With winter nearly over and glorious Spring flowing in, we bird-lovers have been itching to go out birdwatching. It’s a fantastic hobby, I’ve always thought – it’s educational, cheap, relaxing, and it gets you outdoors in the sun. It’s great hearing the charming calls of birds – or the chirps of their little ones. If you’re planning on going birdwatching soon, here’s a list of the top 5 places near Danville for it. Enjoy!
This one’s first on our list because it’s great for families, or people new to birding. They have three types of trips based on the level of physical difficulty (terrain, amount of walking required, etc.). Choose one you’re happy with because if you’re tired and out of breath you won’t be able to make the most of the experience. The trips are conducted on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and sometimes on weekends as well. You can download a schedule from the page linked above.
If you’re going out with kids or looking for an easier trail, this one’s a good choice. While there are a couple other easy trails (Castle Rock Stage Road Trail and Shady Slope, Short Ridge, Sand Hill for example), we particularly like this one because it’s quite beautiful – and we’ve seen a lot more birds out here. We saw hummingbirds, woodpeckers, a kingfisher, and a couple pheasants pecking around on one trip. The trail’s 2 miles long, and the elevation’s gentle.
This one isn’t very popular, which makes it perfect for birdwatching. It’s quiet and you don’t have people pass by every few minutes – often talking. It’s a fairly easy 2.7 miles. We’ve seen some beautiful birds here – gorgeous grackles, a shy merlin, a couple great egrets, swifts (from pretty close!), and a bunch of talkative hummingbirds, just to name a few. When you stop for a breather, select a place with a lot of birds around (listen), and kill two…err, bugs, with one stone.
The trail’s 6.7 miles long, so it’s a long hike. Great for a pleasant day when you’re full of energy and have a couple hours free. Head over with your birdwatching gear (remember good shoes and a raincoat!), find a quiet stretch and spend some time watching the birds. The first mile or two have rough terrain, so take plenty of breaks, and be careful. There are a couple restrooms and a picnic area at Mitchell Canyon.
This one’s 7.6 miles long, and has a couple rock climbing spots along it. That’s exciting but bear in mind that it’s a pretty difficult trail, not to be attempted on your first go or if you aren’t allowed strenuous activity. Avoid this trail if it’s been raining recently, because it’s fairly rough, and rain will make it slippery. We’ve seen numerous birds (mostly owls and larger birds like cranes) and a couple nests here, but we’ll admit it’s a lot more work than the others.
When going out on a sunny day, make sure you apply sunscreen and carry water with you. Some other necessities include a trail map, binoculars, a bird ID book, notebook, camera, and a bag to put all of this stuff in. We hope you liked this list! Stay tuned for more such posts, and to find out the best (of everything!) in Danville CA.