Field Trips

January 29th, 2015
 
Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
(Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
Wednesday, February 25, 9:30 a.m. – noon
Hilary Powers, 510.834.1066, hilary@powersedit.com; Ruth Tobey, 510.528.2093, ruthtobey@gmail.com 

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.

Still the high season at Lake Merritt; all the best birds have arrived and almost none have left, though the Barrow’s Goldeneyes may be hanging out at the other end of the lake.

Public transit: Take the 12, N, or NL bus to Grand and Perkins, and walk into the park on Perkins. Driving: While the boathouse lot near the spherical cage is closed for wetlands restoration, the best parking is 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.

 

March

 

San Francisco Botanical Garden
Sunday, March 1, 8 – 10:30 a.m.
(First Sunday bird walk)
Dominik Mosur, polskatata@yahoo.com; Allan Ridley, allanrid@pacbell.net; Helen McKenna; Ginny Marshall, ginnybirder@sbcglobal.net; Kimberly Jannarone, kmj@ucsc.edu; Robert Cullison, robbo50@sbcglobal.net. (Leaders vary by month.) 

Meet at the front gate of the garden in Golden Gate Park, 9th Ave. at Lincoln Way.

The garden has several micro-habitats that attract an array of resident, migrant, and vagrant birds. This monthly trip is oriented toward helping beginning birders develop their skills. Entry is free before 9:00 AM. 

 

Tilden Park, Berkeley
March 6, 2015, 8:30 – 10:30am
(First Friday Bird walk)
Alan Kaplan, LNKPLN@earthlink.net, or (510) 526-7609 for messages 

Today’s theme: a preview of Alan’s talk for Bay Currents on what your bird field guide tells you about evolution. Meet in the Tilden Nature Area parking lot, in front of the Environmental Education Center and Little Farm. Restrooms and water at the start and mid-way. No dogs in the Nature Area, please. 

 

Seal Rocks and Sutro Park
Saturday, March 7, 9:00 AM to about 12:00 PM
Martha Wessitsh, (415) 681-8059, cell: (415)533-4470, martha@wessitsh.com

We will scope birds on the offshore rocks and in the catch pool formed by some of the ruins. Then we will scope sea birds seen from the Cliff House. We will cross the street to Sutro Park and find land birds.

Meet at the parking lot above the old Sutro Baths (Merrie Way; Google Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/YqBgt). Restrooms are available and not very much walking is involved. Heavy rain cancels. 

 

Tilden Regional Park Botanic Garden, Berkeley
March 13, 2015, 8:30-10:30 am
(Second Friday Bird walk)
Alan Kaplan, LNKPLN@earthlink.net, or (510) 526-7609 for messages. 

Meet in front of the Visitor Center at the RPBG in the center of Tilden Regional Park (intersection of Wildcat Canyon & S. Park Drive; Google maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/7Bjlj). Restrooms in the parking lot across from the Garden, water in the garden (of course!). No dogs, please. 

 

Chain of Lakes, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Saturday, March 14, 9:00 – 11:30AM
Angie Geiger, 415 264-0069, acgeig@sbcglobal.net

The Chain of Lakes has three distinct lakes, a variety of vegetation and has been known for some interesting migrants. We will look for year-round residents, wintering birds, and anything unusual. All birding levels are welcome. A restroom is available at North Lake. Light rain is ok, a severe storm will cancel.

Let’s meet at the parking lot at Middle Lake. Take Chain of Lakes Dr. (41st Ave. off of Lincoln Way on the south side of the park and 43rd Ave. off of Fulton St. on the North side of GGP.) If you need directions, please email the leader. 

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Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont
Sunday, March 15, 9:00AM – Noon
Note: This is not the Coyote Hills bike trip, which is listed below on March 21
Steve & Carol Lombardi, hotrock175@gmail.com, cell 925.785.0130 

We’ll walk the marshes, shorelines, and ponds in this excellent park on the shore of the south bay. Singing Marsh Wrens, nesting Tree Swallows and raptors, spring migrants, and spawning carp should make for an interesting walk. Plan on 3 miles walking on mostly flat, unpaved trails. All skill levels welcome. Beginners encouraged. Bring binocs if you have them. Meet at the parking area adjacent to the visitors center (at the end of the park entrance road). Directions: http://www.ebparks.org/parks/maps. Parking fee. Water and restrooms. 

