Field Trips

November 23rd, 2014
Oakland Rose Garden, Morcom Amphitheater of Roses, Oakland
(3rd Wednesday Bird Walk)
Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 8:30am – 10:00am
Penn Hughes, or (510) 499-5491 for messages. 

The Rose Garden is located 700 Jean Street, which is near Grand Avenue and Ace Hardware.  Coming from Lake Merritt on Grand, turn left on Jean. What birds stay in Oakland in winter?  What will fly over?  Restrooms available.  Please, no dogs.


Corona Heights, San Francisco
(3rd Friday bird walk)
Friday, December 19, 8 – 10 a.m.
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: 


Aquatic Park and Waterfront, San Francisco
Saturday, December 20, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Carol Kiser, 415.447.5000  

On this walk for children and beginners, and all others, we will look for resident and migrating birds. Meet at the entrance to the Hyde Street Pier at Hyde and Jefferson on the western border of Fisherman’s Wharf. Nearby parking is at the foot of Van Ness Ave. (free for 4 hours), Ghirardelli Square, and the Anchorage. Dress in layers, wear wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, and bring binoculars and guide books if you have them.  (We can provide binoculars and books if you don’t). 


Biking and Birding at Arrowhead Marsh/ MLK Shoreline – Oakland 
Sunday, December 21, 2014, 9:45 AM – 12:30 PM
Kathy Jarrett, 510-547-1233,

 High Tide at approx 10:50 AM. Winter high tides are a good time to see rails, and if there has been enough rain, lots of ducks and shorebirds in the seasonal wetlands.

Meet at EBRPD Tidewater Staging Area 9:45. We’ll ride the S.F. Bay Trail from East Creek Point to Damon Marsh and Arrowhead Marsh. Return over the same route or via Doolittle Dr and Fernside Blvd. Bring snacks/lunch and liquids, and dress in layers. All levels of birders welcome. Bicycle helmet required. Rain cancels. E-mail or call for mobile number.

Directions by car: Take High St. Exit from I-880 in Oakland and go SW on High St., then turn left onto Tidewater Ave. (just before bridge to Alameda) and right into the Tidewater Staging Area. (Look for a small brown sign.)

Bicycling directions from Fruitvale BART: Ride west on Fruitvale Ave and turn left onto Alameda Ave, just before bridge to Alameda. Trail is on right on sidewalk; follow it south to High St along estuary, jog left and cross onto Tidewater Ave, then right into the staging area. 


Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
(3rd Sunday bird walk)
Sunday, December 21, 8 – 10 am
David Assmann, 

Meet in front of the Community Garden to explore several different habitats in this compact part of GGNRA. In December we’ll focus on finding some special overwintering species, including Red-Breasted Merganser, Wandering Tattlers, Red-Breasted Sapsucker, Nashville Warbler and Orchard Oriole. Restroom in meadow, ample parking if there is no race on the waterfront (also easily accessible by transit). Google Map:


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

This is the high season for birding at Lake Merritt. Everybody who is going to show up is here, and nobody should have left yet.

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.


Tilden Park, Berkeley
(Special fourth Friday bird walk)
Friday, December 26, 2014, 8:30-10:30 am
Alan Kaplan ( or (510) 526-7609 for messages. 

The Wren, The Wren, The King of All Birds!It is St. Stephen’s Day, and we will walk up the Gorge Trail (wet, rocky, a little mud) to hear the Pacific Wren and talk about wrenning folklore. Meet at the Meadows Playfield (where Lone Oak Road and Central Park Drive meet in Tilden Regional Park). This is where we met earlier in the year while the Nature Area parking lot was unavailable. Restrooms at the start; bring water. Refreshments before and after!  


Hidden Lakes Park, Martinez
Friday, December 26, 9:30 AM-12:00 PM
Anne Hoff ( 

Boxing Day birding at a hidden gem! Time to walk off some of that holiday dinner while looking for winter birds in trees without leaves, grassy fields, and on the lakes. Woodpeckers, raptors, sparrows, goldfinches and much more. We’ll meet at the clubhouse/restroom inside the entrance to the park at Chilpancingo Parkway and Morello Ave. in Martinez (no fee). This park is accessible from Highway 680 or Highway 4, with directions best obtained through GPS or paper map. Less than 10 minutes from Sun Valley Mall! Heavy rain cancels. Google Maps link:


 Further Out….


