Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival
S.W.A.P. & The Elfin Forest:
The Elfin Forest Natural Area on the southeastern shore of Morro Bay is a diverse and complex assemblage of natural plant communities that includes coastal brackish marsh, riparian woodland fringe, pygmy oak woodland, grassland, coastal dune scrub and oak manzanita association. It supports a documented 25 species of mammals, over 110 kinds of birds, and 11 species of reptiles and amphibians. Chumash middens occur throughout property.
Public access is limited to foot traffic. Trails through the Elfin Forest provide many oportunities for passive recreation and outdoor education. In addition to its habitat and biological diversity, the Elfin Forest is an important buffer between residential development and the Morro Bay estuary that marks the northern end of a greenbelt around the community of Los Osos.
The Los Osos Morro Bay Chapter of Small Wilderness Area Preservation (SWAP)was organized in 1985 for the specific purpose of purchasing and preserving the Elfin Forest. In 1987, legislation authored by Assemblyman Eric Seastrand provided funding to purchase 51.2 acres of the Elfin Forest as an addition to Morro Bay StatePark. In 1994, as a result of the collaborative efforts of SWAP, San Luis Obispo County, the State Coastal Conservancy and the State Lands Commission, the remaining 38.9 acres were acquired as an ecological reserve.
While there are three governmental agencies with ownership of portions of the Elfin Forest, San Luis Obispo County acts as the lead agency in the administration of the Elfin Forest. SWAP has signed an "Adopt-A-Park" agreement with San Luis Obispo County and is developing a Resource Management Plan for the Elfin Forest. The management plan documents the current condition of existing resources within the Elfin Forest. provides goals, objectives and policies for natural resource protection and compatible uses within the Elfin Forest discusses the management of the Elfin Forest. The plan also provides guidelines for the management and preservation of the Elfin Forest by community volunteers working with county staff and in collaboration with educational institutions and other environmental organizations. It is hoped that the preservation of the Elfin Forest Natural Area can serve as a model for other public/private collaborative efforts.
MORRO BAY WINTER Bird Festival
Sightings in 2003
* 202 SPECIES SEEN *
These sightings (especially the unusual sightings) were not verified as is done for the Christmas count but all were seen by our expert leaders during the 7th Annual Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival, January 17-20, 2003. 202 was the total species count for the 2003 Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival!!
(Here's 2002, Here's 2001, & here's 2000)