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

June 1st, 2018

The GGAS Centennial Exhibit is moving to Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont

The exhibit will be on public view at the Coyote Hills Visitor Center beginning July 18

August 2018 


Hilltop Lake Park, Richmond
Wednesday, August 15, 9:00 — 10:45 a.m.
Cathy Bleier, 510-414-5719 (cell); csbleier@sbcglobal.net.

Easy, flat 0.75 mile walk around Hilltop Lake in Richmond.  Freshwater pond surrounded by willows, cattails, and native and ornamental trees and shrubs.    Let’s see what August brings back or sends on its way.  Gallinule and Coot chicks last week and lots of juveniles (Mallards, Hooded Orioles, Bewick’s Wrens, Scrubjays and White-crowned Sparrows).   Check out ebird bar chart for this location at https://ebird.org/barchart?r=L1405454&yr=all&m=.

If you’re coming from Highway 80, go west on Richmond Parkway exit; if coming from San Pablo Avenue, go east on Richmond Parkway. Turn on to Lakeside Drive by the YMCA and enter into their parking lot (first driveway on left). Follow the arrows  down to lower parking lot (parts of the lot are one-way), then up again and turn left to the far end of the lot at the entrance to the park.  Carpool OR COME A LITTLE EARLY, since this lot is getting busy (if full, try the lot above/immediately left when leaving the Y). Please bring binoculars. THERE IS NO BATHROOM AT THIS SITE; YOU CAN TRY CHEVRON AT BLUME AND RICHMOND PARKWAY, JUST WEST OF THE FREEWAY EXIT. Please keep valuables out of sight, since there have occasionally been car break-ins. Heavy rain cancels. Feel free to call or email any questions.


 The Third Wednesday bird walk is on vacation


Corona Heights, San Francisco
Friday, August 17, 8:00 — 10:00 a.m.
(Third Friday bird walk)

Sarah Burton, burtosarah@gmail.com

Spring migration along the Pacific Flyway brought a variety of species to Corona Heights – flycatchers, pewees, swifts, and rufous hummingbirds. For resident species, spring brought opportunities to complete another nesting cycle. This month, while we wait for fall migrants to appear on the hill, the focus will be on late nesting activity and resident bird song. Fledglings present a fun identification challenge and birding by ear is a great way to access the hobby so come on the walk even if you don’t have binoculars 

Trails are stable but steep and many require navigating dirt paths with box step staircases. Come for the walk and visit the new remodeled Randall Museum afterward. Free parking is available and transit options are good, with a bus along Roosevelt Way and MUNI trains just below on Market Street. Heavy rain cancels. Meet at the Randall Museum entrance gate (map) with layers and your best ear.


Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
Sunday, August 19, 8:00 — 10:00 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. The focus will be looking for early migrants. The garden and the battery could have Orioles, Warblers, Tanagers, and Flycatchers. We’ll also scan Aquatic Park for shorebirds and water birds. Restroom in meadow, ample parking if there is no race on the waterfront (also easily accessible by transit). Heavy rain cancels. http://goo.gl/maps/RKZwU 


Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
Wednesday, August 22, 9:30 a.m. – noon
(Fourth Wednesday bird walk)

Ruth Tobey, 510.717.3264, ruthtobey@gmail.com; Hilary Powers, hilary@powersedit.com

August is a quiet month at the lake – but there will be birds to see, and very good looks at the ones that show up!

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.


Abbott’s Lagoon, Pt. Reyes National Seashore
Saturday, August 25, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
(This walk repeats on 8/26 as a Marin Audubon event)

Rusty Scalf, 510-495-5837, rscalf@sonic.net

We will bird the coastal scrub, lagoons, and ocean. We hope to find migrant shorebirds and resident Snowy Plovers. Abbott’s Lagoon has historically been good for Baird’s Sandpiper and we may get lucky. Meet at 9 am at the Abbott’s Lagoon parking lot (bathrooms but no water). Bring scope, liquids, lunch.  Plan on walking 4 miles round-trip; relatively flat but trail consists partially of sand. Prepare for wind.

