Join us on one of our upcoming field trips! Nearly all are free and beginners are always welcome.
Cancellations: Heavy rain almost always cancels trips. Other cancellations may be posted on the GGAS-Chat discussion group: Sign up for free at groups.io/g/GGAS-Chat. If you’re uncertain about whether a trip has been cancelled, please contact the trip leader.
Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
Wednesday, January 22, 9:30 a.m.–noon
(Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
Ruth Tobey, 510.717.3264, email@example.com; Hilary Powers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Come enjoy the heart of the winter season at Lake Merritt; everyone who’s coming is here, and nobody who’s leaving has left! Arctic ducks, maybe some vagrants if the winds have been right.
Meet at the large spherical cage near the Nature Center at Perkins and Bellevue. We will bird around there, then either walk down the lake toward El Embarcadero or go up the paved path toward Children’s Fairyland and loop back through the garden, after which we will cover what we missed. The down-the-lake path is all paved, with gentle slopes up from the cage to the road and back down on the other side of the bird paddock. If we go up toward the garden first, it’s another gentle, paved rise toward the other end of Bellevue. Coming from El Embarcadero, we’re apt to cut across the lawn, but can stick with paved paths if anyone in the group is using a walker or wheelchair. Regardless of the route, the park offers benches at frequent intervals.
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 3 hours, as the dashboard cards don’t have a start time on them.
Staten Island and Cosumnes River Preserve, Central Valley
(Optional overnight stay in Willows for Sacramento and Colusa NWRs)
Saturday, January 25, with optional extension to Sunday, January 26
Maureen Lahiff, MLahiff@aol.com, 510.484.6529
This trip is now FULL and there is a short waitlist.
It’s 90 minutes from Oakland and Berkeley to these Central Valley sites. The Nature Conservancy’s Staten Island is managed for the Sandhill Cranes, and the flooded fields are likely to have a variety of ducks, geese, and Tundra Swans.
We’ll meet at Staten Island at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. Participants have two options:
- A day trip to Staten Island and Cosumnes, with a lunch break on the porch at the Cosumnes Visitor Center.
- Continuing on, driving 100+ miles north, staying overnight in Willows, with an option for dinner together, and then on Sunday visits to Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, to see Snow Geese, Ross’s Geese, White-faced Ibis, and a variety of ducks and raptors, and then on the way south on I-5, a stop in Maxwell to visit the Vermilion Flycatcher, and then Colusa NWR.
The trip is limited to 25 participants to ensure a great experience. Sign up by email to Maureen MLahiff@aol.com beginning at noon on Monday, December 9 to sign up for the waitlist. More details and suggestions for places to stay in Willows will be provided. (Questions to Maureen before December 9 are welcome.)
Albany Shoreline: McLaughlin Shoreline State Park and Albany Mudflats
Sunday, January 26, 1:00–3:00 p.m.
Fred Werner, 510-610-1256 cell, email@example.com
High tide will be a little after noon, so on our first visit to the Albany shoreline of 2020, we’ll bird the uplands area first, hoping to FINALLY glimpse the elusive Burrowing Owl this area is actively managed to support in the wintertime. Western Meadowlarks are likely, and last month we had Say’s Phoebe, American Pipits, Savannah Sparrows, a kingfisher, and an Osprey here.
Then, once the tide has had some time to drop, we should have great views of the swarms of overwintering shorebirds still passing through and winter ducks finally showing up. Come bird this easily accessible stretch of the Bay shoreline! New birders, old friends, all levels of experience welcome. An earlier trip report gives you a taste of it:
Walking includes a mostly flat, 1-mile gravel/dirt loop, though you could turn around at any time. The last 10 Januaries at the mudflats: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L484238/last10/1
and the uplands (McLaughlin park): https://ebird.org/hotspot/L2377313/last10/1
Directions: From I-80, go west on Buchanan toward Golden Gate Fields. Park as soon as you can after you pass under the highway. Meet at the second observation platform: https://goo.gl/maps/LKb4V4HEwECEDs4x7
Parking is free but limited. If it’s crowded, you can park in the Golden Gate Fields lot just on your left for $1. So carpool if you can or take the AC Transit 80 bus from the El Cerrito Plaza or Ashby BART stations.
There is a handicap-accessible latrine bathroom. Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have them, but we’ll provide some so no equipment or experience necessary. We’ll be there rain, shine, fog, or wind. We will only cancel if there are severe warnings to stay indoors. Email or text with questions. See you there!
