Field Trips

June 1st, 2018

The GGAS Centennial Exhibit is no longer on display.

September 2018 

NOTE: GGAS is offering a fee-based trip with Dolphin Cruises on November 17.
Information is at the end of this email. Registration is limited so claim your spot soon!


Vollmer Peak, Tilden Park
Saturday, September 22, 9:00 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.
Cathy Bleier, 510-414-5719 (cell);

Let’s look for residents, returning migrants and vagrant migrating warblers in Vollmer Peak’s conifer, woodland and scrub habits. We’ll walk about 2 miles total on a dirt fire road. To get there, take Grizzly Peak Blvd toward Redwood Valley Railway Steam trains and turn onto Lomas Cantadas; take an immediate left, go up past the Train Overflow Parking lot to the upper unmarked lot right by gated Seaview Trail.

Bring binoculars and dress/accessorize accordingly (hats and water for sun and heat). Bathroom or outhouse in lot (I think) or definitely at Train Overflow lot below. If you have any questions, call or email Cathy.


Lake Merritt and Lakeside  Park
Wednesday, September 26, 9:30 a.m. — noon.
(Fouth Wednesday bird walk)
Ruth Tobey 510-717-3264, ; Hilary Powers,

It’s still a little early, but we may see some of the first winter migrants at the lake today. Both pelicans should still be around, and a couple of grebes, and we even had a Ruddy Duck a few years ago. We’ll also look for all the herons and the summer suspects.

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.


Albany Mudflats & Albany Bulb, Albany
Saturday, September 29, 11:00 a.m. — 2:00 p.m.

Fred Werner, 510-610-1256 (cell);

Meet at an observation deck overlooking the mudflats, then an easy, mostly flat 2-mile walk around the Albany Bulb on gravel/dirt paths. Starting 2 hours after low tide, we’ll see what the tide brings in. Should be a great time for shorebirds, ducks and other waterbirds. Landbirds are hit-and-miss, and it’s probably early for those Burrowing Owls that show up every winter, but you never know! There’s also always a chance of raptors including possible Osprey, White-tailed Kites and more. Check out the last 10 years here on eBird:

From I-80, go west on Buchanan towards Golden Gate Fields.  Park on the right side of the road within the first 75 yards, just past the “Albany Waterfront Trail” sign and look for us at the first of two slightly raised observation platforms right there.

Carpool if you can.  Please keep valuables out of sight. There is a handicap-accessible port-a-potty. Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have them, but we’ll have at least one scope and a couple extra binocs, so no equipment or experience necessary. Email or text with questions.


October 2018  

Fall Bird Walk Series | Golden Gate Audubon Society & Salesforce Park
Salesforce Park, San Francisco
Tuesday, October 2, 7:30 — 8:30 a.m.
(Repeats Tuesday, November 6, 7:30 — 8:30 a.m.)
Sarah Burton,, cell (415) 318-6271

San Francisco’s newest park is a great natural habitat for urban birds! Its diverse habitats – from the Wetland Garden to the Redwood Forest to the Central Lawn – serve as a year-round oasis for resident and migratory bird species.

Birders of all levels are welcome to join this educational walk series, which will focus on observing resident species as well as the fall migrants, who stop in San Francisco as they make their way along the Pacific Flyway.

Meet in Salesforce Park at the Children’s Play Area (also near the rooftop First St. elevator and Grand Hall escalator). The rooftop park has several access points (map). Both the Park and the Transit Center are ADA compliant (i.e. wheelchair accessible). Restrooms on Level 3. Binoculars helpful, but not mandatory. Bring them if you have them. Heavy rain cancels.


Tilden Nature Area, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley
Friday, October 5, 8:30 — 11:30 a.m.
(First Friday bird walk)
Alan Kaplan, or (510) 526-7609 for messages.

Today’s theme: More on Molts: feathers, growth bars, and Sonic Hedgehog.

Meet in the Tilden Nature Area parking lot (in front of the EEC/Little Farm) for a walk to Jewel Lake and back again. Restrooms and water at the start and mid-way. Young people who would enjoy the company of experienced birders are always welcome.


