Upcoming Field Trips

Golden Gate Audubon offers more than 100 field trips annually for birders of all levels. Our trips explore local areas from Golden Gate Park to the East Bay shoreline and hills, as well as such wildlife-rich destinations as California’s Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada.

We also sponsor trips to other parts of the U.S. and to international destinations, including Latin America, Africa, and Australia. Field trips are led by experienced birders who are passionate in sharing their knowledge of birds and their habitats. See our Travel with GGAS page for upcoming travel opportunities.  

Local trips are free, except for any park entrance fees. Advance reservations may be necessary. It is advisable to confirm with the trip leader that a trip will take place as planned, especially if inclement weather is expected. Reports of recent and past field trips are on these pages.

For questions about individual field trips, contact the leaders. If you cannot reach a leader, contact 510-843-2222 or email volunteer@goldengateaudubon.org.

We encourage people to share rides to field trips! See the bottom of this page for information about our friendly, easy-to-use GGAS carpool group.


Field Trips

June 15th, 2016
Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District, San Rafael
Sunday, July 24, 8 a.m. to about 11 a.m.
Wendy Beers  (510)685-9670docwlb@gmail.com
Meet at the parking lot at the end of Smith Ranch Road in San Rafael.  We’ll plan on walking around the settling ponds, as well as walking out to the marshes in hopes of hearing and even possibly seeing Ridgeway Rails.  There are usually Northern Harriers and White Tailed Kites working the meadows, and both osprey and Bald Eagles have been sited flying over the ponds.  One never knows what they might see or hear, but its a good place to find Green Herons, and of course this year the return of the Least Bittern.  It can be foggy or hot, so wear sunscreen and a hat and have some water with you just in case it gets really warm.  It will be a leisurely and level stroll, suitable for all levels.  Port-a-potty at the parking lot.  We will plan on finishing around 11 AM.


Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
Wednesday, July 27, 9:30 a.m. – noon
(Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
Hilary Powers, 510.834.1066, hilary@powersedit.com. Ruth Tobey is on vacation, but will return next month. Hilary is still here! 

It’s high summer and the quiet time, but there’s always someone to see at the lake and in the park around it.

Meet at the large spherical cage near the Nature Center at Perkins and Bellevue. We will bird around there, then go up the garden path toward Children’s Fairyland or walk down the lake toward Embarcadero, after which we will cover what we missed. Public transit: Take the 12, N, or NL bus to Grand and Perkins, and walk into the park on Perkins. Driving: The boathouse lot near the spherical cage is the best spot to park, but there’s plenty of parking along Bellevue between the boathouse and the nature center. Enter via Bellevue near Children’s Fairyland; the $2 “two hour” pass is probably OK even though the trip is about three hours, as the dashboard cards don’t have a start time on them.


Abbott’s Lagoon, Pt Reyes National Seashore
Sunday, July 31, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Rusty Scalf 510-495-5837, rscalf@sonic.net
Juan Garcia,   jfgarcia2@usfca.edu

We will bird the coastal scrub, lagoons, and ocean. We hope to find shorebirds: early migrants and resident Snowy Plovers. This date is on the early end of Baird’s Sandpiper migration and we could be lucky. There ought to be northbound post breeders from Mexico like Elegant Terns.

Meet at 9 am at the Abbott’s Lagoon parking lot (bathrooms but no water). Bring scope, liquids, lunch.  Plan on walking 4 miles round-trip; relatively flat but trail consists partially of sand. Prepare for wind.

NOTE: This is the same day as the S.F. Marathon, which will lead to traffic delays driving from San Francisco to Marin. In particular, expect delays and detours for the Golden Gate Bridge. For information on Marathon traffic issues, see http://www.thesfmarathon.com/race-weekend/race-traffic-advisory/. 

Using Google Maps, type in Abbotts Lagoon Trailhead.
Using Mapquest, 4101 Pierce Point Rd, Inverness, CA
The National Seashore map:  https://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/maps.htm


Pelagic Trips

See birds of the open water! (And maybe some marine mammals.) Shearwater Journeys, Alvaro’s Adventures, and the Oceanic Society all offer discounts to GGAS members. Register in advance since these trips often fill up. Never tried a pelagic (ocean) birding trip? Read our blog post on Pelagic Birding for Beginners!

Shearwater Journeys Pelagic Trips

Shearwater Journeys has offered GGAS members discounted pelagic trips for more than a decade. RESERVATIONS: Please send payment (personal check or money order), name, address, phone, email for each person booking, to Debi Shearwater; POB 190, Hollister, CA 95024; debi@shearwaterjourneys.com. All discounted reservations are non-refundable, non-transferable. A return confirmation will be sent to you. All trips are accompanied by experienced, friendly and knowledgable leaders.

Alvaro’s Adventures Pelagic Trips

Led by Alvaro Jaramillo. Check the website for descriptions, pricing, and availability: http://alvarosadventures.com/boat-trips/pelagics/

Oceanic Society Pelagic Trips

The Oceanic Society offers guided Gray Whale watching trips from Half Moon Bay. Some of their guides have particular expertise in birds; ask their office for dates of trips with bird experts. The cost is normally $125 per person, but GGAS members are eligible for a reduced rate of $105. To reserve at the discounted rate, call their office during business hours at (800) 326-7491 or (415) 256-9604 and ask for Donna Redstone or other staff. Want to charter an entire boat? They can also offer a GGAS discount for that. For details on their trips, see www.oceanicsociety.org.




If you are going on a field trip, would you welcome company? Do you have room in your car to take other birders? To help find a ride or offer a ride, sign up with GGA’s carpool group at http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/GGACarPool. When you sign up, you answer a few simple questions, then receive a confirming e-mail. Once you are a member, you post messages under “Need Ride” or “Offer Ride,” along with the destination and date. The more birders who sign up, the more useful the group will be. Birders are encouraged to help the driver with expenses by contributing to the cost of fuel and bridge tolls.


Field Trip E-newsletter and Meetups

Would you like to get a list of field trips sent to your email Inbox each month? Contact the Golden Gate Audubon office at ggas@goldengateaudubon.org and ask to receive the Field Trips e-newsletter. Include your name, preferred email address, plus (for our records) your postal address.

We also post all our field trips on Meetup.com, which can be a convenient way to get reminders of each upcoming trip via email. See www.meetup.com/Golden-Gate-Audubon-Society/.


Other Bay Area Bird Walks

Mike Simms compiles a quarterly list of bird walks throughout the Bay Area, including walks by other Audubon chapters. His current list can be found through the Ohlone Audubon web site.