Field Trips

December 23rd, 2013
 Check out our special Birdathon trips during April! We also have some regular field trips:
Birdathon with Alan Kaplan
Friday, April 11 (replaces regular Second Friday bird walk)

Please note that Alan is leading a “Return of the Mac?” walk for Birdathon instead of his usual 2nd Friday bird walk. See details and sign up in advance on our Birdathon Trips page. 

Napa River Boat Trip with Dolphin Charters
Saturday April 12, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Laura Gobbi
This trip is now FULL and has a waiting list.

Journey up the Napa River to a world of hidden backwaters and wildlife that you would never see from the highway! Starting at the historic Vallejo waterfront, you’ll view numerous Osprey nests at Mare Island. Then you’ll move into a world of vineyards,  backwater homes and some of the largest contiguous marshes in the Bay Area. See Osprey, egrets, diving ducks and grebes and learn about one of the largest tidal marsh restoration projects in the country. Trip costs $75 for GGAS members or $85 for non-members.

Dolphin Charters is generously donating all proceeds from this trip to Golden Gate Audubon as part of Birdathon 2014!  

Trip limited to 25 participants, after which there will be a waiting list. Bring lunch and layered clothing. Click here to sign up.

Alameda Creek-Coyote Hills Regional Park by bicycle.
Saturday, Apr 12, 2014. 10 a.m. – ~3:30 p.m.
Jeffrey Black, (510) 526-7068, and Pat Greene, (415) 566-6637, cell on ride (415) 321-9013,

We’ll cycle about 20 nearly flat miles from Union City BART along Alameda Creek and into Coyote Hills Regional Park looking for ducks and shorebirds in breeding plumage, as well as resident raptors. Bring binoculars and snacks, lunch and water; wear layers. Helmets required. Restrooms are located at the BART station, at a staging area along the creek, and at the Coyote Hills Visitor Center, where we will eat lunch (lunch will be late). This birding ride is co-listed with Grizzly Peak Cyclists. Meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Union City BART station by the ticket machines (BART departs downtown Berkeley at 9:06 a.m. arriving at 9:53. BART riders from SF, Dublin, Pittsburgh should be on the same train via transfer). Rain Cancels. If the weather is questionable, send your e-mail address to Pat to receive news on the status of the ride.

NOTE: This is not a Birdathon field trip and so does not require a Birdathon donation. But trip leader Pat Greene has created a fundraising page to help raise money for Golden Gate Audubon. Any size donation will help toward the fundraising goal!

Birdathon with Carlo Arreglo 
Sunday, April 14  (replaces monthly North Beach bird walk)

Please note that instead of his usual monthly North Beach/Telegraph Hill trip, Carlo Arreglo will be leading a Birding in Downtown San Francisco trip for Birdathon on Sunday April 14. See our Birdathon Trips page and sign up!

Corona Heights, San Francisco
Friday, April 18, 8 – 10 a.m.
Brian Fitch; Dominik Mosur, (Leaders vary by month.) 

Meet in front of the Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, at the end of Museum Way off Roosevelt. 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. 

Aquatic Park and Waterfront, San Francisco
Saturday, April 19, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Carol Kiser, 415.447.5000 

On this walk for children and beginners, and all others, we will look for resident and migrating birds. Meet at the entrance to the Hyde Street Pier at Hyde and Jefferson on the western border of Fisherman’s Wharf. Nearby parking is at the foot of Van Ness Ave. (free for 4 hours), Ghirardelli Square, and the Anchorage. Dress in layers, wear wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, and bring binoculars and guide books if you have them.  (We can provide binoculars and books if you don’t).

Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco
Sunday, April 20, 8 – 10 am

David Assmann, 

Meet in front of the Community Garden to explore several different habitats in this compact part of GGNRA. The focus this month will be looking for migrants.  The garden will have a variety of land birds, including possibly Orioles arriving for the summer and sparrows migrating through. We’ll also check out the Black Point Battery for flycatchers and warblers, and scan Aquatic Park for water birds.  We had 46 species in March – expect 35 – 45 species in April. Although this is not an official Birdathon trip,  I encourage everyone to contribute to Golden Gate Audubon’s Birdathon. Restroom in meadow, ample parking if there is no race on the waterfront (also easily accessible by transit). Heavy Rain cancels. Google Map: 

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland, Alameda County
Wednesday, April 23, 9:30 a.m. – noon
Hilary Powers, 510.834.1066,; Ruth Tobey, 510.528.2093, 

Come enjoy springtime at the lake – including Double-crested Cormorants wearing their bunny-ear crests for sure in March, and perhaps in April too!

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. 

Take the 12, N, or NL bus to Grand and Perkins, and walk into the park on Perkins. Best parking is at the boathouse lot near the spherical cage. Entry, via Bellevue near  Children’s Fairyland, is $2 if the kiosk is occupied when you arrive (which it probably will be). Buy a 2-hour ticket and try to park in the boathouse lot, where no one checks how long cars are parked.


Further Out


Mosquito Ridge Rd., Placer County
Saturday, May 3, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Rusty Scalf,; Steve and Carol Lombardi,, cell 925/785-0130

We’ll bird Mosquito Ridge Rd. from Foresthill (3,200′ elevation) to French Meadows Reservoir (5,800′ elevation), a drive of about 40 miles that transects several habitats including chaparral, pine-oak woodland, and montane forest. We’ll eat lunch and do a short hike at the half-way point, the beautiful Big Trees grove. The trip will end at French Meadows Reservoir.

