Field Trips

May 1st, 2018

Mountain View Cemetery , Oakland
Sunday May 27, 8:00 — 11:00 a.m.
Gretchen Zantzinger,, (510) 710-9112

Birds can be discovered within pockets of urban landscapes such as Mountain View Cemetery. Though the majority of avian migrants may have already moved through the bay area, many birds will still be in their best breeding plumage!

Make your way to the upper part of the cemetery where we’ll meet at the third roundabout fountain.   Beginning there, we will view the birds that grace the grounds. We will bird our way past the retention ponds and then slowly climb the hill into the upper meadow grassland. We will head northeast through the cemetery and loop back along Millionaires’ Row. The hike has a moderate to strenuous climb for a portion of the trip, but the walk is mostly a gradual ascent and descent into the historic cemetery. Bring your binoculars, water, sun hat, snacks, and be sure to wear a good pair of light hiking boots or sneakers. Parking is free. Port-o-lets along the way. Location: 5000 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland. Google Maps link to main gate: Coordinates for the meeting spot inside the cemetery: 37.833072, -122.237466.

Del Valle Regional Park/ Photo by Carol Lombardi


June 2018 

Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley
Friday, June 1, 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 look for nesters and fledglings and compare and contrast “Birds of Berkeley” (Oliver James, 2018) and “Bird Notes Afield” (Charles A. Keeler, 1907). Young people who would enjoy the companionship of adult birders are welcome. Restrooms and water at the start and midway.


Lafayette Community Park, Lafayette
Sunday, June 3, 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.

Families with kids are encouraged. Heavy rain cancels.


San Francisco Botanical Garden
Sunday, June 3, 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.


Osprey Bay Cruise
3 cruise times Sunday June 10:00am, noon , and 2:00p.m.
Price:  $55 per person or $100 for 2 people

Ospreys are raising their young on the edge of the Bay, especially along Richmond’s shoreline which is a notable hotspot for this species. Over a dozen pairs of Ospreys will be busy catching fish and tending to their rapidly growing nestlings, with activity at many nests viewable from Tideline’s boat. This birdlife discovery charter cruise is a fundraiser for Golden Gate Audubon which has inspired tens of thousands of locals with its live stream project. Your narrator onboard will be Tony Brake who’s been monitoring the Bay’s Osprey population for several years. Come aboard for a delightful 90-minute survey of local Osprey families and marvel at these charismatic birds and their surprising nests.
Register for your choice of cruise here.


Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Oakland
June 8, 8:30 a.m. — 1:00 p.m.
(Second Friday bird walk; venue and leader varies by month)
Cathy Bleier, 510-414-5719,

We will walk about 2.5 miles through shrubs, grass, and woodland habitats. The hike has some gentle ups and downs.  Birds start quieting down in June but we will look for California Thrasher, Lazuli Bunting, Fox and Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Golden Eagles, and others. We’ll meet at the visitor’s center on Skyline Blvd., which is about 500 ft. southeast of the intersection with Grizzly Peak Blvd. From Berkeley take Highway 13 south to Moraga/Thornhill exit and follow Thornhill up to Snake Rd and left onto Skyline OR take 24 to Fish Ranch Road to Grizzly Peak to Skyline.  From Walnut Creek direction, take Fish Ranch Road to Grizzly Peak to Skyline. From Oakland, take CA 13, exit at Park Blvd, turn left on Mountain Blvd, right onto Snake Rd and left onto Skyline. Bathrooms and water at parking lot. Bring binoculars and check the weather to see if you’ll need a hat and sunscreen or mittens or both.  Heavy rain cancels (not likely but who knows!). You might consider snacks or lunch, in case we dawdle. Check out the Ebird list for this location at

Call or email me if you have questions. Google Maps link:


Five Brooks and Bear Valley Visitor Center, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County
Sunday, June 10, 8:30 a.m. — noon
Maureen Lahiff, 510.484.6529,

The weather should be favorable, and nesting birds should still be active feeding fledglings. We’ll visit a variety of habitats at these two places.

