Field Trips

February 1st, 2017
Berkeley Waterfront/ Eastshore State Park
Thursday, March 2, 8:00 — 10:30 a.m.
(Centennial bird walk)
Emilie Strauss, desertpeach@earthlink.net

We will bird Berkeley Meadows, North Berkeley yacht basin, and possibly part of Cesar Chavez Park. We will search for wintering sparrows, puddle ducks, and possibly burrowing owl. We’ll also discuss a little of GGAS’s involvement in preserving this park. Take University Avenue west of Highway 80 in Berkeley, then turn right on Marina Blvd. Park at: 201-299 Marina Blvd, Berkeley, CA 94720 (Google Maps link). This is a trailhead to Berkeley Meadows. There are bathrooms nearby but not at the trailhead. Plan on walking about 2 miles. Bring scopes if you have them. Heavy rain cancels. 

 

Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley
Friday, March 3, 8:30 — 11:30 a.m.
(First Friday bird walk)
Alan Kaplan, LNKPLN67@gmail.com or (510) 526-7609 for messages.

“Nice to Sparrows: Margaret Morse Nice and Song Sparrow Studies” will be our topic. She was the first woman president of a major American ornithological society, and the Wilson Ornithological Society’s award for “lifetime contributions to ornithology” is named for her. She studied song development in birds and language development in her own children and got a Master’s degree in Psychology! And she introduced the work of a young Austrian scientist, Konrad Lorenz, to American ornithologists. You should know more about her!

Meet at the Tilden Nature Area parking lot, in front of the EEC and Little Farm. Restrooms and water at the start and mid-way. We’ll walk on the trail to Jewel Lake and back- mud may be present!

 

San Francisco Botanical Garden
Sunday, March 5, 8:00 — 10:30 a.m.
(First Sunday bird walk)
Dominik Mosur, polskatata@yahoo.com; Allan Ridley, allanrid@pacbell.net; Helen McKenna; Ginny Marshall, ginnybirder@sbcglobal.net; Robert Cullison, robbo50@sbcglobal.net; Angie Geiger, acgeig@sbcglobal.net (Leaders vary by month.)

Meet at the front gate of the garden in Golden Gate Park, 9th Ave. at Lincoln Way. The garden has several micro-habitats that attract an array of resident, migrant, and vagrant birds. This monthly trip is oriented toward helping beginning birders develop their skills. Entry is free before 9:00 AM. 

 

Eden Landing Ecological Reserve, Hayward
Sunday, March 5, 8:00 — 11:00 a.m.
Clayton Anderson, naturalart@earthlink.net 

Come join me on a quiet walk along Eden Landing’s many dikes. We’ll walk about 3- 4 miles of level dike trails looking for the ‘hangers-on’ of this winter’s migrants as well as the ever presents residents of SF bay. Some feathered stars we may see include White Pelican, Semipalmated Plover, Snowy Plover, Harrier and Long-billed Curlew. With the extreme weather we’ve been ‘enjoying’ we may see some extreme patterns and behaviors. As weather effects wildlife even more than it affects us (I could be wrong about that). To get to Eden Landing take 880 to 92/San Mateo Bridge. Exit Clawiter/Eden Landing. Turn left over the freeway and follow Eden Landing Rd. straight into the Reserve.  The parking lot is on your left. Portapotty. No water.

Google Maps link:  https://goo.gl/maps/gTMW1ptEbi52   Deptt of Fish & Wildlife Map: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=85029&inline

 

Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Oakland
Friday, March 10, 8:30 — 10:30 a.m.
(Second Friday bird walk)
Rusty Scalf, rscalf@sonic.net (leaders vary by month)

Birds of grassland and soft chaparral, labyrinths, and more. Meet at the entrance parking lot, one-tenth mile south of the junction of Grizzly Peak Blvd and Skyline Blvd, Oakland. Restrooms and water at the start. A moderate pace with some up and down. Directions at http://www.ebparks.org/ or Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/kx7BookhcPL2 

 

Birding by Ear Along the Stream Trail, Redwood Regional Park
Friday, March 10, 7:00 — 9:00 a.m. (repeated 3/17, 3/24, and 3/31; sign up for only one)
Bob Power, rcpower@sbcglobal.net 

Seasonal ear tune-up. We’ll walk on wide, relatively flat paved and unpaved paths listening to the early spring birds. The walks are limited to eight people. Please sign up for only one walk to give others a chance. Email the leader to enroll. Trip details will be provided to confirmed participants. 