Big Break Regional Shoreline, Oakley
with possible stop at Ironhouse Sanitary District Settlement Ponds
Sunday, January 11, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Maureen Lahiff,, 510.484.6529 

Why go all the way to East Contra Costa County, to the Delta? The brackish water of the small estuary, freshwater marsh, and grassy uplands host an amazing array of birds, including the elusive American Bittern, Virginia Rail, and Sora. Lincoln’s Sparrow joins the White-crowned, Golden-crowned, and Song Sparrows. Wading birds, diving ducks, grebes, and American Coots can all be seen from the Observation Pier. American White Pelicans are often out on the San Joaquin River. Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, Kestrels, White-tailed Kites and Northern Harriers are good bets. The East Bay Regional Parks count is 70 different species of birds. There’s a great scale model of the Delta we can walk on.

If there is water in the Ironhouse Sanitary District settlement ponds, we’ll also drive to the entrance of the Big Break Trail and walk out to see the birds.

This is a rewarding place to bird for both beginners and experienced folks and for families. This trip is a combination of walking and stationary observing, mostly on paved, level pathways. There are restrooms near the parking lot, the observation pier, and in the Visitor’s Center.

Directions from the East Bay: Take CA-24 east through the Caldecott Tunnel to I-680 northbound. Take CA-242 towards Concord/Pittsburg, then CA-4 east towards Stockton/Pittsburg.  Just past the Hillcrest Ave. exit, take exit 30 toward CA-160/Sacramento//Rio Vista. Merge onto CA-160. Take the first exit on 160, exit 1-A East 18th/Main Street. Turn right (east) at the bottom of the exit onto Main Street. Proceed east a little over 1 mile, Turn left onto Big Break Road (it has a traffic light); Turn right just past the last houses on the right into Big break Regional Shoreline. We’ll meet near the parking lot restrooms. Google Maps link:

Cosumnes River Preserve and Staten Island
Saturday, January 17, with an optional extension to Sacramento Valley refuges on Sunday, January 18
Maureen Lahiff,, 510.484.6529 and Linda and Bob Carloni,, 510.206.0554 

It’s 90 minutes from Oakland and Berkeley to these Central Valley sites. Cosumnes has a great variety of wintering ducks and shorebirds. The Nature Conservancy’s Staten Island, where the fields are flooded, is likely to have Sandhill Cranes, Tundra Swans, and geese. We’ll meet near the town of Thornton on Saturday morning (trip details will be provided to confirmed participants).

Participants have two options for this trip:

(1) A long day trip on Saturday to Cosumnes and Staten Island (including a lunch stop) or

(2) The Cosumnes/Staten Island trip, then continuing on to Willows mid-afternoon Saturday. This requires driving 100 miles north to Willows for an overnight stay — with an option for dinner together— and then Sunday morning visits to two national wildlife refuges. The Sunday sites would be the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (where we are likely to see Snow Geese, Ross’s Geese, White-faced Ibis, and a variety of ducks) and Colusa NWR (where we’ll look for the Falcated Duck).

The trip is limited to 25 participants to insure a great experience. Sign-up by email to Maureen beginning at noon on Monday, December 15. More details and suggestions for places to stay in Willows will be provided. (Questions to Maureen before December 15 are welcome.)


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.

Our Field Trips are also listed on Meetup, a web site that helps people find local events that interest them. If you join Meetup, you can get individual email reminders for each GGAS field trip, or download the schedule to your Outlook or Google calendar. See


Other Bay Area Bird Walks

Mike Simms compiles a quarterly list of bird walks throughout the Bay Area, including walks by other Audubon chapters. For his current calendar, click here. There is also a Meetup page that lists birding walks and events throughout the Bay Area: