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Field Trips | Golden Gate Audubon Society

Field Trips

May 28th, 2015
Tilden Regional Park Nature Area, Berkeley
Friday, June 5, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.
(First Friday Birdwalk)
Alan Kaplan, or (510) 526-7609 for messages.

Today’s theme: BIrding by Impression, a new Peterson Reference Guide, by Karlson and Rosselet. We’ll try the method in the field! See the 10,000 Birds blog for a review before the walk.

Meet at the Nature Area parking lot, in front of the Environmental Education Center and Little Farm. Water and restrooms at the start. We’ll take some steps and uphill (Sylvan Trail) today.


San Francisco Botanical Garden
Sunday, June 7, 8:00—10:30 a.m.
(First Sunday bird walk)
Dominik Mosur,; Allan Ridley,; Helen McKenna; Ginny Marshall,; Kimberly Jannarone,; Robert Cullison, (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.


Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont
Sunday, June 7, 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Pamela Llewellyn,

Meet at the visitors’ center, at the end of the entrance road into the park. Parking fee (automatic kiosk takes credit cards). Water and restrooms. Check the EBRPD website for directions:


Tilden Park, Berkeley – Dusk Birdsong
Wednesday, June 10, 7:30 p.m.
Rusty Scalf,

Join us for dusk birdsong at Tilden Regional Park. Dawn chorus is much talked about, but birds sing in the evening as well. The star of this show will probably be Swainson’s Thrush though others sing well into in the evening. Once light fails we might hear an owl. Please park in the parking lot at the end of Canon Drive since the steel gate is closed at dusk. Canon Dr. is the northmost road into Tilden off the Grizzly Peak/Wildcat Canyon intersection. Google map link: Directions:


Briones Regional Park, near Orinda
Friday, June 12, 2015, 8:30 — 11:00 a.m.
(Second Friday Birdwalk)
Alan Kaplan, or (510) 526-7609 for messages.

Lazuli Bunting, Chipping Sparrow and Meadowlark should be present. We’ll walk up to the corral where Indigo Bunting has been seen in June in the past. Any late-spring wildflowers will be a plus!

Enter from Bear Creek Road; parking fee may apply; drive past the entrance kiosk to the further parking lot. Water and restrooms at the start.


Tennessee Hollow, Presidio, San Francisco
Saturday, June 13, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Leader: Juan-Carlos Solis,, (925) 222-8573

Explore the Presidio’s largest watershed and look for some of San Francisco’s spring and summer birds — and who knows, maybe a late vernal vagrant. We’ll walk along the ecology trail and visit El Polín spring and a variety of habitats including a restored serpentine grassland. Meet at the Presidio in the Polín parking lot the end of MacArthur Ave. The parking lot is small and carpooling is encouraged.


Bear Valley Visitors Center, Pt. Reyes National Seashore (Marin County)
Sunday, June 14, 10:00 a.m. — 2:00 p.m.
Emilie Strauss 510-540-8749

We will explore trails near the Bear Valley visitors center in search of Purple Martins, eat lunch at the Bear Valley picnic tables, and then spend another hour or two at an adjacent location TBD by leader. Expect 2-3 miles walking on relatively flat terrain. Meet at the Bear Valley visitors center. Water, restrooms, no fee.


Mountain View Cemetery, 5000 Piedmont Ave., Oakland
Wednesday June 17, 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.
(Third Wednesday Bird Walk)  
Penn Hughes, or (510) 499-5491 for messages.

GPS to Mtn. View Cemetery entry (address above), as far “up” Piedmont Avenue, Oakland as possible.   Once in the entry, drive to the right to a circle.  Continue around the circle to the second right (ONCE YOU TURN, there will be a bell to your LEFT.)  Proceed straight up that drive.  You will come to a traffic circle surrounding a round water filled “fountain.”  Go to the next circle “fountain” after that, and park near there. Rest rooms early are uncertain – perhaps temporary facilities.  Please, no dogs.