 

UCSF Mt. Sutro Open Space Preserve, San Francisco
Saturday, March 11, 8:30 – ~11-11:30 a.m.
Pat Greene, cell (415) 481-5469, pjgreene@sonic.net.

Meet at the Aldea Community Center, 155 Johnstone Dr, at 8:30. The UCSF Mt Sutro OSP is a 61 acre fragment of the more than 2000 acres of trees planted by Adolf Sutro in the late 19th century (http://sutrostewards.org/page/trail-map). We’ll walk ~2 miles, with gradual climbs and descents on mostly well-graded trails (with a few rocky spots). If it has been rainy, be prepared for muddy trails. We’ll look and listen for birds. We may see continuing winter birds, a few returnees and migrants, and year round residents. The OSP is the focus of a new push to manage the ‘forest’ for greater habitat diversity in the future. The Sutro Stewards are already utilizing openings in the forest for conservation planting.  Heavy Rain and/or strong wind cancels; please rsvp Pat Greene, pjgreene@sonic.net, by email for last minute updates or changes.

Directions to the start: Park on Clarendon or Dellbrook as close to the Johnstone intersection as possible; allow 5-10 min to park and walk to the meeting place. Hike a short distance up Johnstone Drive to the UCSF Aldea Community Center on your left (across from the intersection of Medical Center Way on the right). UCSF can be reached by public transit: N Judah light rail, and 43, 6 and 66 buses. The Aldea Community Center is a significant uphill climb from the transit stops. Please email Pat for instructions, pjgreene@sonic.net

 

Las Gallinas Storage Pond, San Rafael
Sunday, March 12, 8:00 — 11:00 a.m.
Miya Lucas, wunds4me@gmail.com; Wendy Beers, docwlb@gmail.com

NOTE:  Daylight savings time starts after midnight on Sunday, March 12! 

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 for the American Bittern, which has been spotted again this year.  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, and lots of ducks to see. Soras have been plentiful this winter, we’ll definitely hear them but they are stealthy but we might get lucky to see one or two. It can be foggy or sunny and hot, so wear sunscreen and a hat and have some water with you just in case it gets really warm.  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. Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/mZER5pfeUk82. Rain cancels. 

 

Bodega Bay, Sonoma County
Sunday, March 12, 9:00 a.m. to around 1:00 p.m.
Maureen Lahiff, MLahiff@aol.com, 510-484-6529

NOTE:  Daylight savings time starts after midnight on Sunday, March 12! 

Why go all way to Bodega Bay? To see loons close up – Common, Pacific, and Red-throated all likely. To see Brant. To see Double-crested, Brandt’s and Pelagic cormorants side-by-side to strengthen your ID skills. This is a great place for birders of all levels and birders new to the Bay Area.

We’ll meet at 9 am in the parking lot next to the harbor at the end of Eastshore Road. We’ll look at the birds that hang out there, and then look for birds on both sides of the Harbor and on the coast above the Hole-in-the-Head. Later, we’ll go to Doran Beach County Park, where there is a $7 parking fee. Please email Maureen if you’d like detailed directions. She’s going rain or shine.

Here’s a Google Maps link to the meeting location: https://goo.gl/maps/GCgSkQBURJx 

 

Special Pre-Birdathon Trip: Coyote Hills Bird Walk & Fundraising Training
Sunday, March 12, 9 a.m. to noon
Bob Lewis (bird walk) & Ilana DeBare (fundraising), idebare@goldengateaudubon.org, (510) 301-5573

NOTE:  Daylight savings time starts after midnight on Sunday, March 12! 

Excited about our array of upcoming Birdathon trips during April but nervous about fundraising? We can help! GGAS Communications Director Ilana DeBare will provide a one-hour fundraising orientation session that will leave you confident and excited to start your Birdathon fundraising. As a sign of our appreciation, start the morning with a two-hour bird walk by GGAS birding instructor Bob Lewis at Coyote Hills Regional Park.

This event is limited to people who are planning to do Birdathon fundraising. Advance registration required: Click here to register.

 

Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, 2777 Middle Harbor Road, Oakland
Wednesday, March 15, 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.
(Third Wednesday bird walk)
Penn Hughes, penn.hughes@att.net or (510) 499-5491 for messages.

Shore birds, ducks, terns, gulls, pelicans, passing passerines. 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!

