Upcoming Field Trips

Golden Gate Audubon offers more than 175 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.

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

Our free field trips are just one of the many ways that Golden Gate Audubon connects people with our local birds. For over 100 years we have been providing critical environmental education, conservation and habitat restoration (currently at 8 Bay Area sites). Our work is supported solely through the commitment of local members, volunteers, and donors. We receive no portion of National Audubon dues. If you are not currently a member, please consider joining now. You can be part of our vital community for as little as $35. It’s quick and easy to sign up on our membership page.

We encourage people to share rides to field trips!


Field Trips

June 1st, 2018

October 2018

 Corona Heights, San Francisco
Friday, October 19, 8:00 — 10:00 a.m.
(Third Friday bird walk)
Sarah Burton, burtosarah@gmail.com, cell (415) 318-6271

Fall migration is underway, so this month on the hill we will focus on late nesting activity, resident species, and fall migrants. Possible species include: migrating raptors, flycatchers, warblers, orioles, and tanagers.

Meet at the Randall Museum entrance gate (map). Trails are stable but steep and many require navigating dirt paths with box step staircases. Come for the walk and stay for the newly remodeled Randall Museum and Café Josephine. 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.


Friday, October 19, 8:00 a.m. — noon
Hayward Regional Shoreline Biking and Birding, Alameda County
Limited to 15 participants-first come first served-RSVP to Kevin
Kevin Schwartz, kdschwartz@ucdavis.edu, 510-299-2337

With 362 species seen at the Hayward Regional Shoreline eBird Hot Spot, it is the 5th most diverse Hot Spot in the United States. And, it is right here in our own backyard! The best way to explore the 20 miles of flat trails at the Hayward Regional Shoreline is, of course, by bicycle. Some of the best spots are miles apart, but an easy ride in 5-10 minutes on bicycle rather than 1 hour+ walking. This is the second in our recent series of biking and birding. Our last trip to MLK Regional Shoreline was very successful, seeing or hearing 14 Ridgway’s Rails and an additional 49 species.

Shorebirds will be back for the winter or migrating through and this will be a good opportunity to catch some vagrants or maybe some migrating warblers still coming through. We may see some early waterfowl and gulls migrating through or coming back for the winter, too. Hayward Regional Shoreline often has great surprises.

We will bike up to 20 miles. Helmets are required for participation. Some of the paths are paved, but we will also be on level, well graded dirt paths. The paths are suitable for bikes with (thin) road tires, although there are a few short gravelly sections. Once we have the final list, I will send more details on the meeting location. The tides will be perfect for our timeframe so we can see the shorebirds well and still start early to, hopefully, catch some song birds:



Las Gallinas Storage Pond Walk, San Rafael
Saturday, October 20, 8:00 — 11:00 a.m.
Miya Lucas, wunds4me@gmail.com and Wendy Beers, docwlb@gmail.com

We’ll plan on walking around the settling ponds, as well as walking out to the marshes in hopes of hearing and even possibly seeing the Ridgway’s Rails. One never knows what you might see or hear, but it’s also a good place to find Green Herons and look at all the different ducks migrating through. There are usually Northern Harriers and White-tailed Kites working the meadows or flying over the ponds. You’ll be able to hear the Marsh Wrens as they continue to sing year around. The fall migration has started so we hope to see some shorebirds and lots of ducks.

The temperature varies this time of year, it may be sunny and hot, so wear sunscreen and a hat or it may be cold, windy and foggy so dress in layers. It will be a leisurely and level stroll, suitable for all levels. Port-a-potty at the parking lot. Meet at the parking lot at the end of Smith Ranch Road in San Rafael 38°01’38.7″N 122°30’56.1″W in Google Maps. Rain cancels.


Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
Sunday, October 21, 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. Although fall migration will be almost done, there could still be  flycatchers, vireos, warblers and sparrows coming through.  The garden should have a variety of land birds, and there may still be flycatchers, vireos and sparrows in the Battery. This is the time for surprise birds (last year it was an Orchard Oriole).  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). Heavy rain cancels. http://goo.gl/maps/RKZwU 


Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, Oakland
Sunday, October 21, noon — 3:00 p.m. (because of tides)
Megan Jankowski, mindfuldocumentation@gmail.com, 415-515-0732 cell 

Meet near the mast of the USS Oakland for a leisurely walk focusing on shorebirds, grebes, ducks, and gulls. We will begin about an hour after high tide to maximize shorebird activity. Walking is mostly on paved paths with a short section of sand. Restrooms are at the parking lot and also further on in the walk at the observation tower. Scopes are very beneficial at this location and appreciated. Google Maps link:  https://goo.gl/maps/pJkxjRNcjEF2. The official address for the park is 2777 Middle Harbor Rd, Oakland, CA 94607, at the intersection of Middle Harbor and 7th St. in West Oakland. For more information, please visit the Port of Oakland website: https://www.portofoakland.com/port/seaport/middle-harbor/


Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont
Sunday, October 21, 8:00 am – 11:30 pm
Maureen Lahiff, MLahiff@aol.com, 510.484.6529 

This favorite birding site and popular East Bay Regional Park has a wide variety of habitats – marsh, grasslands, and the trees of Hoot Hollow. The marshes should have water! We’ll see a number of raptors, wintering shorebirds and ducks and sparrows, and Great-tailed Grackles, who are a relatively new bird at this site. The Burrowing Owl may have returned to its favorite spot.

We’ll walk about 3 miles on mostly flat, unpaved trails. We’ll stop by the Nectar Garden at the Visitor’s Center at the end of our trip; its water fountains attract birds. Birders of all levels welcome; Coyote Hills can be rewarding for beginners. Meet in the parking area adjacent to the Visitors Center (at the end of the park entrance road).

Directions: From I-880, take exit 21, Decoto Road, Highway 84 west (signed for Dumbarton Bridge). Then 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. Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/PbQFdcDdLmG2

Drinking water is available. There are chemical toilets, and the Visitor’s Center will be open at the end of our trip.

Coyote Hills was featured on the GGAS blog in September 2015:



MLK Regional Shoreline, Oakland
Tuesday, October 23, 8:00 — 10:30 a.m.
Sharol Nelson-Embry, snenaturewriter@gmail.com, (510) 851-1341

We’ll be walking the New Marsh Loop trail looking for shorebirds, ducks, and maybe some resident CA Ridgeway Rails, an endangered species, and other wonderful birds along the way. The trail is paved and flat, approx. 2 miles round trip. Meet at the Arrowhead Marsh parking lot near restrooms. Enter the park off Swan Way, make a left into the park driveway, and drive all the way into the furthest parking lot. Results will be posted on eBird; include your email when you sign in on-site if you’d like to see the eBird report.



Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
Wednesday, October 24, 9:30 a.m. – noon
(Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
Ruth Tobey, 510.717.3264, ruthtobey@gmail.com; Hilary Powers, hilary@powersedit.com

The high season is starting at Lake Merritt! Come see the first of the winter arrivals.

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.


Hilltop Lake Park, Richmond
Wednesday, October 24, 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.   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. I suggest coming a bit 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.


Meeker Slough, Richmond
Friday, October 26, 2:30 p.m.
Noreen Weeden nweeden@goldengateaudubon.org

We are inviting new and experienced Birding the Bay Trail Docents to a bird walk and talk.
RSVP is required to attend.
Beginners are welcome. No previous docent experience needed.
When – Friday October 26 at 2:30pm
Where – Meet at the parking lot at the end of Rydin Road in Richmond
RSVP(or questions) – nweeden@goldengateaudubon.org   RSVP is required to attend
Sandy Steinman will lead a walk along the Bay Trail toward Meeker Slough. This is a chance to see the shorebirds and waterbirds that have returned for the winter.  It is also an opportunity to meet with other Birding the Bay Trail Docents.  Also Noreen will be there and can provide docent materials and answer questions about the docent program. Wear your walking shoes and bring binoculars and a refillable water bottle and a spotting scope if you have one. There are restrooms at this location.

Hayward Shoreline, Alameda County
Sunday, October 28, 9:00 a.m.

