Monday, January 11, 2010

Birds I'm Watching: Nagasawa Park, Santa Rosa

Having heard of it only yesterday for the first time, I took a quick drive today to Nagasawa Park, in Fountain Grove, Santa Rosa (a new Santa Rosa city park--formerly known to locals as Fountain Grove Park, entrance off Fountain Grove Parkway). There is quite a diversity of habitat. There is a substantial lake with a central island. Some of the edges are deep with reeds. Around the lake are some dense patches of oaks and there is a lot of open area with grasses, coyote bush, and other brush--good sparrow habitat. One edge of the lake has a stand of small deciduous trees with reeds below that turned out to have a particularly large number of birds. There is ample parking.

The downside is that you can walk only about a third of the way along the lake shore in one direction and even less in the other. If you take the trail that heads out to the left from the parking lot, you eventually come to a fence that has been neatly cut and tied back, so it's easy enough to get through, but to complete a circuit of the lake, you have to follow golf cart paths through the golf course on the far side of the lake, and I had to exit by scaling the fence at the far side, but there there is an obliging tree that someone has propped a big limb against to form a sort of ladder. I hadn't intended to trespass. It's a shame that you can't walk all the way around without doing so, but I ran into some Santa Rosa city workers who said they were negotiating to eventually make a complete walk possible without going onto private property. Anyway, this seems to be a well-kept secret (or maybe it's just me). It's like a scaled down Spring Lake. Well worth a visit.

On my walk (about 45 minutes), I saw 29 species: California towhee, spotted towhee, golden-crowned sparrow, song sparrow, lincoln's sparrow (top photo), Western bluebird (bottom photo), scrub jay, turkey vulture, American goldfinch, house finch, Oregon junco, robins, great egret, snowy egret, black phoebe, ruby-crowned kinglet, downy woodpecker, nuttal's woodpecker, acorn wodpecker, yellow-rumped warbler, oak titmouse, double-crested cormorant, pied-billed grebe (10), common goldeneye (8), hooded merganser (4), coots, (6), American wigeon, common moorhen, and mallards.

For more information about Nagasawa Park and bird watching in Sonoma County, see my Website Sonoma County Bird Watching Spots.


  1. Thank you for this post, Colin. I just found your blog as I was scouring the net for more info on the upcoming bird walk at Spring Lake (we heard a rumor about it but have been unable to confirm). Your blog is full of very information for us because, as a couple, we also enjoy hiking, birdwatching, and outdoor photography.
    Thank you again!

  2. Hope you saw the Sonoma County Bird Watching Spots site mentioned at the bottom of the post above. Lots of information there. Hope it's helpful. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your comment.

  3. Hi there my name is Mike Peterson i fished Fountain Grove yesterday and was very disturbed at what i saw. I saw a worker from the golf course make his way to the island where canadian geese lay there eggs the man said his boss told him to take the eggs cause they crap all over the course. I been fishing this place for 10 years and use to see up to 50 geese on that island nesting now i see maybe a dozen, i called the DFG and supposivly they went over there and talked to someone. Please do the same so we can stop these people.


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