Mosquito Ridge Rd. starts in the town of Foresthill, 20 miles (a 30 min. drive) from Auburn and 130 miles (about 2 hours) from Berkeley. There is no gas or food after Foresthill, so participants should be self-sufficient. There will be a couple of restroom stops along the way. This trip will be mainly car-birding, with some moderate walking.

In addition to birds, trees are quite an interesting aspect of this trip and will be part of our commentary. Tree communities change with elevation, and entire life zones are often defined by the dominant tree. We will see trees of limited distribution or with interesting taxonomic relationships. We shall visit the northernmost grove of Giant Sequoia. We’ll see a California endemic of limited occurrence whose only relatives are in China, Japan and Florida. Can you guess which one?

If you’d like to do some reading beforehand, we suggest Michael Pollan’s wonderful article in the New Yorker, “The Intelligent Plant.” Read the article and we can argue about whether an oak is smarter than the average field trip leader.

Participation is by sign-up. Carpooling along Mosquito Ridge Rd. will be mandatory because we need to limit the number of cars for safety reasons. Please don’t sign up if you’re not willing to carpool during the birding portion of the trip. We would also like to caution that this is a long day if you’re driving from the Bay Area. You might wish to stay overnight nearby before or after the trip. Contact Steve to be put on the list. We will provide meeting and trip details to confirmed participants. 

Bird & POLE Walk - Pacifica, San Mateo County
Saturday, May 10 from 9 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m.
Jayah Faye Paley,, 415-699-3333 

Join us for a lovely coastal bird walk and learn about how using poles can help you maintain mobility as well as improve:

  • Endurance
  • Confidence
  • Performance on the trail
  • Spine function
  • Posture
  • Strength 

Our guide for this exploration and group training is Jayah Faye Paley of  Jayah is a birder and outdoor enthusiast.  She teaches for many organizations, including East Bay Regional Park District, Point Reyes National Seashore, Yosemite & Rock Mountain National Parks, State Parks, Cities of Pacifica, Berkeley, Albany, Santa Rosa and many more.

A variety of top quality poles will be provided.   We’ll meet at Jayah’s home in Pacifica where you can get fitted for poles (or bring your own).  After a brief discussion and bathroom break, we’ll head over to the entrance to Mori Point via a little known trailhead that puts us right into the heart of GGNRA’s lovely open space.

Email the leader at to sign up and get more info.  Expect a confirmation by return email.  If you do not get it, please call the leader at 415-699-3333.  Participation is limited, so please register early if you’re interested and be sure to advise leader if you’re unable to make it so someone else can register.  If you have a question about poles, please visit Jayah’s website:

Arrive between:  8:30 to 9  (early birders get coffee cake and tea)
Discussion & Gearing up:  9 to about 9:45
Pole and Bird Walk:  10 to about 12:30
Lunch – if weather permits, there’s a lovely place along the beach for lunch.


Yosemite’s Bird Life 
Friday through Sunday, May 30-June 1, 2014
Dave Quady, (510) 704-9353 or, and Dave Cornman. 
This trip is full, and so is its waiting list. Check the GGAS website in October 2014 for information about June 2015′s Yosemite’s Bird Life field trip.

The lower and middle elevations of Yosemite National Park are usually alive with singing birds in late May/early June.  Its varied habitats typically support a rich diversity of bird life, including seven flycatchers (three Empidonax), seven warblers, three vireos, and many other species in full song and breeding plumage. How will 2013’s Rim Fire affect the area’s bird life? Let’s try to find out.


Pelagic Trips

See birds of the open water! (And maybe some marine mammals.) Both Shearwater Journeys and Alvaro’s Adventures offer discounts to GGAS members. Register in advance since these trips often fill up.

Shearwater Journeys Pelagic Trips

Led by Debi Shearwater. Info at

As a member of GGAS for the past 38 years, Debi Shearwater offers the following discounts to GGAS members: Monterey trips, discounted from $154 to $125; Bodega Bay trips discounted from $198 to 173; Half Moon Bay discounted from $186 to $155. All discounted trips are non-refundable, non-transferable for any reason.

Monterey Bay (parking $5 with our voucher) is one of the world’s top marine ecosystems. Trips from Half Moon Bay (parking is free) often see the Farallon Islands in the distance, often called North America’s “galapagos.” Half Moon Bay trips are easily reached from the Bay Area. Our trips departing from Bodega Bay (parking is free) have been operating since 1980. These trips have produced more “mega” rare seabirds than any other one day offshore trips from any other harbor in all of North America.  All vessels are inspected by the USCG.

RESERVATIONS: Your check guarantees your reservation. Please include name, address, cell/home phone and email address for each person booking and mail to: Shearwater Journeys, POB 190, Hollister, CA 95024. Questions, email: You will receive a return confirmation letter with all of the trip details. See you out there!


Alvaro’s Adventures Pelagic Trips

Led by Alvaro Jaramillo. Check the website for descriptions, pricing, and availability:





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 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 and ask to receive the Field Trips e-newsletter. Include your name, preferred email address, plus (for our records) your postal address.

Our Field Trips are also listed on Meetup, a web site that helps people find local events that interest them. If you join Meetup, you can get individual email reminders for each GGAS field trip, or download the schedule to your Outlook or Google calendar. See


Other Bay Area Bird Walks

Mike Simms compiles a quarterly list of bird walks throughout the Bay Area, including walks by other Audubon chapters. For his current calendar, see: Simms_Birding_Calendar_Oct-Dec_2013  There is also a Meetup page that lists birding walks and events throughout the Bay Area: