Upcoming Field Trips

Golden Gate Audubon offers more than 100 field trips annually for birders of all levels. Our trips explore local areas from Golden Gate Park to the East Bay shoreline and hills, as well as such wildlife-rich destinations as California’s Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada.

We also sponsor trips to other parts of the U.S. and to international destinations, including Latin America, Africa, and Australia. Field trips are led by experienced birders who are passionate in sharing their knowledge of birds and their habitats. See our Travel with GGAS page for upcoming travel opportunities.  

Local trips are free, except for any park entrance fees. Advance reservations may be necessary. It is advisable to confirm with the trip leader that a trip will take place as planned, especially if inclement weather is expected. Reports of recent and past field trips are on these pages.

For questions about individual field trips, contact the leaders. If you cannot reach a leader, contact 510-843-2222 or email volunteer@goldengateaudubon.org.

We encourage people to share rides to field trips! See the bottom of this page for information about our friendly, easy-to-use GGAS carpool group.



Field Trips

December 1st, 2017

Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont, Alameda County
Friday, December 8, 8:30 a.m. – noon
(Second Friday bird walk)
Maureen Lahiff, MLahiff@aol.com, 510.484.6529 (leaders vary by month)

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, waterbirds, and some shorebirds, 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 exit 21, 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; the entry kiosk takes cash and credit cards. Water is available and there are restrooms at the Visitor’s Center. Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/xdRHGZi62GS2


This walk moved to the second Sunday this month only:

Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
Sunday, December 10, 8:00 — 10:00 a.m.
(Usually the Third Sunday bird walk, but this month the second Sunday)
David Assmann, david_assmann@yahoo.com

Meet in front of the Community Garden to explore several different habitats in this compact part of GGNRA. This will be the beginning of winter, which means all our wintering species should be present, and the species count can be as high as 50.  We’ll explore Aquatic Park for Red-Breasted Mergansers and other ducks, grebes and loons.  We’ll also look for Wandering Tattlers and Black Turnstones on the shore. The garden and the Battery should have a variety of land birds, including warblers, thrushes, woodpeckers and sparrows. With a little luck, the Orchard Oriole will still be present. Restroom in meadow, ample parking if there is no race on the waterfront (also easily accessible by transit). Heavy rain cancels Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/v8etgWCoSyJ2


Hilltop Lake Park, Richmond
Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 9:00am-10:45 

Cathy Bleier, 510-414-5719 (cell), csbleier@sbcglobal.net.

Join me for my monthly walk at Hilltop Lake.   Easy, flat 0.75 mile walk around Hilltop Lake in Richmond.   Freshwater pond surrounded by willows, cattails, and native and ornamental trees and shrubs.  Ducks are back.  We’re up to 111 species for this site; check out ebird bar chart at: http://ebird.org/ebird/barchart?byr=1900&eyr=2017&bmo=1&emo=12&r=L1405454.  If you’re coming from Highway 80, take Richmond Parkway exit west, turn on to Lakeside Drive by the Hilltop YMCA and then take first left into the YMCA parking lot.   Follow the parking lot arrows  down to lower lot, up again and left to the end of the lot at the entrance to the park.   Please bring binoculars.    Also, despite heavy daily use  by Y patrons (including me!), there have been occasional break-ins, so please don’t leave valuables in sight.  NO RESTROOM AVAILABLE AT THIS SITE.  Heavy rains cancel; call if you’re not sure.


Corona Heights, San Francisco
Friday, December 15, 8 — 10 a.m.
(Third Friday bird walk)
Brian Fitch, fogeggs@gmail.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. Change due to parking lot closure: Meet on Museum Way, outside of the closed Randall Museum parking area. Those who drive to the event should park on Roosevelt Way and walk the short distance down Museum Way. 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: https://goo.gl/maps/nji7XAvpnbM2


The Third Sunday walk at Ft. Mason has been moved to the second Sunday this month only. (See above, December 10.)


Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland
Wednesday December 20, 8:30 — 10:30 a.m.
(Third Wednesday Bird Walk)
Penn Hughes, pennhughes@gmail.com or (510) 499-5491 for messages.

The address of MLK Regional Shoreline is on Edgewater, but don’t park there. Take Hegenberger Road toward Oakland International Airport. Turn right on Doolittle. Turn right again at first traffic light, Swan Way. Then take the first left. Drive straight ahead, and follow the road curving to the right and then the left into ­the parking lot near a large brown structure. Walk to the other end of the parking lot (away from where you drove in), and we will meet there overlooking Arrowhead Slough. Results of the bird walk will be reported on eBird. Include your email when you sign in on-site if you want to see the eBird report. You can tweak it for what you remember that I don’t! Rest rooms available. Please, no dogs.


 Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
Wednesday, December 27, 9:30 a.m. – noon
(Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
Ruth Tobey, 510.717.3264, ruthtobey@gmail.com; Hilary Powers, hilary@powersedit.com

December is the peak of the winter season: all the migrants have arrived and none have left, and we have a chance at a few exciting vagrants too.

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.


Further Out


A Winter Day at the Salton Sea
Saturday, January 13, 2018,  from 9 a.m – 4 p.m.

Eddie Bartley, eddie@naturetrip.com

Join Eddie Bartley and Noreen Weeden at one of California’s premiere birding destinations for an exploration of the wonderfully eccentric Salton Sea. Winter birds expected include most of the water birds seen at other California refuges and also southern specialties like Gambel’s Quail, Verdin, Abert’s Towhee, and Black-tailed Gnatcatcher. Ducks, grebes and shorebirds are abundant. The Salton Sea is typically warmer than Central and Northern California refuges. Raptors, especially falcons, are common and the area has one of the highest density of American Kestrels in winter in California. A robust Burrowing Owl population resides in this area, and winter rarities are not uncommon.

While this field trip is one day, we recommend you take a three-day (or more) stay to enjoy the area. The Saturday field trip will begin near the northeast section of the Salton Sea, continue down the eastern shore, and end the day at the south end of the Sea. Nearest quality lodging options are in Brawley, CA. There are very few services along the route. Participants should arrive with enough fuel for the day (~100 miles – car pooling encouraged), lunch, beverages and snacks, warm clothes, rainwear and boots (wet conditions =mud). Be prepared to walk about two miles on flat terrain throughout the day. Inclement weather cancels.

This trip is free but RSVP required. Click here to sign up. Limited to 20 participants. If the trip is full, you may register to be on the waiting list.


Yosemite’s Bird Life, Yosemite National Park
Friday-Sunday, May 18-20, 2018

Dave Quady, (510) 704-9353 or davequady@att.net, and Dave Cornman.

For decades, GGAS’s field trip to the lower and middle elevations of Yosemite National Park’s west side has been held on the weekend after Memorial Day. In a bow to climate change, and as an experiment, the 2018 field trip will be held two weeks earlier – on the weekend before Memorial Day. How will bird activity differ from past years? What will the weather be like? How will another year of re-growth have changed conditions in two major firescapes – from the two 2014 Foresta-area fires, and from 2013’s huge Rim Fire? Let’s see what we can learn.

This trip is limited to 20 participants. Sign-ups begin at noon on Wednesday, December 13 – by email only to davequady@att.net, please. Past participants have found it convenient to camp at Hodgdon Meadow in the park (reservations open 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.