Corona Heights, San Francisco
Friday, June 19, 8 – 10 a.m.
(Third Friday bird walk)

Brian Fitch; Dominik Mosur, (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:


Ft. Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
Sunday, June 21, 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.
(Third Sunday bird walk)
David Assmann,

The focus will be looking for nesting birds.  There is a chance the Northern Gannet will be back on Alcatraz and visible via scope (it was seen on Alcatraz in April and early May). Nesting birds could include Downy Woodpeckers and Hooded Oriole. We’ll also check out the Black Point Battery for flycatchers and warblers, and scan Aquatic Park for water birds.  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.


Redwood Regional Park (Main entrance off Redwood Rd.)
Sunday, June 21, 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Maureen Lahiff,, 510.484.6529

I’ve gotten good looks at wrens (House and Pacific) along the Stream Trail, where they are nesting, along with vireos, Pacific Slope Flycatcher, and Black-headed Grosbeak.
We’ll be walking through varied habitat on a mostly level trail.  After heading out and back on the Stream Trail, we’ll walk back to the entrance road, which has forested habitat that is usually very birdy.

Please enter the park via the Redwood Gate and drive to the parking area at the end of the paved road (Canyon Meadow Staging Area). The park gate opens at 8:00 am; there is a $5 parking fee unless you have a Regional Parks Foundation Membership.  We’ll try to get on the trail by 8:15 for the best birding. Please bring a water bottle. There are restrooms and water at several points along the trail. The Redwood Gate is on Redwood Road about 2 miles east of Skyline Boulevard. Take the Redwood Road exit from Highway 13 and head east (uphill). Go straight at the intersection with Skyline Blvd. Check the EBRPD website for directions and a map:


Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
(Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
Wednesday, June 24, 9:30 a.m. – noon
Hilary Powers, 510.834.1066,; Ruth Tobey, 510.528.2093,

Come catch the last of the winter migrants, watch the cormorant rookery in full swing, and perhaps coo over some baby ducks and geese.

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.


Lassen Volcanic National Park — Lassen County
Friday-Sunday, June 26-28 
Dan and Joan Murphy, (preferred) or  (415) 564-0074

Join Dan and Joan on the annual GGAS family camping excursion to Lassen.  In past years we have seen Black Swift, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Townsend’s Solitaire, Mountain Bluebird, Calliope Hummingbird, Black-backed Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker and many of the flycatchers, warblers and finches that breed in the mountains.

FRIDAY AND SUNDAY MORNINGS we will meet at the Manzanita Lake Campground store at 7:00 a.m.  We will bird around the lake for 2-3 hours, return to camp for breakfast, then rendezvous again at the store at 10:45 a.m. for another outing.

FRIDAY we will take a leisurely hike of 3 to 5 miles on one of Lassen’s beautiful trails.  We may climb as much as 700′.  Wear sturdy shoes and bring lunch and liquids.  Suntan lotion, a hat, mosquito repellent and warm clothing may also be necessary.

On SATURDAY, campers will meet by the camp store at 7:30 a.m. and caravan north to Burney Falls, Fall River Valley and Baum Lake. Those staying at the Hat Creek Resort can meet us at around 8:00 a.m. at the Vista Point about 12 miles north of Lassen on Hwys. 44 & 89.  Bring lunch and liquids.  Since this is a long and tiring day we suggest joining us for dinner at a local restaurant (if one is available) or for a picnic dinner. We’ll allow time to make a food and gas run into Burney.

SUNDAY we will drive through the park, making frequent stops for birding.  We usually stop birding and head for home or camp after lunch at Summit Lake Campground.

Please contact us by e-mail or phone to let us know if you are planning to attend. We will know our campsite number by then, so we’ll let you know. We may have to cut off attendance if the group is larger than in past years.

DIRECTIONS:  From the Bay Area drive north on I-5 to its junction with Hwy. 44 in Redding.  Go east on Hwy. 44 to the northwest entrance of Lassen.  Camping facilities are available at the Manzanita Lake Campground. Loops A and C by reservation only, loops B and D on a first-come-first-served basis. Reservations can be made online at or by calling 877.444.6777.

Lodging is available about 15 mi. north of the park at Hat Creek Resort, Old Station [530] 335-7121.  Other information can be obtained from the park headquarters, Mineral, CA 96063.


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; 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:

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




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 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 and ask to receive the Field Trips e-newsletter. Include your name, preferred email address, plus (for our records) your postal address.


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: