sierra Neveada 7.21.16.

IBP – Great Gray Owl nesting survey July 2016



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