Field Trips

June 25th, 2015
 

 

Albany Mudflats
Wednesday, September 2, 8 a.m. – 12 noon
Harry Fuller, 503-474-7371, anzatowhee@yahoo.com 

There should be a good number of peeps, godwits, willets, plovers, and other mud-lovers in view. We’ll meet at west end of Buchanan Street west of the I-80 underpass.  Here the Bay Trail parallels a finger of the Bay and the mudflats can be inviting to shorebirds and gulls. Bring water.

Harry Fuller has recently published his book on Great Gray Owls of California, Oregon and Washington. In March, 2016, he will speak to the GGAS monthly meeting about those owls.

 

Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley
Friday, September 4, 2015, 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
(First Friday bird walk)
Alan Kaplan, LNKPLN@earthlink.net, or (510) 526-7609 for messages. 

Bird and insect Interactions will be the theme today. Meet in the parking lot in front of the EEC and Little Farm. Easy walk on the trail and boardwalk to Jewel “Lake”. Restrooms and water at the start and mid-way. 

 

Vaux’s Swifts at McNear Brickyard, Marin County
Friday, September 4, 6:30 p.m. to dusk

Rusty Scalf and Maureen Lahiff, MLahiff@aol.com , (510) 484-6529

This field trip is now FULL. You may register to be on the waiting list.

Vaux’s Swifts migrate south along the Pacific Flyway each fall, and one of their few known stopping points in Northern California is the McNear Brickyard in San Rafael. At sunset on many September and October evenings, as many as 19,000 swifts mass and fly into the decommissioned brickyard chimneys to spend the night.  It’s an unforgettable sight! GGAS instructor Rusty Scalf discovered this overnight roost several years ago. Maureen Lahiff works with Rusty and other volunteers monitoring the numbers of roosting swifts. Click here to read and view photos of the 2014 swift season at McNear on our blog.

To respect both the swifts and the McNear property owners, this trip is limited to 40 people. Click here to register online. (The trip is free but registration is required.) We are offering similar field trips on September 14 and 25; please sign up for only ONE trip. Carpooling is strongly encouraged since there is very little parking.

We will send you directions and parking information by email a few days before the trip. Keep in mind that the number of swifts varies greatly from night to night, and can range from a few hundred to over 10,000.  This trip is relatively early in the season so will probably not be the peak, but is still a great opportunity to learn about the swifts.

 

Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, Oakland
Saturday, September 5, 9 a.m. – 12 noon
Rusty Scalf, rscalf@sonic.net

Many migratory shorebirds will be back or moving through the Bay Area, some still in partial breeding plumage. They will join waterbirds who are here year-round. This hidden gem of a birding site is in the midst of the Port of Oakland, at the end of 7th Street. There are great views of the Bay Bridge. Restoration of shallow tidelands in the Middle Harbor Area continues, now that the Naval Fleet Supply Industrial Center is closed. Also, Saturday is part of the three day World Shorebirds Day count weekend. Here’s the link to the event site: https://worldshorebirdsday.wordpress.com/global-shorebird-counting/.
We will be walking on level, paved paths, so this trip is accessible for birders with mobility limitations.Bring lots of water, sunscreen, and hats. The parking area does have restrooms. Spotting scopes welcome and appreciated. Google Maps link:

https://goo.gl/maps/ZnpWv. For more information, please visit the Port of Oakland website http://www.portofoakland.com/community/

 

Crab Cove and Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary, Alameda
Sunday, September 6, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Maureen Lahiff, MLahiff@aol.com , 510.484.6529

Close-up views of shorebirds and other waterbirds. Also, Sunday is part of the three day World Shorebirds Day count weekend. Here’s the link to the event site: https://worldshorebirdsday.wordpress.com/global-shorebird-counting/.

Come into Alameda via the Webster Street Tube. You’ll be on Webster Avenue. Take Webster until it ends at Central Avenue. Turn right on Central and then take the first left onto McKay Avenue at the Crab Cove Visitors Center sign. We’ll meet at the end of McKay, just past the Crab Cove Visitors Center. Free parking should be available on McKay. To make the most of our time to bird, we’ll drive from Crab Cove to the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary at the other end of Crown Memorial Beach. We’ll be walking short distances on level paths, so this trip is accessible for birders with mobility limitations. Bring water and sun protection. Spotting scopes welcome and appreciated.

Restrooms and water available at the Crab Cove Visitors Center and along Shoreline Drive. The short URL for the Crab Visitor Center is https://goo.gl/maps/NecZ1

 

San Francisco Botanical Garden
Sunday, September 6, 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; 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.

 

Vollmer Peak, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley
Friday, September 11, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
(Second Friday bird walk)
Alan Kaplan, LNKPLN@earthlink.net, or (510) 526-7609 for messages 

Fall drop-ins? In the past, September has had Tilden’s only Green-tailed Towhee, and has brought Red Crossbills, Swainson’s Hawk, and Rufous Hummingbird as well. Restrooms and water at the start. Some elevation gain on the way up the road to the peak. Meet at the Little Train (Redwood Valley RR) parking lot, Grizzly Peak Boulevard and Lomas Contadas Road. Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/Ib303 

 

Coastal San Francisco
Saturday, September 12, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Dan and Joan Murphy, murphsf@comcast.net

This trip starts and ends at different points; read the text carefully!

