A practical guide to bird watching in Sonoma County, California

(Unless otherwise indicated, all phone numbers are in the 707 area code)


Ida Clayton Road, Calistoga, CA 95415

Location aliases: None

©2011 Google – Imagery ©2011 DigitalGlobe, USDA Farm Service Agency, GeoEye,  Map data ©2011 Google

Location: About seven miles north of Calistoga on Hwy. 128, Ida Clayton Rd. climbs the northwest side of Sonoma County’s highest peak, Mt. St. Helena

GPS address: 13900 Highway 128, Calistoga, CA 95415

GPS Coordinates: 38 38 1N, 122 40 34W will take you close to the intersection of Hwy. 128 and Ida Clayton Rd.

Access: From State Rt. 128, about seven miles north of Calistoga, CA, Ida Clayton Rd. winds up the side of Mt. St. Helena. Use pull-outs along the way to bird from the road. Properties on either side of the road are private.

Habitats: Ponds, open grassland, deciduous and conifer woods, rocky upland scrub.

Typical Species: Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, California Quail, Band-tailed Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Western Screech Owl, Great Horned Owl, Anna’s Hummingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Western Wood Pewee, Western Kingbird, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Violet-green Swallow, Oak titmouse, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Bushtit, White-breasted Nuthatch, Bewick’s Wren, American Robin, Hutton’s Vireo, Cassin’s Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Hermit Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub-jay, Wrentit, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, California Thrasher, Yellow Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Black-throated gray Warbler, Western Tanager, Spotted Towhee, California Towhee, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Black-headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Brown-headed Cowbird, Purple Finch, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, American Goldfinch

Unusual birds, sightings: Rufous-crowned Sparrow (May 29, 2013, Ruth Rudesill); Dusky Flycatcher (May 29, 2013, Ruth Rudesill); Bald Eagle (Mar 27, 2013, Ruth Rudesill); Ovenbird reported singing (June 13, 2011); Golden Eagle, Mountain Quail, Pileated Woodpecker, Common Nighthawk, Northern Pygmy Owl, Rock Wren, Common Poor-will, Nashville and Hermit Warblers during migration, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Sage Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow

Restroom facilities: None in the immediate vicinity. Closest are probably in the town of Calistoga.

Restaurants Nearby: The town of Calistoga is only a few miles from the start of Ida Clayton Rd. at Hwy. 128. The town has numerous restaurants, all on the main drag. All Seasons Bistro has been good in the past, but I’ve not been there recently.

Nearby attractions: The town of Calistoga has restaurants, galleries, wine and other shops worth browsing. There are also numerous hot springs hotels in the area. Old Faithful Geyser of California is at 1299 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga, CA 95415 (942-6463). Knights Valley and Alexander Valley vineyards are within easy striking distance. On Ida Clayton Rd. itself is Peter Michael Winery--in my view, one of California’s best--but, unfortunately, it’s not open to the public.

Related bird watching spots: About 20 miles north on Hwy. 128 is Pine Flat Rd., which offers similar habitat. About 25 miles to the south is Shiloh Ranch Regional Park. See the relevant location pages for details. 

Notes: 1. In this area and similar locations there have been reports of violence related to marijuana-growing. Remember that areas away from the main road are private and not open to the public.

2. Watch out for poison oak in wooded areas here (and throughout the county).

All photos by the author, unless otherwise indicated

Maps by Google Maps



© Colin Talcroft, 2009, 2010, 2011.

Unless noted, all photos by the author. If you would like to use one of my images, please ask for permission for non-commercial use with proper credit or commercial use with proper compensation.