Magical San Benito County

Beautiful San Benito County, located in California’s central coast, is one of California’s travel gems. Here, amidst great natural beauty, you’ll find some of the state’s best wineries, spectacular outdoor adventures, world-class golf, and so much more. You’ll experience gracious, small-town hospitality, yet have all the modern comforts right at hand. Charming shops, a wide variety of well-reviewed restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts for every taste and budget, it’s all here. Set in an idyllic small valley surrounded by spectacular agriculture, San Benito County is only an hour or so from the Silicon Valley, just east of Monterey. It’s close to everything, yet feels like another world altogether. We hope to see you soon, and meanwhile, we invite you to sign-up below to receive special offers and discounts.

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San Benito County Species Bird Watching Heron

San Benito Bird Species

San Benito County Birds Great Egret

^^GREAT EGRET^^

We describe the Great Egret with one word: Elegance. These tall, white beauties are the embodiment of sophistication, so much so that they were nearly hunted into extinction in the late 1800s for their snow-white plumes. But conservationists took action just in time to save the graceful water waders. Keep an eye out in Hollister and Paicines to see the Great Egret in its marshy home.

San Benito County Birds Yellow Breasted Chat

^^YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT ^^

We all know the familiar chirp of songbirds in the morning. You may even be able to identify a species or two based on their repetitive songs. But the Yellow-breasted Chat will throw you for a loop. When the males of these large warblers burst into song, they sound like a beatboxer laying down a hot track, spitting cackles, whistles, gurgles and pops to attract a flirty mate. Explore the dense thickets of San Benito County in early spring to hear these peculiar songbirds for yourself.

San Benito County Birds Tropical Kingbird

^^TROPICAL KINGBIRD^^

Catching a glimpse of the little yellow-bellied Tropical Kingbird takes practice. These warm-weather creatures love their homes in Central and South America, so it’s always a treat when they venture up north to San Benito County for a visit. You’ll recognize them by their expert insect-catching skills and twittery “pip-pip-pip” call.

San Benito County Birds California Condor

^^CALIFORNIA CONDOR^^

What do the California Condor and Illinois-native Robert Wadlow have in common? Wingspan. At 8 feet, 11 inches tall, Robert Wadlow is the tallest man who ever lived, according to Guinness World Records. And that means his arm span matched his height approximately, fingertip to fingertip. But California Condors, which nest and soar in Pinnacles National Park, beat Wadlow by a few inches with a staggering wingspan of 9 feet, 5 inches. You can visit these magnificently huge carrion-eaters at the Pinnacles‬ year-round.

San Benito County Birds Belted Kingfisher

^^BELTED KINGFISHER^^

Even ladies of the animal kingdom make fashion statements to set them apart. The Belted Kingfisher gets its name from the broad, copper-colored band spread across the female’s chest. Along with that crazy hairdo, this bird is determined to leave an impression. You’ll find this sassy flyer diving headlong into bodies of water for her next meal, or burrowed near the water’s edge with her hatchlings. Careful where you step!

San Benito County Birds Black Phoebe

^^BLACK PHOEBE^^

Kids aren’t the only ones who enjoy playing in the mud. When the Black Phoebe gets ready to settle down and have her chicks, her mate shows her around to potential nesting spots, then she carefully collects mud to build a cup-shaped nest in a covered nook or overhang, protected from the elements. With her house in order, she’s free to hunt for quick insects and minnows to feed her new babies. You’ll always find these soot-colored songbirds near water, be it an ocean, lake, stream or puddle.

San Benito County Birds Downy Woodpecker_2

^^DOWNY WOODPECKER^^

Can’t make it to Rio this summer for the Olympics? Don’t worry; the Downy Woodpecker’s acrobatic tricks will keep you entertained as they spin perilously from thin branch to thin branch. For beginner bird-watchers, the Downy Woodpecker is an easy friend to spot. With its loud tree drumming habits, outstanding black and white checkered wings, and little red hat, this grub-eater is hard to miss.

San Benito County Birds WesternMeadowlark

^^WESTERN MEADOWLARK^^

The inspiration for the ever-popular v-neck t-shirt had to be the Western Meadowlark with its distinctive v-shaped black band on its bright yellow chest. There’s no doubt that designers of this trend were influenced by the Western Meadowlark’s fashion-forward attitude, coupled with its fabulous color scheme and speckled wing feathers. Often reclusive, this stout songbird prefers to hide in grassy fields and agricultural areas, like in Hollister and San Juan Bautista.