We will bird the Chain-of-Lakes, then drive to other locations that may or may not include other spots in Golden Gate Park, Land’s End, the Presidio, the Cliff House, Fort Funston and Lake Merced. In the past we have seen a large variety of migrating flycatchers, vireos, warblers, sparrows and finches. We may see some of the early hawk migration as well. As we write this in mid-August we are experiencing a wonderful early migratory year. This might well be a great year by mid-September.

Meet at 8:00 a.m. in the parking lot between South Lake and Middle Lake in Golden Gate Park. From 41st and Lincoln it is just past the second stop sign on Chain-of-Lakes Drive. From Kennedy Dr., turn left at Chain-of-Lakes Drive and drive just past the lake to the left to the parking lot. We plan to end the day between 2 and 3 at Lake Merced. Wear layers for variable coastal weather. Bring lunch and liquids. Since we will not finish the trip where we start it would be best to make carpool arrangements with that in mind. 

 

North Beach/Telegraph Hill, San Francisco
Sunday, September 13, 8 – 9:30 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. 

 

Vaux’s Swifts at McNear Brickyard, Marin County
Monday, September 14, 6 – 8 p.m.
Rusty Scalf, rscalf@sonic.net

Vaux’s Swifts migrate south along the Pacific Flyway each fall, and one of their few known stopping points in Northern California is the McNear Brickyard in San Rafael. At sunset on many September and October evenings, as many as 19,000 swifts mass and fly into the tall brickyard chimneys to spend the night.  It’s an unforgettable sight! GGAS instructor Rusty Scalf discovered this overnight roost several years ago and now works with other volunteers monitoring the numbers of roosting swifts. Click here to read and view photos of the 2014 swift season at McNear on our blog.

To respect both the swifts and the McNear property owners, this trip is limited to 40 people. Click here to register online. (The trip is free but registration is required.) We are offering a similar field trip on September 4 and 25; please sign up for only ONE trip. Carpooling is strongly encouraged since there is very little parking.

We will send you directions by email about a week before the trip. Keep in mind that the number of swifts varies greatly from night to night and can range from a few hundred to over 10,000. Like everything else in birding, there are no guarantees!

 

Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, Oakland
Wednesday, September 16, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
(Third Wednesday bird walk)
Penn Hughes, penn.hughes@att.net or (510) 499-5491 for messages.

Fall migration of shore birds, ducks, terns, gulls, pelicans, passing passerines. GPS or take I-880 to 7th Street exit, left onto 7th at the bottom of the freeway interchange exit ramp. (Alternately, drive to West Oakland Post Office, the big one, and keep going on 7th to the same freeway interchange.) Continue on 7th Street, through the port area. 1 mile from the interchange, at a stoplight, the street name changes to Middle Harbor Road where 7th Street turns right. Middle Harbor Park may be reached from 7th Street (left turn) or from Middle Harbor Road (right turn). Meet at LEFT parking lot in Middle Harbor Park (near the Naturalist’s trailer). Many restrooms. Please, no dogs. Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/ZnpWv. For more information, please visit the Port of Oakland website http://www.portofoakland.com/community/

Note: Starting with June 2015, all of Penn’s Audubon walks are reported on eBird.   

 

Corona Heights, San Francisco
Friday, September 18, 8 – 10 a.m.
(Third Friday bird walk)
Brian Fitch; Dominik Mosur, polskatata@yahoo.com (Leaders vary by month.)

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. The leaders emphasize birding by ear and the minimal use of binoculars.

Meet in front of the original Randall Museum building, 199 Museum Way, at the end of Museum Way off Roosevelt. Gather at the SE corner of the facility. Although the Randall has temporarily moved to new quarters during renovation, this monthly walk will continue to meet at the Museum Way location. Google map: http://goo.gl/maps/CZNlr

 

Aquatic Park and Waterfront, San Francisco
Saturday, September 19, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
Carlo Arreglo, carlo_arreglo@nps.gov

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.

 

Coyote Point, San Mateo
Saturday, Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Martha Wessitsh, (415)681-8059, cell: (415)533-4470, martha@wessitsh.com

We should see incoming shore birds and land birds also. Take Hwy. 101 south to San Mateo. Take the Poplar Ave. Exit. Turn right on Humboldt to Peninsula. Turn right on Peninsula. Go over the freeway, stay straight at the light and you will be on Coyote Point Drive. There is a $ 5:00 entrance fee but if you get there early, or tell the attendant that you are going to the yacht harbor you may not have to pay. Alternate route (the way I go): South on 280 to Trousdale, left on Trousdale to El Camino Real, right on El Camino to Peninsula then left and straight on as stated above. Meet at the parking lot next to the museum. Restrooms are available.

