More than 200 species have been found on this beach and adjacent wetlands south of Oxnard.
By Chuck Graham | Published: 12/22/2015
Located between the coastal town of Port Hueneme and a Navy base, two-mile-long Ormond Beach is one of the few beaches remaining in southern California with an intact system of dunes, transition zones, and marshes. Its large size and mix of habitats make it prime nesting habitat for Western Snowy Plover and the endangered California Least Tern. Both are well camouflaged. Your best bet for spotting them is to scan the dunes above the wrack-line.
More shorebirds use the beach than any other location in Ventura County. Common beachcombers include American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Marbled Godwit, Willet, Black-necked Stilt, and Long-billed Curlew.
After decades of degradation, the adjacent Ormond Wetlands are being restored, a project that the California State Coastal Conservancy has said is “at a scale unprecedented” within the state. Once completed, they and the Point Mugu Wetlands to the southeast will form the largest coastal wetlands in southern California, stretching for about nine miles. Trails through the wetlands are open, offering views of songbirds, shorebirds, raptors, and the vast Pacific beyond.
Chuck Graham is a writer and photographer who writes often about birds in California. He also wrote about Carpinteria Salt Marsh, Carpinteria, Hotspot Near You No. 116, Soda Lake, Bakersfield, No. 123, Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area, Guadalupe, No. 138, Cachuma Lake Recreation Area, Santa Barbara, No. 151, Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, No. 154, Mendocino Headlands State Park, Mendocino, No. 167, Hearst San Simeon State Park, Cambria, No. 185, Pinnacles National Park, No. 200, and Agua Fria National Monument, Black Canyon City, Arizona, No. 203.
At a Glance
Click on the coordinates below to view location:
Beach, coastal sand dunes, coastal grasslands, wetlands, and lagoon.
Mostly flat. Easy walking.
More than 200 species. Tricolored, Yellow-headed, and Brewer’s Blackbirds, California Horned Lark, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Loggerhead Shrike, Long-billed Curlew, American Avocet, Western Snowy and Semipalmated Plovers, California Least and Elegant Terns, Heermann’s, Western, and California Gulls, American Kestrel, Merlin, Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, White-tailed Kite, Belted Kingfisher, White-faced Ibis, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Snowy and Great Egrets, Anna’s and Allen’s Hummingbirds, Brown Pelican, Surf Scoter, Pied-billed, Western, and Eared Grebes, Ridgway’s and Virginia Rails, Least Bell’s Vireo, Black Phoebe, Belding’s Savannah Sparrow. Rare: Bald Eagle, Burrowing Owl, Mountain Plover, Indigo Bunting.
When to go
Free parking, restrooms. The Nature Conservancy offers guided hikes.
City- and state-owned beaches; wetlands owned by the Nature Conservancy. Open year-round.
Bring a spotting scope. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Agricultural fields along Arnold Rd., south of E. Hueneme Rd., also offer good birding.
For more info
Malibu Lagoon State Beach, Hotspot Near You No. 64
33 miles from Oxnard, just off Hwy. 1 in Malibu. Brown Pelican, gulls, terns, shorebirds, and hummingbirds.
Carpinteria Salt Marsh, Hotspot Near You No. 116
Coastal wetlands 27 miles from Oxnard, in Carpinteria. Shorebirds, raptors, hummingbirds, and owls.