(GPS or) Take N. I-880 to 7th Street exit, left onto 7th at the bottom of the freeway interchange exit ramp. South on I-880 is from the Frontage Road; right on 7th. (Alternately, drive to West Oakland Post Office, the big one, and keep going on 7th to the same freeway interchange.) Continue on 7th Street, through the port area. 1 mile from the interchange, at a stoplight, the street name changes to Middle Harbor Road where 7th Street turns right. Middle Harbor Park may be reached from 7th Street (left turn) or from Middle Harbor Road (right turn). Meet at LEFT parking lot in Middle Harbor Park (near the Naturalist’s trailer). Many restrooms. Please, no dogs. Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/vTJ4HytmBjN2 

 

Birding by Ear Along the Stream Trail, Redwood Regional Park
Friday, March 17, 7:00 — 9:00 a.m. (repeated 3/24, 31; sign up for only one)
Bob Power, rcpower@sbcglobal.net 

Seasonal ear tune-up. We’ll walk on wide, relatively flat paved and unpaved paths listening to the early spring birds. The walks are limited to eight people. Please sign up for only one walk to give others a chance. Email the leader to enroll. Trip details will be provided to confirmed participants.

 

Corona Heights, San Francisco
Friday, March 17, 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 

 

Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont
Saturday, March 18, 8:00am – noon
Pamela Llewellyn, pamelallewellyn@yahoo.com, 510-316-8932

Coyote Hills is a favorite birding site due to its variety of habitats and consequently large variety of birds.  Spring is a great time to see the breeding birds of Coyote Hills.  We will walk about 3 miles on mostly flat, unpaved trails.  Birders of all levels welcome.  Meet in the first parking lot approx. ¼ mi. past the entrance kiosk – Quarry Staging Area.

Directions: From I-880, take 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. Water is available and there are restrooms at the Visitor’s Center. There are nice picnic areas if you’d like to bring your lunch. Coyote Hills was featured on the GGAS blog in September 2015: goldengateaudubon.org/blog-posts/coyote-hills-birding-hotspot/

 

San Leandro Shoreline by Bicycle, Alameda County
Sunday, March 19, 9:00 a.m. — 1-1:30 p.m.
Cathy Bleier (510) 414-5719, csbleier@sbcglobal.net; Pat Greene (415) 481-5469 cell, pjgreene@sonic.net; and Annie Armstrong managing our shared scope.

We will cycle urban streets to the Bay Trail and then proceed to bike and bird the shoreline down to Winton Ave to view wintering ducks and shorebirds, as well as raptors and passerines. Meet at the San Leandro BART Station outside the pay area on the west side of the station. Leaders plan to be on trains scheduled to arrive at 8:50 and 8:56. If you drive to the start, be at the station ready to roll at 8:55. We will ride up to 20 flat miles of paved or packed dirt trails and city streets. Bring Binoculars and wear layers to stay warm on this leisurely paced ride. Bring snacks, lunch and water; we won’t pass places to buy. The Bay Trail south of Grant Ave is unpaved. If you are uncomfortable on hard-packed dirt, join us to Grant Ave (where you can retrace on your own to San Leandro BART. This birding ride is co-listed with Grizzly Peak Cyclists. Helmets Required.  Rain Cancels (e-mail Pat for updates if the weather is questionable).

 

Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
Sunday, March 19, 8:00 — 10:00 a.m.
(Third Sunday bird walk)
David Assmann, david_assmann@yahoo.com

March may be the last month to see many of our overwintering waterbirds, as well as specialties like Red-Breasted Sapsucker, White-Throated Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Wandering Tattler and Bullock’s Oriole.  Early migrants may already be showing up (we have had Western Kingbird at Fort Mason on March 16th). Allen’s Hummingbirds should be present, and there may be a migrating Rufous on its way through. Newly arriving and migrating swallows are possible.

Meet in front of the Community Garden to explore several different habitats in this compact part of GGNRA. Restroom in meadow, ample parking if there is no race on the waterfront (also easily accessible by transit). Heavy rain cancels.  Maps link: http://goo.gl/maps/RKZwU 

 

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
Wednesday, March 22, 9:30 a.m. – noon
(Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
Hilary Powers, 510.834.1066, hilary@powersedit.com; Ruth Tobey, 510.717.3264, ruthtobey@gmail.com

Springtime at the lake gives us looks at the last of the winter migrants, many of whom put on their party clothes before leaving, plus the nesting Double-crested Cormorants – with crests in March for sure, and possibly in April as well!

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. 

