Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve

The breathtaking habitats of Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve inside the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes is a unique and fragile ecosystem offering opportunities for hiking, fishing, picnicking, and bird watching. Nesting bird species include California least tern and the western snowy plover. There is a swatch of riparian habitat along the northern boundary of the preserve, which hosts a variety of bird species. Migrating birds following along the Pacific Flyway make for some excellent bird watching opportunities for visitors to the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve. Heading west on Main Street to the Rancho Guadalupe Park puts birders in proximity of the Santa Maria River mouth and an array of seabirds. Here, numerous scoters, terns, gulls, sandpipers, and ducks are common sightings. Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets are also common year-round. This is one of two coastal access points in the Santa Maria Valley, the other being at the Oso Flaco Lake. This is a short stop from Highway 1, and well worth the visit. (From Santa Maria, head north on Hwy. 166 W. toward Main St. Guadalupe, CA)

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