 

Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
Sunday, March 15, 8:00 – 10:00 AM
(Third Sunday bird walk)
David Assmann, David_Assmann@Yahoo.com 

March may be the last month to see many of our overwintering water birds, as well as specialties like Red-Breasted Sapsucker, Wandering Tattlers, and Orchard Oriole. Early migrants may already be showing up (last year there was a Western Kingbird at Fort Mason on March 16th). Allen’s Hummingbirds should be present, and there may be a migrating Rufous Hummingbird on its way through. Newly arriving and migrating swallows are possible.

Meet in front of the Community Garden to explore several different habitats in this compact part of GGNRA. Restroom in meadow, ample parking if there is no race on the waterfront (also easily accessible by transit). Heavy rain cancels. http://goo.gl/maps/RKZwU 

 

Sausal Creek and Dimond Recreation Center Playground  
Wednesday, March 18, 8:30am – 10:00am.  
(Third Wednesday Bird Walk)  
Penn Hughes, penn.hughes@att.net or (510) 499-5491 for messages.                     

From the playground, we will go on a path by Birdhenge, up Sausal Creek and then back.  Song birds and underbrush birds.

Meet at the bottom of the steps (from the parking lot) near the kids playground (BLUE astroturf and GREEN slide).  Dimond Recreation Center in Dimond Park is at the corner of Hanly Road (from Fruitvale Avenue) and El Centro Avenue (from Park Blvd.).  There are rest rooms in Dimond Park, for sure open later, perhaps NOT OPEN at 8:30.  Please, no dogs.

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline—Arrowhead Marsh, Oakland
Thursday, March 19, 2015, 9:00am-11:30am
Gary and Chris Bard, chrisbalameda@gmail.com, 510.301.2987 

The shoreline offers excellent views of shorebirds, waders, and dabblers. Arrowhead Marsh is the home of numerous Clapper Rails. In winter large rafts of scaup and ruddy ducks float offshore. Occasionally, raptors soar overhead. The walking is on flat ground.  Please bring a scope if you have one.  Dress in layers.  Rain cancels trip.  Restroom is available near parking lot.

From I-880 south in Oakland, exit at Hegenberger Rd. Turn right onto Hegenberger, continue .7 mile across a small bridge over a channel, and turn right on Pardee Dr. Continue to Swan Way and turn left, then turn right into the park. Meet at parking lot at end of road.

 

Corona Heights, San Francisco
(Third Friday bird walk)
Friday, March 20, 8 – 10 a.m.
Brian Fitch; Dominik Mosur, polskatata@yahoo.com (Leaders vary by month.) 

Meet in front of the Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, at the end of Museum Way off Roosevelt. We will enjoy views of the city and bay as we circle Corona Heights, checking the east canyon woodland and north forest for residents and migrants, as well as monitoring the hilltop scrub and south cliff. Google map: http://goo.gl/maps/CZNlr 

 

Alameda Creek-Coyote Hills Regional Park by bicycle, Fremont.
Saturday, March 21, 10 a.m. – ~3:30 p.m.
Jeffrey Black, (510) 526-7068, buffalo1003@aol.com and Pat Greene, (415) 566-6637, cell on ride (415) 481 5469, greene@cgl.ucsf.edu 

We’ll cycle about 20 nearly flat miles from Union City BART along Alameda Creek and into Coyote Hills Regional Park looking for ducks and shorebirds, as well as resident raptors.

Meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Union City BART station by the ticket machines (Leaders plan to be on train arriving at 9:53). Bring binoculars and snacks, lunch, and water. Wear layers; helmets required. Restrooms are located at the BART station, at a staging area along the creek, and at the Coyote Hills Visitor Center, where we will eat lunch (lunch will be late). This birding ride is co-listed with Grizzly Peak Cyclists. Rain Cancels. If the weather is questionable, send your e-mail address to Pat to receive news on the status of the ride.