Using Google Maps, type in Abbotts Lagoon Trailhead or click on the link: https://goo.gl/maps/MLdysDAEN5y.
Using Mapquest, 4101 Pierce Point Rd, Inverness, CA
The National Seashore map: https://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/maps.htm


Snag Lake Backpack Trip, Lassen Volcanic National Park
Friday – Monday, August 24-27

Robin Pulich; David Rice, drice2@comcast.net

On this annual camping and birding trip to Lassen, we will backpack 3 miles to Snag Lake and spend three nights in primitive camping by a stream near a large meadow. We should see flocks of mixed warblers and other songbirds, plus resident birds of the mountains, Bald Eagles, and migrating shorebirds. We will be above 6,000 feet. To avoid impact on the fragile habitat, the trip is limited to 12 people. Participants are responsible for their own gear and food. Contact David Rice to reserve a space; put “GGAS trip” in the subject line.


Biking and Birding; San Leandro Bay and Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline, Alameda County
Sunday, August 26, 8 a.m. — 12 p.m.

Kevin Schwartz, kdschwartz@ucdavis.edu, 510-299-2337
Steve Lombardi – hotrock175@gmail.com, cell 925/785-0130

Limited to 10 participants-first come first served-RSVP to Kevin by email to sign up.

What’s better than combining two of our favorite things, biking and birding? Sharing it with new and old friends. Often the best birding spots in the SF Bay Area are a few miles apart and only accessible by trail. Or maybe 4-5 miles out on the SF Bay Trail and quite a haul if hiking. Walking could take an hour or two but biking maybe 5 minutes. We sometimes see and hear more and definitely cover more ground. Please, join us for one of our favorite biking and birding spots the Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline and San Leandro Bay.

California Ridgway’s Rail, a federally endangered species, find a year-round happy home at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline. We have heard up to 9 different individuals in one visit and if we are lucky, we may see one probing the mud for a mussel, crab, or clam. Or maybe one teaching its young of the year how to navigate the mud and dense cordgrass. Shorebirds will also be back for the winter or migrating through. Maybe we’ll have some surprises. One time an Australian Budgerigar was even seen near the entrance!

We will bike up to 20 miles. Helmets are required for participation. The meeting spot will be accessible from BART to encourage use of public transit, bicycling, and decreasing our carbon footprint. The meeting spot and other trip details will be sent to confirmed participants. Email Kevin to sign up.


Pelagic trips, including the Farallons

We’re listing these links to opportunities for seabirding, for your convenience.

Please contact them directly for more information, cost and reservations.

Debi Shearwater and Alvaro Jaramillo both lead outstanding trips and bring experienced sea-birders along as spotters. Their trips leave from a variety of ports, including Monterey (with the submarine canyon in Monterey Bay)

Alvaro’s Adventures

Alvaro Jaramillo   www.alvarosadventures.com
email: alvaro@alvarosadventures.com
Good dates for Farallons: August 11 and 12.
These Farallon trips leave from Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay.


Shearwater Journeys

Debi Shearwater     www.shearwaterjourneys.com
email: debi@shearwaterjourneys.com
Good dates for Farallons: August 5 and 12.


Whalewatching trips that include the Farallons

For either of these, look at the biographical sketches of the guides and then call and ask which trips have guides who are enthusiastic about birds as well as marine mammals.

These trips leave from Sausalito and San Francisco.

Oceanic Society

follow the links for Whalewatching and then Farallons
Contact link has phone numbers.
Good dates for Farallons: August 5 and 12.



GGAS Is Looking For New Field Trip Leaders

If you’re a birder and have favorite spots that you would like to share, please consider joining our cadre of volunteer field trip leaders.

It might sound a little scary (“Who me? I can’t lead a field trip.”) but it’s really fun and quite easy.

We’re planning some training walks.  We’ll help you write trip descriptions and find background resources on the places you love to go birding.

And you don’t need to be able to identify every bird. You’ll be successful by organizing an enjoyable walk at an interesting location.

Need a coach? If you’d like a mentor, we’ll match you up with an experienced field trip leader.

If you’re interested (even if you’re maybe a little interested, but also a little nervous) contact
Maureen Lahiff, adult education committee chair, 510.484.6529MLahiff@aol.com or our field trip coordinator, Steve Lombardi, hotrock175@gmail.com