San Benito County Birds MountainBluebird

^^MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD^^

When we think of cavities, we often imagine unpleasant trips to the dentist and the sound of a whirring metal drill, but for the Mountain Bluebird, a different kind of cavity means new hatchlings and fond memories. This bright cerulean species nests in the cavities of hollowed-out trees or bird houses, safe from hazardous weather and hunting predators. You’ll recognize a Mountain Bluebird through your binoculars with their light blue and grey-speckled chests and dark blue wings.

San Benito County Birds Lesser Nighthawk

^^LESSER NIGHTHAWK^^

What do Dana Carvey from Saturday Night Live and the Lesser Nighthawk have in common? They are both Masters of Disguise. But while Carvey used his talent to impersonate famous people, the Lesser Nighthawk uses its camouflage skills to hide from predators by blending into the rocky desert floor. And watch where you step – when the Nighthawk lays its speckled eggs on the ground, they also blend right into the dusty landscape.

San Benito County Birds AmericanDipper

^^AMERICAN DIPPER^^

What looks like a songbird, but acts like a duck? This isn’t a riddle, it’s the American Dipper. When this chubby, gray songbird gets hungry, it goes for a dip in the nearest swiftly-flowing stream, diving underwater for its prey or bobbing along on the water like traditional aquatic birds. And the similarities don’t end there. Once per year, the American Dipper molts its wing and tail feathers, just like ducks do. So next time you walk by a fresh stream, keep an eye out for this peculiar avian pal.

San Benito County Birds Brewers Blackbird_2

^^BREWER’S BLACKBIRD^^

You may first think of ravens at the mention of blackbirds, but the lesser-known Brewer’s Blackbird has ravens beat in the beauty department. In full sun, these shiny midnight-black birds shimmer with iridescent blue and green wings. Paired with their yellow, unblinking eyes, their presence can be mesmerizing. In San Benito County, these insect-eaters are a farmer’s best friend, snatching up the bugs that would otherwise harm valuable crops.

 

RED-THROATED LOON
PACIFIC LOON
COMMON LOON
PIED-BILLED GREBE
HORNED GREBE
RED-NECKED GREBE
EARED GREBE
WESTERN GREBE
CLARK’S GREBE
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN
BROWN PELICAN
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT
AMERICAN BITTERN
LEAST BITTERN
GREAT BLUE HERON

San Benito County Birds Great Egret

Great Egret

SNOWY EGRET
CATTLE EGRET
GREEN HERON
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON
WHITE-FACED IBIS
GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
SNOW GOOSE
ROSS’S GOOSE
CANADA GOOSE
CACKLING GOOSE
WOOD DUCK
GREEN-WINGED TEAL
MALLARD
NORTHERN PINTAIL
BLUE-WINGED TEAL
CINNAMON TEAL
NORTHERN SHOVELER
GADWALL
EURASIAN WIGEON
AMERICAN WIGEON
CANVASBACK
REDHEAD
RING-NECKED DUCK
GREATER SCAUP
LESSER SCAUP
LONG-TAILED DUCK
SURF SCOTER
COMMON GOLDENEYE
BARROW’S GOLDENEYE
BUFFLEHEAD
HOODED MERGANSER
COMMON MERGANSER
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER
RUDDY DUCK
TURKEY VULTURE

San Benito County Birds California Condor

California Condor

OSPREY
WHITE-TAILED KITE
BALD EAGLE
NORTHERN HARRIER
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK
COOPER’S HAWK
NORTHERN GOSHAWK
COMMON BLACK-HAWK
RED-SHOULDERED HAWK
SWAINSON’S HAWK
RED-TAILED HAWK
FERRUGINOUS HAWK
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK
GOLDEN EAGLE
AMERICAN KESTREL
MERLIN
PEREGRINE FALCON
PRAIRIE FALCON
CALIFORNIA QUAIL
VIRGINIA RAIL
SORA
COMMON GALLINULE
AMERICAN COOT
SANDHILL CRANE
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER
AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER
SNOWY PLOVER
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER
KILLDEER
MOUNTAIN PLOVER
BLACK-NECKED STILT
AMERICAN AVOCET
GREATER YELLOWLEGS
LESSER YELLOWLEGS
SOLITARY SANDPIPER
WILLET
SPOTTED SANDPIPER
WANDERING TATTLER
HUDSONIAN CURLEW
LONG-BILLED CURLEW
MARBLED GODWIT
RUDDY TURNSTONE
RED KNOT
SANDERLING
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER
WESTERN SANDPIPER
LEAST SANDPIPER
BAIRD’S SANDPIPER
PECTORAL SANDPIPER
DUNLIN
STILT SANDPIPER
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER
RUFF
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER
WILSON’S SNIPE
WILSON’S PHALAROPE
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE
RED PHALAROPE
FRANKLIN’S GULL
LITTLE GULL
BONAPARTE’S GULL
MEW GULL
RING-BILLED GULL
CALIFORNIA GULL
HERRING GULL
THAYER’S GULL
WESTERN GULL
GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL
GLAUCOUS GULL
SABINE’S GULL
CASPIAN TERN
COMMON TERN
FORSTER’S TERN
LEAST TERN
BLACK TERN
BAND-TAILED PIGEON
MOURNING DOVE
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO
GREATER ROADRUNNER
BARN OWL
WESTERN SCREECH-OWL
GREAT HORNED OWL
NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL
BURROWING OWL
SPOTTED OWL
LONG-EARED OWL
SHORT-EARED OWL
NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL
LESSER NIGHTHAWK
COMMON POORWILL
BLACK SWIFT
VAUX’S SWIFT
WHITE-THROATED SWIFT
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD
ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD
COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD
CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD
RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD
ALLEN’S HUMMINGBIRD
LEWIS’S WOODPECKER
ACORN WOODPECKER
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER
RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER
RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER
WILLIAMSON’S SAPSUCKER
NUTTALL’S WOODPECKER
HAIRY WOODPECKER
NORTHERN FLICKER
PILEATED WOODPECKER
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE
WILLOW FLYCATCHER
HAMMOND’S FLYCATCHER
DUSKY FLYCATCHER
GRAY FLYCATCHER
PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER
EASTERN PHOEBE
SAY’S PHOEBE
VERMILION FLYCATCHER
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER
TROPICAL KINGBIRD

