Looks like a Whimbrel to me in very colorful fresh adult plumage. They're found along the California coast in winter.
I apologize for the delay in thanking you for your help. I had wondered about the Wimbrel, but the coloration you describe as “very colorful fresh adult plumage” did not occur in any of my field guides. Thank you very much for your help.
"Fresh adult" plumage appears in the big Sibley guide. I added "very colorful" as the photo shows the bird more colorful than the guide - this could be normal variation in the bird or the point-and-shoot camera enhancing the photo as they sometimes do, or a little bit of both. In any case, I don't see that it could be anything else.