Photo by Ilana De Bare
The third Friday Corona Heights walk is taking July off and will return in August
Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, Richmond
Friday, July 19, 9:00 a.m.–noon
Cathy Bleier, 510-527-2327 or 510-414-5719 (cell) email@example.com
Walk 2.5–3 miles roundtrip along the east Bay Trail shoreline, tidal marshes, and sloughs. Though we’re still in the summer siesta, we’re likely to see a few ducks, resident and returning shorebirds, some passerines, hopefully a few raptors, and Ridgway Rail if we’re very lucky. We’ll have a rising tide for our walk (0 to 2.5 feet).
Bring binoculars. Take Central Avenue exit west off Hwy 580, turn north on Rydin Road, and park at the end on street or in parking lot (next to dog park). The lot fills up, so carpooling is helpful. There will be lots of weekend bikers along our walk, too. Meet right outside the northeast corner of dog park (where there are restrooms). Heavy rain cancels. Feel free to call or email any questions. Check out eBird bar charts for this site at https://ebird.org/barchart?r=L507756&yr=all&m=
Valle Vista Staging Area, Upper San Leandro Reservoir, Moraga
Saturday, July 20, 8:30–11:30 a.m.
Madeline Brane, firstname.lastname@example.org, cell (650) 235-5325;
Johan Langewis, email@example.com, cell (510) 541-1353
This EBMUD watershed land features a great variety of habitats: chaparral and scrub, grassland, pine-oak woodland, marsh, and the top of the reservoir. Likely birds include raptors, sparrows, California Thrasher, nuthatches, wrens, and the shy Wood Ducks. Walking is on hard-packed trails, with some gentle up- and downhill. There is a pit toilet at the staging area, but no drinking water.
We’ll be walking about 2 miles. Meet at the Valle Vista Staging Area parking lot. From CA-24, take exit 9, the Orinda-Moraga exit. Head toward Moraga. Go about 4.5 miles to the T intersection, then turn right onto Canyon Road. Go about 1 mile and turn left into the Valle Vista Staging Area parking lot. Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/XBCSo4xHjzq
Families with kids are encouraged. Moderate rain cancels. If in doubt, contact Madeline on the day of the walk.
Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
Sunday, July 21, 8:00–10:00 a.m.
(Third Sunday bird walk)
David Assmann, firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet in front of the Community Garden to explore several different habitats in this compact part of GGNRA. The focus will be looking for late-nesting birds and possibly some early migrating or dispersing birds. The garden will have a variety of landbirds, possibly including Hooded Orioles. We’ll also scan Aquatic Park for waterbirds. Restroom in meadow, ample parking if there is no race on the waterfront (also easily accessible by transit). Google Maps link: http://goo.gl/maps/RKZwU
Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
Wednesday, July 24, 9:30 a.m.–noon (Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
Ruth Tobey, 510.717.3264, email@example.com;
Hilary Powers, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the so-called quiet season (though hardly silent, with the molt migration in full flow), but there’ll be lots going on besides waddling geese. Come see if the cormorants have started another round of nesting, and whatever else is doing what to what at the lake.
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.
Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, Richmond
Saturday, July 27, 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Fred Werner, 510-610-1256 (cell), email@example.com.
One of the hottest hot-spots in the East Bay over the past 10 Julys is Point Pinole: https://ebird.org/barchart?r=L109308&yr=last10&m=7
This northern tip of Richmond is a wooded gem, a peninsula surrounded by natural mudflats jutting out into the expanse of the San Pablo Bay. We’ll walk about a 2-mile loop—partially on dirt paths, partially on paved walking/biking paths—birding the mudflats as the tide recedes and checking the meadows for Western Bluebirds and Meadowlarks, the woodlands for Brown Creepers, woodpeckers, and nuthatches, and a small marsh for blackbirds, herons, and egrets. Osprey, Belted Kingfishers, and Virginia Rail are likely, as are a wide range of wading and waterbirds and more.
Directions: From I-80, take the Richmond Parkway west. Turn right on Atlas Rd., then left on Giant Highway, and look for the entrance to Point Pinole on the right. From –the San Rafael Bridge, take Richmond Parkway north off I-580 (follow signs for “to I-80”) and exit onto Giant Highway. Point Pinole will be on your left. We’ll meet right at the entrance from the parking lot. https://goo.gl/maps/RQ84R1RkzmuYZ3Nj8
Heat, rain, fog or shine. Carpool if you can and keep valuables out of sight. There is a handicap-accessible latrine bathroom where we are meeting, by the parking lot. Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have them. We’ll have at least one scope and extra binocs, so no equipment or experience necessary. Email or text with questions. See you there!
