Field Trips

February 1st, 2017
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 

This walk is full but you can contact Bob to be on a wait list. 

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 

This walk is full but you can contact Bob to be on a wait list. 

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. 

April Trips


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.

 

San Francisco Botanical Garden
Sunday, April 2, 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.

 

Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley
Friday, April 7, 8:30 — 11:30 a.m.
(First Friday bird walk)
Alan Kaplan, LNKPLN67@gmail.com or (510) 526-7609 for messages.

Warblers Today! The Birds of North America pamphlets for Orange-crowned and Wilson Warblers were researched here in the Tilden Nature Area! We’ll look for these warblers and their companions on the road to Jewel Lake and boardwalk.

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!

 

UCSF Mt. Sutro Open Space Preserve. San Francisco
Saturday April 9. 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 should see a few remaining winter birds along with migrants, returning summer birds, 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; email 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. Hike a short distance uphill on Johnstone Drive to the UCSF Aldea Community Center (on your left across from the intersection of Medical Center Way on the right). Allow 5-10 min to park and walk to the meeting place. 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

 

The second Friday walk is taking Birdathon month off and will return.

 

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.

 

Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
Sunday, April 16, 8:00 — 10:00 a.m.
(Third Sunday bird walk)
David Assmann, david_assmann@yahoo.com 

In April, migration should be in full swing, with warblers, vireos and flycatchers making their way north. We’ll be looking for Black-Throated Gray and Wilson’s Warblers; Cassin’s and Warbling Vireos; Pacific-Slope and Olive-Sided Flycatchers; Western Tanagers and Black-Headed Grosbeaks.  The summering Hooded Orioles should have arrived as well. 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. Map: http://goo.gl/maps/RKZwU 

 

Blake House Garden, 70 Rincon Road, Kensington 94707
Wednesday April 19, 8:30 — 10:00 a.m.
(Third Wednesday bird walk)
Penn Hughes, penn.hughes@att.net or (510) 499-5491 for messages.

(GPS or) Go to Marin Circle in Berkeley, and then proceed on The Arlington, north toward Kensington. It is 2.4 miles, an estimated 7 minutes from Marin Circle to Blake House. Pass through the town center and on to Rincon Road, which angles off The Arlington to the left. The house and garden, and parking, are all on the left of Rincon Road. Rest rooms available. Please, no dogs. 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!

 

Corona Heights, San Francisco
Friday, April 21, 8 — 10 a.m.
(Third Friday bird walk)
Rob Cullison, robbo50@sbcglobal.net (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 

 

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
Wednesday, April 26, 9:30 a.m. – noon
(Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
And it’s also a GGAS Centennial bird walk
Hilary Powers, 510.834.1066, hilary@powersedit.com; Ruth Tobey, 510.717.3264, ruthtobey@gmail.com

Spring has pretty well sprung at the lake, but you can probably still see Double-crested Cormorants with their crests. The Ruddy Ducks and Eared and Horned Grebes will be putting on their party clothes, too. Come see the winter migrants before they all depart! We’ll also spend a little time discussing GGAS’ role in preserving this important wildlife refuge.

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. 

 

Chain of Lakes, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
GGAS Centennial bird walk
Sunday, April 30, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Mitch Youngman (mitchyoungman@gmail.com) and Bonnie Brown (bbswimgirl@yahoo.com)

This easy ‘walk through the park’ will be on mostly paved trails.  We’ll be looking for our year-round residents and our winter visitors. We’ll also be 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. As part of the GGAS Centennial, we’ll talk a little about the chapter’s involvement in various conservation issues in the park over the years.

Restrooms and water fountain located near North Lake.  Heavy rain cancels.

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.

 

Further Out


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.

 

Birding in the Sierra classes
June 1-4 OR June 8-11

Bob Lewis, Rusty Scalf, and Eddie Bartley

Our Birds of the Sierra classes include four days of field trips! There are two sessions, both held near Yuba Pass, between Sierra City and Sierraville. Classes include six half-day field trips to different habitats in Sierra Valley and its surroundings, as well as a lecture and dinner at SFSU’s Sierra Campus in Bassetts.

Birds we may see include many Sierra specialties: Swainson’s Hawk, Sandhill Crane, White-headed and Lewis’s Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Calliope Hummingbird, Empidonax flycatchers, Mountain Chickadee, Mountain Bluebird, Sage Thrasher, MacGillivray’s and Hermit Warbler, Western Tanager, Green-tailed Towhee and Brewer’s and Vesper Sparrow.

  • Birds of the Sierra I, taught by Rusty Scalf and Bob Lewis, meets from 3 p.m. Thursday June 1st to noon on Sunday June 4th.
  • Birds of the Sierra II, taught by Eddie Bartley and Bob Lewis, meets from 3 p.m. Thursday June 8th to noon on Sunday June 11th.

Each class is limited to 25 people. The fee of $165 (or $185 for non-GGAS members)  includes one dinner. Room and other meals are not included in the fee. A more detailed itinerary will be sent upon registration. Questions? Email Bob Lewis at bob@wingbeats.org.

Session 1 is FULL but you may click here to register for the waiting list (June 1st through 4th).

There are still lots of spaces in Session 2! Click here to register for Session 2 (June 8th through 11th).

 

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.