 

Napa River boat trip with Dolphin Charters (departs from Vallejo)
Saturday, March 21, 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM
GGAS Leader: Dominik Mosur
 
NOTE: This trip is now full. You may register to be on the waiting list. We are also sponsoring another Napa River boat trip on April 25 as part of Birdathon, so consider signing up for that one. Click here for details on the Birdathon trip. 

Journey up the Napa River to a world of hidden backwaters and wildlife that you would never see from the highway! Starting at the historic Vallejo waterfront, you’ll view numerous Osprey nests at Mare Island. Then you’ll move into a world of vineyards, backwater homes and some of the largest contiguous marshes in the Bay Area. See Osprey, egrets, diving ducks and grebes, and learn about one of the largest tidal marsh restoration projects in the country.

Trip costs $75 for GGAS members or $85 for non-members. Click here to register online. Confirmed participants will receive directions to the marina and other instructions about a week before the trip.

 
Saturday-Sunday, March 21-22
Honey Lake and Greater Sage-Grouse (Lassen County)
Dave Quady, (510) 704-9353 or davequady@att.net.

This trip is full. 

Lassen County in March offers the chance to enjoy Greater Sage-Grouse displaying on a lek, many wintering raptors and waterfowl, a few spring migrants, and a spectacular setting for seeking northeast California’s resident birds. This trip is limited to 20 participants. Sign-ups begin at noon on February 9 – only by email to davequady@att.net, please; detailed directions will be provided soon thereafter. Susanville provides convenient, comfortable lodging; Honey Lake State Wildlife Area provides primitive camping. Plan to bring warm clothing, lunches for both days, and a scope if you have one. Carpooling encouraged.

 
Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland, Alameda County
(Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
Wednesday, March 25, 9:30 a.m. – noon
Hilary Powers, 510.834.1066, hilary@powersedit.com; Ruth Tobey, 510.528.2093, ruthtobey@gmail.com 

Spring has sprung. We’ll be looking for courtship and nesting activity.

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: While the boathouse lot near the spherical cage is closed for wetlands restoration, the best parking is 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.

 

North Beach/Telegraph, San Francisco
Saturday, March 28, 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. 
Carlo Arreglo, 415.533.7081, 
arregloc@gmail.com 

We’ll look at North Beach and Telegraph Hill in a different way—as birders— in this walk for people of all ages and levels. Beginners are especially welcome! We’ll start at the Coit Tower parking lot and make our way around Telegraph Hill, including, possibly, a descent and ascent of the Greenwich and Filbert Steps. We’ll look for resident and migratory birds while taking in some great views of two stunning bridges.

Meet 8:00 AM at the Coit Tower parking lot. You can park your vehicle here or in street parking if available on the way up to Coit Tower.  Note that the 39 bus does NOT run this early. The 30, 45, and 8x buses stop at Washington Square and from there it’s about a four block walk uphill.

 

Upper San Leandro Reservoir (Valle Vista), Moraga
Sunday, March 29, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Maureen Lahiff, MLahiff@aol.com, cell 510.484.6529 

A variety of habitats — chaparral and scrub, grassland, pine-oak woodland, marsh, riparian — make this EBMUD watershed a great place for birding. Warblers should be back, the residents will be singing, and perhaps the elusive Wood Ducks will make a brief appearance, and possibly a Coyote or Bobcat. We’ll do a bit of birding by ear and refresh our memories of the songs of some of the “more easily heard than seen” birds.

Directions: The Valle Vista staging area parking lot is one mile southwest of Moraga on Canyon Road. From California highway 24, take the Orinda/Moraga exit and bear right to head south on Moraga Way. When Moraga Way ends at a T, turn right onto Canyon Road. (Note that Canyon Road is named Moraga Road going left). You will drive through a residential area for about ½ mile. After you leave the residential area, the staging area will be a little more than ½ mile further on the left. Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/zuChy

Walking is mainly flat on unpaved trails, with a bit of up and down hill. There is a new vault toilet at the staging area. However, drinking water is not available, so participants need to bring their own liquids for healthy hydration.

 

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.

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 between December 20, 2014 and May 10, 2015. This trip is from 9 am -12 pm 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.

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Carpooling 

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.

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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.

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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. There is also a Meetup page that lists birding walks and events throughout the Bay Area: www.meetup.com/Bay-Area-Birding/.