 

Birding by Ear Along the Stream Trail, Redwood Regional Park
Friday, March 24, 7:00 — 9:00 a.m. (repeated 3/31; sign up for only one)
Bob Power, rcpower@sbcglobal.net 

Seasonal ear tune-up. We’ll walk on wide, relatively flat paved and unpaved paths listening to the early spring birds. The walks are limited to eight people. Please sign up for only one walk to give others a chance. Email the leader to enroll. Trip details will be provided to confirmed participants.

 

Birding by Ear Along the Stream Trail, Redwood Regional Park
Friday, March 31, 7:00 — 9:00 a.m.
Bob Power, rcpower@sbcglobal.net 

Seasonal ear tune-up. We’ll walk on wide, relatively flat paved and unpaved paths listening to the early spring birds. The walks are limited to eight people. Please sign up for only one walk to give others a chance. Email the leader to enroll. Trip details will be provided to confirmed participants. 

Further Out

April is BIRDATHON month!  Experience one of our unique or behind-the-scenes Birdathon trips while raising money for Golden Gate Audubon’s conservation and education programs. Trips include Birding and Wine Tasting in Livermore Valley; Behind the Scenes at International Bird Rescue; Behind the Scenes at California Academy of Sciences; Birding and Chocolate Tasting in Alameda; Bird Banding with SF Bay Bird Observatory: Big Six Hours in Oakland, Contra Costa, or Alameda County, and many more.

Sign up now! Many of these trips will fill up soon. Advance registration is required for Birdathon trips.

For a full list of Birdathon field trips with registration links, see our Birdathon Trips web page at  goldengateaudubon.org/Birdathon2017-trips. For information on Birdathon generally — including prizes for top fundraisers — see goldengateaudubon.org/Birdathon2017.

 

Petaluma River: Birding By Boat
Friday, April 14 – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dolphin Charters; GGAS leader to be announced

This trip is now FULL! You may sign up to be on the waiting list in case of cancellations.

This small salt water estuary off San Pablo Bay runs about 10 miles north through some of the last (mostly untouched) salt water marshes in the Bay Area. Onboard, our passengers enter a different world. Cruising down the Petaluma River and meandering past sloughs, oxbows and marshes, participants will experience these vital, aquatic links in our natural world. Boating makes accessible an intimate experience of this backwater, riparian world that lies beyond the end of the road. The boat continues out into San Pablo Bay where a different set of birds – grebes, ducks, and terns – can be seen in the shallow water habitat. The extensive mud flats along the edge of San Pablo Bay often host large numbers of shorebirds and the raptors that feed on them.

Depart and return: Petaluma Turning Basin. Registered participants will be sent directions to the marina plus other logistical information about a week before the trip. Limited to 27 people.

Cost: $90 for Golden Gate Audubon members; $100 for non-members. Click here to register. Once the trip is full, you may register for the waiting list.

 

Napa River: Birding By Boat
Sunday, May 7 – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Dolphin Charters; Pamela Llewellyn

This trip is now FULL! You may sign up to be on the waiting list in case of cancellations.

A cruise along the Napa River is like a voyage into the past. This trip begins at the historic Vallejo and Mare Island waterfronts and continues into a different worldof vineyards, backwater homes, and some of the largest contiguous marshes in the Bay Area.

Even before leaving the dock, diving ducks and grebes may be seen feeding in the river and marina.  Across the way at Mare Island, Ospreys and egrets attend to their nests.  Frequently a pair of Peregrine Falcons can be seen as the boat passes under the Highway 37 overpass. Just up-river, we cruise alongside the Napa/Sonoma marshes and one of the largest inter-tidal marsh restoration projects in the United States. This process greatly increases the food and habitat for not only birds, but also fish, amphibians and even smaller animals that help support us all.

Depart and return: Vallejo Marina. Registered participants will be sent directions to the marina plus other logistical information about a week before the trip. Limited to 27 people.

Cost: $80 for Golden Gate Audubon members; $90 for non-members. Click here to register. Once the trip is full, you may register for the waiting list.

NOTE: Dolphin Charters is donating all the proceeds from this trip to Golden Gate Audubon as one of our Birdathon corporate sponsors! Their generosity is only exceeded by their expert guiding.  🙂 

 

Yosemite’s Bird Life, Yosemite National Park
Friday — Sunday, June 2 – 4, 2017
Dave Quady, (510) 704-9353 or davequady@att.net, and Dave Cornman.

This trip is now FULL and the waiting list is full too. 