Meet at Five brooks, which is about 4 miles south of the intersection of Sir Francis Drake Blvd and California highway 1 in Olema. To reach this intersection, either take Sir Francis Drake all the way up from San Rafael or take US 101 to Lucas Valley Road across to Nicasio and around the reservoir. Walking on mostly level trails, about a mile at each site. Pit toilet at Five Brooks and full-service restrooms at Bear Valley Visitor Center. Weather variable, dress in layers. Bring water and trail snacks.

Short google URL for meeting point at Five Brooks:


Hilltop Lake Park, Richmond
Wednesday, June 13, 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. This month we’ll continue to look for Hooded Orioles, baby Coots, Pied-billed Grebe and Common Gallinule, plus swallows, hummingbirds, and other species. 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.


Tilden Park, Berkeley – Dusk Birdsong
Wednesday, June 13, 7:30 p.m.
Rusty Scalf,

Join us for dusk birdsong at Tilden Regional Park. Dawn chorus is much talked about, but birds sing in the evening as well. The star of this show will probably be Swainson’s Thrush though others sing well into in the evening. Once light fails we might hear an owl. Please park in the parking lot at the end of Canon Drive since the steel gate is closed at dusk. Canon Dr. is the northmost road into Tilden off the Grizzly Peak/Wildcat Canyon intersection. Google map link: Directions:


Corona Heights, San Francisco
Friday, June 15, 8:00 — 10:00 a.m.
(Third Friday bird walk)
Sarah Burton, (Leaders vary by month.)

Great views of the city and beyond meet us as we explore this hilltop park. We’ll be checking on permanent and seasonal resident species as well as watching for migrants in and over this surprisingly productive place. Trails are relatively good, but many require navigating stairs and ramps. Come to the walk and then visit the newly remodeled museum. Free parking is available at the end of Museum Way in the Randall Museum lot, and transit options are very good, with a bus along Roosevelt Way, and MUNI trains just below on Market Street. Google map:


California Historic Nursery Park, Fremont
Sunday June 17, 8:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Ryan Gilpin,, (925) 980-1256

California Nursery is a 21-acre park that was part of a commercial nursery dating back to 1884. Because of the history of plant breeding, experimenting and selling throughout the Bay Area, the park has a unique vegetation to the Bay Area. Over 120 tree taxa are packed into this little park that local wildlife have come to rely on.

While the main focus will be birds, this is a combined tree and bird trip. This is a very interesting site for anyone interested in trees. We can go over the basics to help describe which tree a bird is in to your friends, as well as some of the trickier species ID of non-native species that grow in the Bay Area.

Meet in the main parking lot (free) near the bathrooms (they are normally locked, so plan ahead). From 880, take Alvarado-Niles Road 4 miles east and the park will be on the right. The site is flat and there are a series of semi-maintained trails that we will use to explore the orchard, boxed forest, oaks, and palms transplanted from the 1915 World Fair.


Las Gallinas Storage Pond, San Rafael
Sunday, June 17, 8:00 — 11:00 a.m.
Miya Lucas,; 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 Ridgway’s Rails. One never knows what they might see or hear, but it’s also a good place to find Green Herons and look for the Least Bittern, which has been spotted again this winter. There are usually Northern Harriers and White-tailed Kites working the meadows and both Osprey and Bald Eagles have been sighted flying over the ponds. You just never know what you’ll see.

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. Families with interested young birders are welcome to join this walk. 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: Rain cancels.


Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
Sunday, June 17, 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. June’s walk comes after migration has ended, so our focus will be on nesting birds and year round residents.  Northern Rough Winged Swallows, Violet Green Swallows, Bushtits and  Red-Masked Parakeets have nested, so we’ll be looking for fledglings. We’ll also check out the Black Point Battery, and scan Aquatic Park for water birds. May 20th is also the day for Bay to Breakers so keep that in mind when coming across town to Fort Mason. Restroom in meadow, ample parking if there is no race on the waterfront (also easily accessible by transit). Heavy rain cancels. 


