Although wildlife viewing is a year-round activity in Santa Cruz County, the winter months mark the true start of the wildlife watching season on the California coast. Citing fewer crowds and some of the most spectacular natural activities, the winter months bring with them opportunities to see wildlife come alive.
From the majestic migration of whales, wintering monarch butterflies, guided tours of an elephant seal breeding ground, and seasonal activity of a variety of birds – including approximately 400 migratory and permanent bird species – there is plenty to experience for enthusiastic nature lovers. Now, avid wildlife viewers have an easy-to-use resource, thanks to Visit Santa Cruz County’s revised and updated Wildlife Watching Guide.
Now in its fifth printing, the free 52-page guide is designed for use by locals and visitors to help navigate the various communities adjacent to premier birding destinations throughout the county. The guide includes information on a variety of habitats, from sandy beaches to lagoons, wetlands, and river mouths, as well as descriptions and fresh photography of some of the area’s most commonly seen birds, wildlife, and the best times of the year to view them.
Information on where and how to view wintering monarch butterflies, migrating whales, and elephant seals are also featured. The guide provides maps of birding and wildlife hotspots, points of interest, itineraries, and encourages lovers of wildlife to share their photos on Instagram using the hashtag #SantaCruzNow.
The guide is downloadable or available in print by calling 831-425-1234 or 800-833-3494. For additional details on Santa Cruz including other itineraries, hotels, and more, visit Visit Santa Cruz County.
Image: Visit Santa Cruz County/Paul Schraub