Eastern Golden Gate Park and the Oaks Trail, San Francisco
Sunday, July 28, 8:00–10:00 a.m.
Alan Hopkins, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415 794-0281
We will walk the new Oak Woodlands Trail in eastern Golden Gate Park looking for the park’s resident species as well as early migrants. Oak woodlands and the new understory plantings provide excellent habitat for birds. The park’s oaks predate the park and have been recognized by the Old Growth Forest Network.
Meet at the main gate to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens at 8 a.m., 9th Ave. and Lincoln. (We will not be visiting the Botanical Gardens.) Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/Kz7fRm7eSzz9QfdD8
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland
Sunday July 28, 8:00–10:00 a.m.
Ryan Gilpin, email@example.com, (925) 980-1256
The Mountain View Cemetery is an Olmstead-designed garden cemetery. Its manicured landscapes and small wild patches make for good urban birding. While the main focus will be birds, this is a combined tree–and-bird trip. This is a very interesting site for enjoying and identifying trees from all around the world. We can go over the basics to help describe which tree a bird is in to your friends, as well as some of the trickier species ID of non-native species that grow in the Bay Area.
The northeastern end of Piedmont Ave. enters the cemetery. Go under the gate and take the first right in the roundabout. Park along this road near a large grassy area behind the large building. We will walk mostly along paved and well maintained trails; the site is quite steep. Entrance and parking are free. Call, text, or email with any questions. Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/EFZ6m6V2hHZ59rBg7
Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, Oakland
Sunday, August 4, 9:00 a.m.–noon
Megan Jankowski, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-515-0732 cell
On this trip we will have a good chance of seeing four tern species: Least, Forster’s, Elegant, and Caspian, including newly fledged Caspian Terns from nearby Alameda. A variety of shorebirds should also be present. We will begin at low tide today and, as the tide comes in, the birds should come in closer giving us better looks. Walking is mostly on paved paths with a short section of sand.
Restrooms are at the parking lot and also farther on in the walk at the observation tower. Scopes are very beneficial and appreciated at this location. 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/
Snag Lake Backpack Trip, Lassen Volcanic National Park
Friday–Monday, August 23–26
Robin Pulich; David Rice, email@example.com
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.
Farallon Islands Pelagic Trip (departs from Pillar Pt. Harbor near Half Moon Bay)
Sunday, August 4, All Day FULL waitlist available*
*Alvaro Adventures is offering this same trip on Mon. Aug. 5, if you are interested. Follow the link to register directly.
Alvaro Jaramillo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost: $140. Register direct Alvaro at http://alvarosadventures.com/
Mention that you are a GGAS member when booking.
The Farallon Islands are the most important breeding colony for seabirds on the West Coast south of Alaska and British Columbia. Hundreds of thousands of birds nest here, mostly Common Murre and Western Gulls. It is also a massively important breeding and resting area for Northern Fur Seals, California and Steller’s Sea Lions. The star of the show on the Farallons in summer is the Tufted Puffin, a few hundred of these birds breed here and we have a great chance to see them well at the islands. Our trip travels from Half Moon Bay for three hours to the islands, whale and bird watching as we go. We will visit various spots around the island from our boat, trying to find the full diversity of what there is to see there. After our visit we venture to deeper water hoping for Black-footed Albatross, perhaps a Blue Whale if they are around, and shearwaters and if lucky storm-petrels. This is perhaps the most amazing wildlife spectacle we have in the Bay Area! Assuming the weather accompanies us, it can be a trip of a lifetime. When booking please comment that you are a GGAS member
For questions email Alvaro Jaramillo, email@example.com
New GGAS chat group
We’ve started a new chat group where we can post updates to field trips and conduct general birding/conservation discussions. Click here to go to the site. Membership is free.
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 Jaramillo www.alvarosadventures.com
These Farallon trips leave from Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay.
Debi Shearwater www.shearwaterjourneys.com
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.
follow the links for Whalewatching and then Farallons
Contact link has phone numbers.
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, 510.484.6529, MLahiff@aol.com or our field trip coordinator, Steve Lombardi, firstname.lastname@example.org