The lower and middle elevations of Yosemite National Park are alive with singing birds in late May/early June. Varied habitats on the west side of the park support a rich diversity of bird life, typically including seven flycatchers (three Empidonax), seven warblers, three vireos, and many other species in full song and breeding plumage. How did the two 2014 fires that swept through Foresta, and 2013’s Rim Fire affect the area’s bird life? Let’s see what we can learn.

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.

 

Mono Lake (Eastern Sierra)
GGAS Centennial Field Trip
Thursday evening June 22 – Sunday afternoon June 25
George Peyton & Bob Lewis

This trip is now FULL but you may register to be on the waiting list.

Golden Gate Audubon played a lead role in the successful battle to save Mono Lake from excessive water diversions in the 1980s. Learn about that inspiring history, along with the iconic geography and natural history of the area, while viewing the bird life. (Mono Lake is a crucial refueling stop for hundreds of thousands of phalaropes and other shorebirds during migration, and home to North America’s largest nesting population of California Gulls.)

Logistics: Arrive by Thursday evening. On Friday we’ll bird areas around the lake for species including Green-tailed Towhee, Sagebrush Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, and nesting Cliff Swallows. On Saturday, we’ll bird higher elevations in the nearby eastern Sierra. On Sunday, we’ll do a half-day trip to Bodie State Historical Park, a great spot to see Sage Grouse.

Friday evening dinner will be a potluck on the grounds of the Lake View Lodge, with wine provided by George. (Bring your contribution in a cooler). We’ll eat dinner at the Mobil Cafe on Saturday, with George again hosting the wine. Thursday night dinner is on your own.

Participants are responsible for their own accommodations, meals, and transportation. Once you register, we will provide a list of local lodging options.  Meet each morning in the parking lot of Nicely’s restaurant, where participants may purchase breakfast. About a month before the trip, George will provide details on logistics and on the potluck.

Limited to 15 people. Click here to register for the waiting list.

 



Pelagic Trips

See birds of the open water! (And maybe some marine mammals.) Shearwater Journeys, Alvaro’s Adventures, and the Oceanic Society all offer discounts to GGAS members. Register in advance since these trips often fill up. Never tried a pelagic (ocean) birding trip? Read our blog post on Pelagic Birding for Beginners!

Shearwater Journeys Pelagic Trips

Shearwater Journeys has offered GGAS members discounted pelagic trips for more than a decade. RESERVATIONS: Please send payment (personal check or money order), name, address, phone, email for each person booking, to Debi Shearwater; POB 190, Hollister, CA 95024; debi@shearwaterjourneys.com. All discounted reservations are non-refundable, non-transferable. A return confirmation will be sent to you. All trips are accompanied by experienced, friendly and knowledgable leaders.

Alvaro’s Adventures Pelagic Trips

Led by Alvaro Jaramillo. Check the website for descriptions, pricing, and availability: http://alvarosadventures.com/boat-trips/pelagics/

Oceanic Society Pelagic Trips

The Oceanic Society offers guided Gray Whale watching trips from Half Moon Bay. Some of their guides have particular expertise in birds; ask their office for dates of trips with bird experts. The cost is normally $125 per person, but GGAS members are eligible for a reduced rate of $105. To reserve at the discounted rate, call their office during business hours at (800) 326-7491 or (415) 256-9604 and ask for Donna Redstone or other staff. Want to charter an entire boat? They can also offer a GGAS discount for that. For details on their trips, see www.oceanicsociety.org.

 



Carpooling 

If you are going on a field trip, would you welcome company? Do you have room in your car to take other birders? To help find a ride or offer a ride, sign up with GGA’s carpool group at http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/GGACarPool. When you sign up, you answer a few simple questions, then receive a confirming e-mail. Once you are a member, you post messages under “Need Ride” or “Offer Ride,” along with the destination and date. The more birders who sign up, the more useful the group will be. Birders are encouraged to help the driver with expenses by contributing to the cost of fuel and bridge tolls.



Field Trip E-newsletter and Meetups

Would you like to get a list of field trips sent to your email Inbox each month? Contact the Golden Gate Audubon office at ggas@goldengateaudubon.org and ask to receive the Field Trips e-newsletter. Include your name, preferred email address, plus (for our records) your postal address.

We also post all our field trips on Meetup.com, which can be a convenient way to get reminders of each upcoming trip via email. See www.meetup.com/Golden-Gate-Audubon-Society/.

 



Other Bay Area Bird Walks

Mike Simms compiles a quarterly list of bird walks throughout the Bay Area, including walks by other Audubon chapters. His current list can be found through the Ohlone Audubon web site.