Birds of the Delta Boat Trip with Dolphin Charters
Sunday, February 9, 9 a.m.–4:00 or 4:30 p.m.
GGAS trip leader:Fred Werner, 510-610-1256 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
This trip is now full. You may still register for the waiting list.
Tour the Sacramento Delta on board the comfortable boat River Dolphin to explore the region’s rich habitats. Potentially we can see thousands of Tundra Swans, Snow Geese, White-fronted Geese, Sandhill Cranes, and Canada Geese, plus myriad ducks, raptors, herons, and songbirds. This full-day trip through the backwaters and channels of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta provides wildlife views you’d never get from the land, as well as a glimpse into the history and culture of this unique region. In recent years, participants have sighted six or more species of hawks and falcons while motoring through part of the thousand miles of waterways that make up this region.
Departs and returns from the Antioch Marina. Limited to 29 participants. Please arrive 20 minutes early to ensure an on-time departure and bring your own lunch. Light rain does NOT cancel the trip, but high winds/heavy rain might. Registered participants will receive an email with directions and logistics about a week before the trip.
Cost: $105 for GGAS members, $140 for non-members. Non-member price includes a 2020 membership to GGAS.
Click here to register. Once the trip is full, you may register to be on the waiting list. Registration will close midnight Wednesday, February 5, 2020.
Confirmed participants will be sent trip details and directions by email during the week before the trip. For registration questions, email email@example.com or call 510-843-2222 during office hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12 noon. After Thursday, February 6, contact the GGAS trip leader with questions.
Bicycle Trip: Arrowhead Marsh/MLK Jr. Shoreline, Oakland
Sunday, February 9, 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Kathy Jarrett, firstname.lastname@example.org, 510-547-1233
High tide at approximately 11:50 a.m. Winter high tides are a good time to see rails and (if there has been enough rain) lots of ducks and shorebirds in the seasonal wetlands.
Meet at EBRPD Tidewater Staging Area 10 a.m.
Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/XJXZbRh1aQxSBXZJ7We’ll ride the S.F. Bay Trail from East Creek Point to Damon Marsh and Arrowhead Marsh, returning over the same route. Bring lunch and liquids and dress in layers. All levels of birders welcome.Bicycle helmet required. Rain cancels. Email or call for mobile number.
Directions by car: Take High Street exit from I-880 in Oakland and go southwest on High St., then turn left onto Tidewater Ave. (just before bridge to Alameda) and right into the Tidewater Staging Area. (Look for a small brown sign.)
Bicycling directions from Fruitvale BART: Ride west on Fruitvale Ave. and turn left onto Alameda Ave., just before bridge to Alameda. Trail is on right on sidewalk; follow it south to High St. along estuary, jog left and cross onto Tidewater Ave., then right into the staging area. Any train that arrives at Fruitvale BART by 9:30 a.m. should be adequate to arrive at the trailhead by 10.
Yosemite’s Bird Life
Friday through Sunday, May 15–17, 2020
Dave Quady, email@example.com and Dave Cornman
The lower and middle elevations of Yosemite National Park are alive with singing birds in late May/early June. A variety of habitats supports a rich diversity of bird life, typically including seven flycatchers (three Empidonax), three vireos, seven warblers, and many other species in full song and breeding plumage. This is the third year that the trip will be held two weeks earlier than was the case for decades (through 2017). Join the trip and help us learn how bird status and behavior are changing as our climate warms.
This trip is limited to 20 participants. Sign-ups begin at noon on Wednesday, December 4 by email only to firstname.lastname@example.org, please. 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 lodging 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 on- and off-trail, in gentle terrain. Leaders: Dave Quady, (510) 704-9353 or email@example.com, and Dave Cornman.
Our field trips welcome birders of all skill levels, especially beginning birders. We encourage experienced birders to help the new birders in the group. And beginners: Don’t be shy. We encourage you to identify yourselves at the start of the walks so that the leaders and more experienced birders can help.
You can also find our walks on Meetup at https://www.meetup.com/Golden-Gate-Audubon-Society/
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.
Alvaro Jaramillo leads outstanding trips and bring experienced sea-birders along as spotters. Trips leave from a variety of ports, including Monterey (with the submarine canyon in Monterey Bay).
Whalewatching trips that include the Farallones:
For 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 Farallones
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.
Photo by Ilana De Bare