Field Trips

June 1st, 2018

July 2018 

The GGAS Centennial Exhibit is moving to Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont

The exhibit will be on public view at the Coyote Hills Visitor Center beginning July 18


Lafayette Community Park, Lafayette
Sunday, July 1, 8:30 — 11:00 a.m.
(First Sunday bird walk)

Madeline Brane,, cell 650-235-5325; Johan Langewis,, cell (510)541-1353

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.


San Francisco Botanical Garden
Sunday, July 1, 8:00 — 10:30 a.m.
(First Sunday bird walk)

Ginny Marshall,; Robert Cullison,; Angie Geiger, (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.


Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley
Friday, July 6, 8:30 — 11:30 a.m.
(First Friday bird walk)

Alan Kaplan, or (510) 526-7609 for messages

Meet at the Tilden Nature Area parking lot, in front of the Environmental Education Center and Little Farm. We’ll talk about The Summer Atlas of North American Birds (Price et al 1995), and compare and contrast it with the Breeding Bird Atlas of Contra Costa County (Glover, 2009). Young people who would enjoy the companionship of adult birders are welcome. Restrooms and water at the start and midway.


Chain of Lakes, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Sunday, July 8, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Bonnie Brown & Mitch Youngman,

Join us on a quarterly bird walk through Golden Gate Parks Chain of Lakes. Our year-round residents, along with summer visitors, should all be busy wrapping up their first broods. We’ll keep an eye out for the freshly fledged chicks sporting what can be confusing plumage’s and our ear’s perked for territorial singing. This is a learning-through-birding walk and all levels are welcome. Restrooms and water fountain located near North Lake.  Easy walk on the trails about 1 mile.  Heavy rain cancels, though highly unlikely. 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.


Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center, Hayward
Friday, July 13, 9:00 a.m. — Noon
(Second Friday bird walk; venue and leaders vary by month)

Steve and Carol Lombardi, cell 925/785-0130,

 July is the start of southbound shorebird migration, so early shorebirds should be coming through. The Least and Forster’s Tern colonies should still be active. And teenage Avocets and Stilts should be hanging around with their parents. We’ll walk from the interpretive center to the tern colonies and return, about 3 miles on wide, level roads. All skill levels welcome. Port-a-potty, but no water, available at start. The interpretive center should be open by the time we return, and has “real” restrooms and water, along with lots of interesting displays. (

 The H.A.R.D. Interpretive Center is near the end of Breakwater Ave. in Hayward. From west-bound Hwy 92, exit Clawiter (last exit before the SM Bridge); go straight across the Clawiter intersection, make a left past the Union 76 station onto Breakwater Ave.; Breakwater has recently been realigned, so in 0.3 miles, make a left to continue on Breakwater at the new intersection. The interpretive center is about 1 mile on your right (Breakwater dead ends just past the interpretive center). Google Maps link:


Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
Sunday, July 15, 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. The focus will be looking for late nesting birds and possibly some early migrating or dispersing birds.  The garden will have a variety of land birds, including possibly Hooded Orioles. We’ll also scan Aquatic Park for water birds. Restroom in meadow, ample parking if there is no race on the waterfront (also easily accessible by transit). Heavy rain cancels. 


Penn Hughes’s Third Wednesday walk will return in August.


Lake Chabot Regional Park, Castro Valley
Tuesday, July 17, 8:00 — 11:00 a.m.
Sharol Nelson-Embry,, (510) 851-1341

We’ll be walking the West Shore trail looking for the bald eagle family near Alder Point and also fledgling juncos, chickadees and other wonderful birds along the way. The trail is paved with rolling hills and approx. 3.5 miles round trip. Meet at the Cove Picnic site which is across the grass from the marina store. There is a $5 parking fee unless you have a membership through the EB Regional Parks Foundation; you can also park outside on Lake Chabot Road and walk into the park. Results will be posted on eBird; include your email when you sign in on-site if you’d like to see the eBird report. Address: 17600 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley. Google Maps link:


Hilltop Lake Park, Richmond
Wednesday, July 18, 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.    Let’s see what July brings: more Orioles, more Grebe, Gallinule or Coot chicks; will Allen’s Hummingbirds have moved on?  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.  Carpool OR COME A LITTLE 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.


Corona Heights, San Francisco
Friday, July 20, 8:00 — 10:00 a.m.
(Third Friday bird walk)

Sarah Burton,

Spring migration along the Pacific Flyway brought a variety of species to Corona Heights – flycatchers, pewees, swifts, and rufous hummingbirds. For resident species, spring brought opportunities to complete another nesting cycle. This month, while we wait for fall migrants to appear on the hill, the focus will be on late nesting activity and resident bird song. Fledglings present a fun identification challenge and birding by ear is a great way to access the hobby so come on the walk even if you don’t have binoculars

Trails are stable but steep and many require navigating dirt paths with box step staircases. Come for the walk and visit the new remodeled Randall Museum afterward. 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. Meet at the Randall Museum entrance gate (map) with layers and your best ear.


Valle Vista Staging Area, Upper San Leandro Reservoir, Moraga
Friday, July 20, 8:30 — 11:30 a.m.

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.



Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont, Alameda County
Sunday, July 22, 8:00 — 11:00 a.m.

Maureen Lahiff,, 510.484.6529;
Kevin Schwartz,
, 510.299.2337


Coyote Hills is a favorite birding site because of its variety of habitats – marsh, grasslands, and the trees of Hoot Hollow. Depending on what we find when we scout, we’ll probably spend more time south of the Visitor’s Center than we do on winter trips. We’ll stop by the Nectar Garden at the Visitor’s Center at the end of our walk; the water features there are attractive to birds. There will be more up and down hill on narrower trails than on winter trips.

Birders of all levels and ages welcome; Coyote Hills can be rewarding for beginners. Meet near 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). 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.

The GGAS Centennial Exhibit will be on public view at the Coyote Hills Visitor Center beginning July 18. The center also has informative exhibits about the Ohlone people. Tours of the Tuibin Ohlone Village site are offered on the 22nd; there is one from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.


Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
Wednesday, July 25, 9:30 a.m. – noon
(Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
Ruth Tobey, 510.717.3264,; Hilary Powers,

July is quiet at the lake, but we’ll see nesting cormorants and probably both pelicans and some swallows and assorted herons – with really good looks at what we do see. Lake Merritt always repays a visit, but summer days are especially good for newer birders because it’s easier to remember what’s there.

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.


August 2018 

More to come


Abbott’s Lagoon, Pt. Reyes National Seashore
Saturday, August 25, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

(This walk repeats on 8/26 as a Marin Audubon event)
Rusty Scalf  510-495-5837,

We will bird the coastal scrub, lagoons, and ocean. We hope to find migrant shorebirds and resident Snowy Plovers. Abbott’s Lagoon has historically been good for Baird’s Sandpiper and we may get lucky.

Meet at 9 am at the Abbott’s Lagoon parking lot (bathrooms but no water). Bring scope, liquids, lunch.  Plan on walking 4 miles round-trip; relatively flat but trail consists partially of sand. Prepare for wind.

Using Google Maps, type in Abbotts Lagoon Trailhead.
Using Mapquest, 4101 Pierce Point Rd, Inverness, CA
The National Seashore map:


Snag Lake Backpack Trip, Lassen Volcanic National Park
Friday – Monday, August 24-27

Robin Pulich; David Rice,

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.










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,