 

Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
Sunday, September 20, 8 – 10 a.m.
(Third Sunday bird walk)
David Assmann,
David_Assmann@Yahoo.com

Meet in front of the Community Garden to explore several different habitats in this compact part of GGNRA. Migration should be in full swing, with flycatchers, vireos, warblers and sparrows coming through.  The garden should have a variety of land birds, and there may be flycatchers, vireos and sparrows in the Battery. We’ll scan Aquatic Park for water birds and rocky shorebirds.   Restroom in meadow, ample parking if there is no race on the waterfront (also easily accessible by transit). Google Map: http://goo.gl/maps/RKZwU

 

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
Wednesday, September 23, 9:30 a.m. – noon
(Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
Hilary Powers, 510.834.1066, hilary@powersedit.com; Ruth Tobey, 510.528.2093, ruthtobey@gmail.com

Things will be heating up at the lake. The winter migration generally starts in late September and is in full swing by late October, with at least a few representatives of most of the visiting species on hand. Diving ducks from the Arctic, practically underfoot – oh my!

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.

 

Vaux’s Swifts at McNear Brickyard, Marin County
Friday, September 25, 5:45 – 7:30 p.m.

Michael Helm, cecinit2007@gmail.com

NOTE: This trip is now FULL. You may register to be on a waiting lost in case of cancellations.

Vaux’s Swifts migrate south along the Pacific Flyway each fall, and one of their few known stopping points in Northern California is the McNear Brickyard in San Rafael. At sunset on many September and October evenings, as many as 19,000 swifts mass and fly into the tall brickyard chimneys to spend the night.  It’s an unforgettable sight! GGAS instructor Rusty Scalf discovered this overnight roost several years ago. Michael Helm works with Rusty and other volunteers monitoring the numbers of roosting swifts. Click here to read and view photos of the 2014 swift season at McNear on our blog.

To respect both the swifts and the McNear property owners, this trip is limited to 40 people. Click here to register online. (The trip is free but registration is required.) We are offering a similar field trip on September 4 and 14; please sign up for only ONE trip. Carpooling is strongly encouraged since there is very little parking.

We will send you directions and parking instructions by email about a week before the trip. Keep in mind that the number of swifts varies greatly from night to night, and can range from a few hundred to over 10,000. Like everything else in birding, there are no guarantees!

 

 

 

Further Out

Brooks Island, Contra Costa County
Sunday, October 11, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Dolphin Charters/EBRPD, (888) 327-2757, option 2, Course #10923
Registration through EBRPD only using the number above 

We’re pleased to offer this special trip to Brooks Island in conjunction with Dolphin Charters and the East Bay Regional Park District. The trip will begin with a relaxed boat ride aboard Delphinus from the Berkeley Marina to Brooks Island. Participants will be ferried (by skiff) to the island to enjoy a naturalist-guided, two-mile hike around this beautiful preserve. We should see lots of fall/winter shorebirds and other migrants, along with the interesting flora and geology of Brooks. And of course, wonderful views of the Bay. Hot coffee, hot chocolate, and tea are provided. Bring your own lunch.

The hike isn’t hard and the trail is pretty well maintained but there are one or two loose rocky areas on a slope.  Most of the hike is on flat ground. People are welcome to bring walking/hiking poles. However, the trip is not suitable for mobility-impaired folks.

The cost is $72 per person for residents of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties; $80 for non-residents.

Registration is through EBRPD only at (888) 327-2757, option 2. Tell the reservations clerk that you want to sign up for Course #10923. Please don’t call GGAS to register for this trip. More information and directions to the marina are available at Brooks Island boat trip info.

NOTE: As of August 14, this trip is FULL. You may contact EBRPD to find out about joining a waiting list.

IMPORTANT: Please download the EBRPD liability release form and bring it with you: Brooks Island boat trip waiver.

Questions about the trip? Contact Rose Schwarz at EBRPD, (510) 544-2557 Please don’t contact GGAS with questions; we don’t have the details.

For more information about Brooks Island in general, see the EBRPD website. You can also view a short video made several years ago by TV journalist Doug McConnell.

 

Birds of the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays
Cruise with Dolphin Charters
Saturday, November 21, 8:45 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
David Assmann, leader

San Francisco Bay, the largest and one of the most important estuaries along the Pacific Flyway, is right in our own backyard.  Join us as we cruise from Berkeley toward the Golden Gate Bridge and north into San Pablo Bay, hugging the shorelines and waters that are home to thousands of wintering birds.

Leaving from Berkeley, we will proceed along the old Berkeley ferry pier to see what’s shaking, turn north and head over to Southhampton Shoal, and then on to the Richmond Inner Harbor and Brooks Island and its breakwater. Leaving this area we’ll travel to Red Rock before passing under the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge and our views of East and West Brothers Islands. This trip offers water bird and marine mammal viewing in stunning locations, many of which can only be seen by boat.  In addition to the many ducks, loons, pelicans and gulls that come into the Bay for the winter, we can also expect to see resident cormorants, grebes, terns and murres.

Dress in layers. Bring liquids and lunch. Trip is limited to 29 people.

Cost is $85 for GGAS members and $95 for non-members.

Click here to register online. Once the trip is full, there will be a waiting list in case there are cancellations.

Depart and return: Berkeley Marina (Directions and trip details will be emailed to registered participants about two weeks before the trip).

 

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.

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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.

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/.

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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.