San Mateo Coast

Half Moon Bay, California

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The San Mateo coast has spectacular vistas, rocky headlands, and broad sandy beaches, surrounded by rural countryside. At rush hour, CA 92, the main access from San Mateo to Half Moon Bay, can be clogged with traffic, and on weekends it may seem as if everyone in the Bay Area is trying to get over to the coast. At other times, the coast can be so quiet it seems to belong to another world, giving little indication that 4 million people live just over the hill. Specialty birds: Resident—Brandt’s and Pelagic Cormorants; Whitetailed Kite; Peregrine Falcon; Black Oystercatcher; Marbled Murrelet; Rhinoceros Auklet; Western Screech-Owl; Northern Pygmy-Owl; Chestnutbacked Chickadee; Wrentit. Summer—Brown Pelican, Cinnamon Teal, Heermann’s Gull, Elegant Tern, Pigeon Guillemot, Black Swift, Allen’s Hummingbird, Bank Swallow. Winter—Western Grebe; Wandering Tattler; Long-billed Curlew; Black Turnstone; Surfbird; Thayer’s and Glaucouswinged Gulls; Say’s Phoebe. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information.

San Mateo Coast Professional Review and Guide

"The San Mateo coast has spectacular vistas, rocky headlands, and broad sandy beaches, surrounded by rural countryside. At rush hour, CA 92, the main access from San Mateo to Half Moon Bay, can be clogged with traffic, and on weekends it may seem as if everyone in the Bay Area is trying to get over to the coast. At other times, the coast can be so quiet it seems to belong to another world, giving little indication that 4 million people live just over the hill. Specialty birds: Resident—Brandt’s and Pelagic Cormorants; Whitetailed Kite; Peregrine Falcon; Black Oystercatcher; Marbled Murrelet; Rhinoceros Auklet; Western Screech-Owl; Northern Pygmy-Owl; Chestnutbacked Chickadee; Wrentit. Summer—Brown Pelican, Cinnamon Teal, Heermann’s Gull, Elegant Tern, Pigeon Guillemot, Black Swift, Allen’s Hummingbird, Bank Swallow. Winter—Western Grebe; Wandering Tattler; Long-billed Curlew; Black Turnstone; Surfbird; Thayer’s and Glaucouswinged Gulls; Say’s Phoebe. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information."

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Half Moon Bay
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Best Fall and winter; all year is good.
Local Contacts: San Mateo Coast District Office; Año Nuevo State Reserve.
Local Maps: DeLorme Northern California Atlas & Gazetteer.
Driving Directions: Directions to San Mateo Coast

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May 2018