Lake Chabot Regional Park, Castro Valley
Tuesday, June 19, 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:


Dimond Park and Sausal Creek, Oakland
Wednesday, June 20, 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.
(Third Wednesday bird walk)
Penn Hughes, or (510) 499-5491 for messages.

We will loop through the lower creek area, then through the playground area, and then up Sausal Creek Meet at the parking lot above the recreation center. We will loop through the lower creek area, then through the playground area, and then up Sausal Creek. The car entrance to Dimond Park is at the corner of Hanly Road (from Lyman Road (Fruitvale Avenue)) and El Centro Avenue (from Park Blvd.)  The road loops left up to the parking lot. There are rest rooms in Dimond Park, for sure open later, perhaps NOT OPEN at 8:30am. 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!


Valle Vista Staging Area, Upper San Leandro Reservoir, Moraga
Friday, June 22, 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.


Lassen Volcanic National Park
Friday-Sunday, June 22, 23, 24
Leaders:  Dan and Joan Murphy, (415) 564-0074
Preferred means of communicating is by e-mail:

Join Dan and Joan on the annual GGAS family camping excursion to
Lassen.  In past years we have seen Black Swift, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Townsend’s Solitaire, Mountain Bluebird, Calliope Hummingbird, Black-backed Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker and many of the flycatchers, warblers and finches that breed in the mountains.

FRIDAY AND SUNDAY MORNINGS we will meet at the Manzanita Lake
Campground store at 7:00 a.m.  We will bird around the lake for 2-3
hours, return to camp for breakfast, then rendezvous again at the store at 10:45 a.m. for another outing.

FRIDAY we will take a leisurely hike of 3 to 5 miles on one of Lassen’s beautiful trails.  We may climb as much as 700′.  Wear sturdy shoes and bring lunch and liquids.  Suntan lotion, a hat, mosquito repellent and warm clothing may also be necessary.

SUNDAY we will drive through the park, making frequent stops for birding.  We usually stop birding and head for home or camp after lunch at Summit Lake Campground.

On SATURDAY, campers will meet by the camp store at 7:30 a.m. and caravan north to Burney Falls, Fall River Valley and Baum Lake. Those staying at the Hat Creek Resort can meet us at around 8:00 a.m. at the Vista Point about 12 miles north of Lassen on Hwys. 44 & 89.  Bring lunch and liquids.  Since this is a long and tiring day we suggest joining us for dinner at a local restaurant (if one is available) or for a picnic dinner. We’ll allow time to make a food and gas run into Burney. Please contact us by e-mail or phone to let us know if you are planning to attend. We will know our campsite number by then, so we’ll let you know. We may have to cut off attendance if the group is larger than in past years.

DIRECTIONS:  From the Bay Area drive north on I-5 to its junction with Hwy. 44 in Redding.  Go east on Hwy. 44 to the northwest entrance of Lassen.  Camping facilities are available at the Manzanita Lake Campground. Loops A and C by reservation only, loops B and D on a first-come-first-served basis. Reservations can be made online at or by calling 877.444.6777.

Lodging is available about 15 mi. north of the park at Hat Creek Resort, Old Station [530] 335-7121.  Other information can be obtained from the park headquarters, Mineral, CA 96063.   [$ at Lassen and Burney Falls]

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland
Wednesday, June 27, 9:30 a.m. – noon
(Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
Ruth Tobey, 510.717.3264,; Hilary Powers,

June is one of our quieter months, but the cormorant rookery will still be in full swing, and with any luck, Hank-the-rescue-pelican will have friends to keep him company. There’s never a bad time to see Lake Merritt….

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.


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,