After some leisurely birding, we trekked over to the nearby Stella Mare's restaurant, which overlooks the refuge, for a brunch of eggs benedict. A casual place with great food, great views, and charming French country ambience http://www.stellamares.com/ .
Location: Eastern edge of Santa Barbara. The refuge is bounded by E. Cabrillo Blvd., Hwy. 101, and the Santa Barbara Zoo.
County: Santa Barbara County.
Management: City of Santa Barbara.
Size: 42 acres of salt marsh and 29 acres of freshwater lake, plus shoreline riparian habitat and beach lagoon where lake spills into ocean.
Closest City/Town: Santa Barbara.
Directions: Intersection of Hwy. 101 and E. Cabrillo Blvd.
Contact Info: Refuge location: 1400 E. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, CA 93108. Tel (805)963-0611.
Hours: Sunrise to 10pm.
Trails: Bike trails & foot paths. 1/2 mile trail from the parking lot leads to several viewing platforms.
http://www.santabarbaraca.gov/Parks/parks_passive_main.html (City of Santa Barbara)
Amenities: Educational and interpretive programs, park & picnic areas. Signs identify native and migratory birds.
Pets: Not allowed.
Birds: 221 bird species recorded, including gulls, American coots, ruddy ducks, black-crowned night herons, mallard ducks.
What we saw: Brown pelicans, American coots, Heermann's gulls, Black-chinned hummingbirds, spotted sandpiper, house finches.