San Francisco Botanical Garden
Sunday, October 7, 8:00 — 10:30 a.m.
(First Sunday bird walk)
Rob Cullison,; Angie Geiger,; Ginny Marshall,
(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. Families with kids are encouraged. Parents, please respect the other birders and leave the walk if your child becomes a distraction. Entry is free before 9:00 AM.


Lafayette Community Park, Lafayette
Sunday, October 7, 8:30 — 11:00 a.m.
(First Sunday bird walk)
Madeline Brane,, cell 650-235-5325; Johan Langewis,, cell (510)541-1353

This is the first anniversary of this monthly walk. Come help us celebrate the walk and the birds. We’ll meet at the Lafayette Community Center and walk the trail behind the Community Center. This level trail features a variety of mature trees and grassy hillsides, alongside a stretch of riparian habitat.  Raptors, nuthatches, and woodpeckers are sited regularly, along with a variety of sparrows. If that trail is muddy, we can walk the paved bike trail across the street.

We’ll be walking about 2 miles. Meet at the Lafayette Community Center, 500 St. Mary’s Road.  From CA-24, take exit 9, the Orinda-Moraga exit.  Drive south on Moraga Way.  At the T intersection, turn left on Moraga Road, then turn right at the first traffic light onto St. Mary’s Road.  The Community Center is about 2 miles down St. Mary’s Road on the right; drive to the far end of the parking lot.  The URL for the Community Center is Community Center restrooms may be open at the end of our walk.


Valle Vista Staging Area, Upper San Leandro Reservoir, Moraga
Friday, October 12, 8:30 — 11:30 a.m.
Second Friday bird walk; leaders and venue vary by month)
Madeline Brane,, cell 650-235-5325;
Johan Langewis,, 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 down hill. 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 Rd. Go about 1 mile and turn left into the Valle Vista Staging Area parking lot. Google Maps link:

Families with kids are encouraged. Heavy rain cancels.


Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County
Sunday, October 14, 8:30 a.m. — 3:30 p.m.
Cathy Bleier (510-414-5719),, and Carlo Arreglo, Point Reyes NPS ranger

We’ll meet at White House Pool parking lot on Sir Francis Drake Blvd, less than a mile west of intersection with Shoreline Highway just south of Pt. Reyes Station ( or 38.0621373,-122.8166633). We’ll visit as many hotspots as time allows and the day’s birding success warrants (e.g., some combo of Inverness tennis courts, west end of Mt Vision Road, cypress tree tunnel, Ranches A and B, Chimney Rock, fish docks, and Drake’s Beach).

Please bring lunch (since there’s no place in park to buy food) and liquids. Dress for the weather (layers), which can be cold and foggy. Bring binoculars and scopes if you have them.


Chain of Lakes, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Sunday, October 14, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Bonnie Brown & Mitch Youngman,

Migration is underway as we write and will be in full swing for this walk in the park on mostly paved trails. As always, we’ll be looking for our year-round residents and the last of our summer visitors while keeping our eyes peeled for the unusual migrant trying to slip through unobserved. This is a learning-through-birding walk and all levels are welcome. Restrooms and water fountain located near North Lake.

We’ll meet at the parking lot adjacent to South Lake across the street from Bercut Equestrian Field; enter Chain of Lakes Drive in Golden Gate Park at 41st off of Lincoln Way or 43rd off of Fulton St.


The Third Wednesday bird walk is on assignment


Corona Heights, San Francisco
Friday, October 19, 8:00 — 10:00 a.m.
(Third Friday bird walk)
Sarah Burton,, 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,, 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, and Wendy Beers,

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,

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. 


Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, Oakland
Sunday, October 21, noon — 3:00 p.m. (because of tides)
Megan Jankowski,, 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: 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:


Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont
Sunday, October 21, 8:00 am – 11:30 pm
Maureen Lahiff,, 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:

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,, (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,; Hilary Powers,

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);

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

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.


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

Dawn Lemoine, 510-757-4727
Rusty Scalf, (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: Vault toilet and water in the Winton parking lot.


Special fee-based trip. Hurry to book it’s filling quickly

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,, 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 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
Good dates for Farallons: August 11 and 12.
These Farallon trips leave from Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay.


Shearwater Journeys

Debi Shearwater
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, or our field trip coordinator, Steve Lombardi,