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February 25, 2025 - March 2, 2025

San Diego and the Imperial Valley

The subtropical Mediterranean climate of Southern California matched with local specialties and diverse habitats make San Diego a must-visit winter birding destination. On this six-day trip we’ll visit a variety of locales, from the Pacific Ocean through the Laguna Mountains to the Colorado Desert, that make this region a favorite for birders. 

We’ll start in the city of San Diego, visiting the Tijuana River National Wildlife Refuge and nearby hotspots, searching for birds like Ridgway’s Rail, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, California Thrasher, and Lawrence’s Goldfinch. A trip to the coast north of San Diego will bring opportunities for California Gnatcatcher, Costa’s Hummingbird, and Nutall’s Woodpecker. 

We’ll also head over the mountains to the Imperial Valley in order to visit the Salton Sea, looking for Gambel’s Quail, Abert’s Towhee, Burrowing Owl and Mountain Plover, with a stunning backdrop of waterfowl and shorebirds. 

En route, we’ll visit Anza Borrego, where we’ll tour desert canyons and bajadas in search of LeConte’s and Crissal Thrashers, Verdin, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, and Greater Roadrunner. Our timing should coincide with the wildflowers that this region is famous for, and will hope for a “super bloom” that transforms the desert into a landscape of pink, yellow, and blue.

Enjoy the sun and birds of San Diego and the Imperial Valley!

Visit the “birdiest county in the U.S.” with Bird Alliance of Oregon to search for desert specialties and enjoy large numbers of wintering songbirds, shorebirds, raptors, and waterfowl in southern California’s subtropical Mediterranean climate.



Distance: Most days will feature several hikes of up to 1-2 miles. Our hike up Borrego Palm Canyon will be three miles round-trip. 

Elevation changes: Some hikes will have moderate elevation changes, but none of our hikes will be considered arduous. We will adjust walks to suit the weather and group.

Trail: Most of our trails will be wide and paved or small single-track trails with fine gravel covering them.

Pacing: Slow

Rest Stops: The leaders will try to provide rest stops when possible, but not all trails will have suitable benches, etc.

Sun Exposure: Participants should expect several hours of full sun every day. While the leaders will try to break up and limit sun exposure when possible, participants must come prepared with proper sun protection.

Amenities: Typically, leaders will try to provide formal bathroom stops every two hours.

Trip Details

  • Trip Leaders: Brodie Cass Talbott and Kirk Hardie
  • Dates: February 25-March 2, 2025
  • Fee: $2,495 member / $2,995 non-member
  • Single supplement: $500
  • Deposit: $1,245
  • Group size: Limited to 14 participants
  • Fee Includes: Fee is based on double occupancy and includes all lodging, all ground transportation, all meals except dinners, and all guide fees.
  • Fee Does Not Include: Airfare, dinners, or alcoholic beverages.


February 25, 2025
March 2, 2025
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Tara Lemezis