Dawn Lemoine lemonbirder@gmail.com, 510-757-4727
Rusty Scalf
rscalf@sonic.net, (510) 495-5837

Meet at the East Bay Regional Park District parking lot at the VERY end of Winton Ave in Hayward, where we will leave some of our cars (don’t stop at the park office; continue through the gate and park in the lot that dead-ends at the trail). Those who leave cars will ride with others to the end of Grant Ave in San Leandro (a short, easy drive; maps will be provided). We will walk from the end of Grant to the end of Winton along the San Francisco Bay Trail, a distance of about 2.7 miles, looking for shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, and birds of the open water and open fields. Walking is on wide, flat, unpaved roads. Beginners welcome. Bring your binoculars and a scope, if you have one. Google Maps link to Winton Ave. meeting spot: https://goo.gl/maps/rxUBp. Vault toilet and water in the Winton parking lot.



 Planning ahead for November 

Waterfowl and Raptors at Tule Lake and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges, Klamath Basin, Northern California
Saturday, November 24, 2018 for Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge (9:00 am – 1:00 pm); and
Sunday, November 25, 2018 for Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge (9:00 am – 1:00 pm)
Rob Aramayo raramayo@garciaandassociates.com (415) 999-1544; Rebecca Carson rjspeyez@yahoo.com (415) 710-8486

Fall migration in the Klamath Basin! Situated at the junction of the Cascades and the Great Basin, the Klamath Basin is an ecologically diverse region that supports one of the largest concentrations of birds along the Pacific Flyway. The Klamath Basin supports more than a million migrating waterfowl and the largest concentration of wintering Bald Eagles in the continental US.

We have scheduled this trip for late November to capture both the large numbers of waterfowl which peak in early November and the large numbers of raptors that arrive in late fall to winter in the basin. We are focusing on the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges. These refuges are comprised of a mixture of flooded marsh, open lakes, leased agricultural lands, and upland habitats. As such there are ample opportunities to observe waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, and other marsh species. We will be concentrating our efforts on the auto tour routes within the refuges getting out to scope, observe, and photograph at appropriate locations. Most of the roads within the auto tour routes are graveled; nonetheless, access may be limited by mud, snow, or ice. Please bring scopes if you have them. Photography is encouraged.

We will meet at the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex Tule Lake Headquarters and Visitor Center at 4009 Hill Road, Tulelake, CA 96134 on both Saturday and Sunday. There will be no options for buying lunch or water along the auto tour routes, so please bring sufficient food and water for yourself and/or your party. Also remember to bring sunscreen, hat, or any other gear to protect you from the elements. The visitor center has restrooms.

Saturday, Day 1: Tule Lake NWR = offers 20 miles of auto tour routes (paved or graveled for year around access)

Sunday, Day 2: Lower Klamath NWR = offers 10 miles of auto tour routes (paved or graveled for year around access)

If you are interested, please sign up by emailing either Rob or Rebecca. A maximum of 20 people is suggested for each day’s bird trip. Please indicate if you will be attending Saturday and/or Sunday’s trip. Carpooling is recommended; please indicate your willingness to share your contact information regarding carpooling either as a driver or a passenger. Once we meet at the visitor’s center, there will be opportunities to arrange on-site carpools. Additionally, if you have any questions regarding the trip’s logistics, please email Rob or Rebecca. We will notify registered participates via email by Thursday, November 22 if the entire trip will be canceled due to extreme weather conditions.

We suggest lodging in Klamath Falls, OR, which is approximately 350 miles from Berkeley, and a 40-minute drive to the Visitor’s Center. Other birding opportunities in the region are presented in the “Klamath Basin Birding Trail” www.klamathbirdingtrails.com.


Special fee-based trip. This trip is full. Register to be on the waitlist.

Birds of the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays
Cruise with Dolphin Charters
Saturday, November 17, 8:45 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

GGAS Leader; Hilary Powers, hilary@salamanderfeltworks.com, Day of trip only, cell phone: 510-502-1093; All other times, please use this number: 510-834-1066

Registration: Register on line here.
Registration will close midnight Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Confirmed participants will be sent trip details and directions by email on Thursday.
For registration questions email ggas@goldengateaudubon.org or call 510-843-2222 during office hours – Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
After Thursday, call Hilary if you have questions or need to cancel.

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: $105 for GGAS members, $135 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 by the Thursday before the trip).


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