San Benito County Birds Tropical Kingbird

Tropical Kingbird

CASSIN’S KINGBIRD
WESTERN KINGBIRD
EASTERN KINGBIRD
HORNED LARK
PURPLE MARTIN
TREE SWALLOW
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW
BANK SWALLOW
CLIFF SWALLOW
BARN SWALLOW
STELLER’S JAY
CALIFORNIA SCRUB-JAY
PINYON JAY
CLARK’S NUTCRACKER
YELLOW-BILLED MAGPIE
AMERICAN CROW
COMMON RAVEN
MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE
CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE
OAK TITMOUSE
BUSHTIT
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH
PYGMY NUTHATCH
BROWN CREEPER
ROCK WREN
CANYON WREN
BEWICK’S WREN
HOUSE WREN
PACIFIC WREN
MARSH WREN
AMERICAN DIPPER
GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER
WESTERN BLUEBIRD
MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD
TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE
SWAINSON’S THRUSH
HERMIT THRUSH
AMERICAN ROBIN
VARIED THRUSH
WRENTIT
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD
SAGE THRASHER
CALIFORNIA THRASHER
AMERICAN PIPIT
CEDAR WAXWING
PHAINOPEPLA
NORTHERN SHRIKE
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE
BELL’S VIREO
CASSIN’S VIREO
PLUMBEOUS VIREO
HUTTON’S VIREO
WARBLING VIREO
TENNESSEE WARBLER
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER
NASHVILLE WARBLER
YELLOW WARBLER
MAGNOLIA WARBLER
AUDUBON’S WARBLER
MYRTLE WARBLER
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER
TOWNSEND’S WARBLER
HERMIT WARBLER
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER
PALM WARBLER
BLACKPOLL WARBLER
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER
AMERICAN REDSTART
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH
MACGILLIVRAY’S WARBLER
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT
HOODED WARBLER
WILSON’S WARBLER
SUMMER TANAGER
WESTERN TANAGER
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK
BLUE GROSBEAK

San Benito County Birds Lazuli Bunting

Lazuli Bunting

LAZULI BUNTING
GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE
SPOTTED TOWHEE
CALIFORNIA TOWHEE
RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW
CHIPPING SPARROW
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
BREWER’S SPARROW
BLACK-CHINNED SPARROW
VESPER SPARROW
LARK SPARROW
BLACK-THROATED SPARROW
BELL’S SPARROW
LARK BUNTING
SAVANNAH SPARROW
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW
FOX SPARROW
SONG SPARROW
LINCOLN’S SPARROW
SWAMP SPARROW
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW

San Benito County Birds Yellow Crowned Sparrow

Yellow Crowned Sparrow

GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW
HARRIS’S SPARROW
DARK-EYED JUNCO
LAPLAND LONGSPUR
CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR
BOBOLINK
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD
TRICOLORED BLACKBIRD
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD
BREWER’S BLACKBIRD
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD
ORCHARD ORIOLE
HOODED ORIOLE
BULLOCK’S ORIOLE
PURPLE FINCH
CASSIN’S FINCH
HOUSE FINCH
RED CROSSBILL
PINE SISKIN
LESSER GOLDFINCH
LAWRENCE’S GOLDFINCH
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH