Field Trips

September 29th, 2014
 
North Beach/Telegraph, San Francisco

Sunday, November 23, 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.

 

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
Wednesday, November 26, 9:30 a.m. – noon
Hilary Powers, 510.834.1066, hilary@powersedit.com; Ruth Tobey, 510.528.2093, ruthtobey@gmail.com 

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.

Take the 12, N, or NL bus to Grand and Perkins, and walk into the park on Perkins. Best parking is at the boathouse lot near the spherical cage. Entry, via Bellevue near Children’s Fairyland, is $2 if the kiosk is occupied when you arrive (which it probably will be). Buy a 2-hour ticket and try to park in the boathouse lot, where no one checks how long cars are parked.

 

Chain of Lakes and Environs, Golden Gate Park
Saturday, November 29, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Martha Wessitsh, (415)681-8059: cell: (415)533-4470, martha@wessitsh.com

Meet at the parking lot between Middle and South Lakes in Golden Gate Park, Chain of Lakes Drive. If the parking lot is full, (I don’t know whether there is another event going on), there is parking along John F. Kennedy Drive and at North Lake also. We will see land birds, hopefully ducks and maybe some other goodies on the ponds. Restrooms are available and there is not much walking involved. Heavy rain cancels. 

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland
Garretson Point to Arrowhead Marsh and back
Sunday, November 30, 9:00 am- 12:30 pm
Maureen Lahiff, MLahiff@aol.com, 510.484.6529 

We’ll meet at Garretson Point and work our way towards Arrowhead Marsh. By the end of November, hundreds of wintering shorebirds will have arrived. The male ducks will be starting to show their fine courting plumage. A teal trifecta is possible, along with Pintails, Northern Shovelers, and American Wigeon, if we’ve been blessed with rains to create good habitat. Many diving ducks also winter here, including scaup, Common Goldeneye, and Ruddy Ducks. So do five species of grebes. Resident Blacknecked Stilts, Double-crested Cormorants, egrets, and Great Blue Herons will be feeding and hanging out, along with Brown Pelicans. We may hear the Ridgway’s Rails at Arrowhead Marsh.

This is a great place to see many of these birds fairly close up, and a rewarding place to bird for both beginners and experienced folks. It’s a great place for families, as they can easily leave the trip at any time the kids (or adults) have had enough for the day.

We’ll walk a total of about 3 miles on paved, level pathway, watching out for the runners and bicyclists. There are restrooms and water available near Garretson Point and at Arrowhead Marsh. The parking lot at Garretson Point is reached from Edgewater Drive off Hegenberger Road. From I-880, take Hegenberger towards the Oakland Airport. If you are coming from I-880, turn right on Edgewater and drive to the end. Google Maps link:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zPaCuZBhQ8Xk.kPW-VKGrXma0

 

December

 
Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont
Saturday, December 6, 9:00 am – Noon
Maureen Lahiff, MLahiff@aol.com, 510.484.6529 

Coyote Hills is a favorite birding site because of its variety of habitats – marsh, grasslands, and the trees of Hoot Hollow. We’ll see Northern Harriers and wintering ducks, even if the marshes are dry. We’ll stop by the Nectar Garden at the Visitor’s Center at the end of our walk. We’ll walk about 3 miles on mostly flat, unpaved trails. Birders of all levels welcome; Coyote Hills can be rewarding for beginners. Meet near the parking area adjacent to the Visitors Center (at the end of the park entrance road).

Directions: From I-880, take Highway 84 west (signed for Dumbarton Bridge), exit at Paseo Padre Parkway, turn right, and drive north about one mile. Turn left on Patterson Ranch Road and drive to the parking lot at the end. Parking fee, if you don’t have an East Bay Regional Parks annual pass, is $5 per vehicle.

Water is available and there are restrooms at the Visitor’s Center. There are nice picnic areas if you’d like to bring your lunch.

 

San Francisco Botanical Garden
(First Sunday bird walk)
Sunday, December 7, 8 – 10:30 a.m.
Dominik Mosur, polskatata@yahoo.com; Allan Ridley, allanrid@pacbell.net; Helen McKenna, 415.566.3241; Ginny Marshall, ginnybirder@sbcglobal.net; Kimberly Jannarone, kmj@ucsc.edu; Robert Cullison, robbo50@sbcglobal.net. (Leaders vary by month.)

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

 

Corona Heights, San Francisco
(Third Friday bird walk)
Friday, December 19, 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 

 

Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
(Third Sunday bird walk)
Sunday, December 21, 8 – 10 am

David Assmann, David_Assmann@Yahoo.com

Meet in front of the Community Garden to explore several different habitats in this compact part of GGNRA. The garden should have a variety of land birds. We’ll scan Aquatic Park for water birds.   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, December 24, 9:30 a.m. – noon
Hilary Powers, 510.834.1066, hilary@powersedit.com; Ruth Tobey, 510.528.2093, ruthtobey@gmail.com 

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.

Take the 12, N, or NL bus to Grand and Perkins, and walk into the park on Perkins. Best parking is at the boathouse lot near the spherical cage. Entry, via Bellevue near Children’s Fairyland, is $2 if the kiosk is occupied when you arrive (which it probably will be). Buy a 2-hour ticket and try to park in the boathouse lot, where no one checks how long cars are parked.

 

Beyond…

 
Yosemite National Park
Friday-Sunday, May 29 – 31, 2015
Dave Quady, (510) 704-9353 or davequady@att.net, and Dave Cornman. 

The lower and middle elevations of Yosemite National Park are alive with singing birds in late May/early June. Varied habitats on the west side of the park support a rich diversity of bird life, typically including seven flycatchers (three Empidonax), seven warblers, three vireos, and many other species in full song and breeding plumage. How did 2013’s Rim Fire affect the area’s bird life? Let’s try to find out.

This trip is limited to 20 participants; sign-ups begin at noon on November 17 – by email to davequady@att.net only, please. Past participants have found it convenient to camp at Hodgdon Meadow in the park (reservation period opens January 15; campground fills up very fast), or to stay in campgrounds or commercial lodgings outside the park’s Big Oak Flat entrance. Details, including meeting times and locations and lodging suggestions, will be provided to confirmed participants. Carpooling encouraged.

Participants should bring warm clothes, rainwear, and waterproof boots for wet meadows. Bring lunches for Saturday and Sunday and be prepared to walk about three miles each day.

 

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 whale-watching and seabird-watching trips to the Farallon Islands every Saturday and Sunday from May through November.  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.

Oceanic Society guides with particular expertise in birding will be guiding the following trips:

Susan Sherman –  November 9, 29

David Wimpfheimer – November 1

Roger Harris – November 2

 

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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.

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 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. For his current calendar, click here. There is also a Meetup page that lists birding walks and events throughout the Bay Area: www.meetup.com/Bay-Area-Birding/.