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Bird watchers
The unCommon Marin Birdwatcher, seen here in its winter plumage, often gathers in flocks at the sides of local ponds around Marin County. Photo Maggie Rufo

Field Trips

Marin Audubon Field Trips are open to the public. Bring lunch, field guide, and binoculars.

Information & Questions:

(415) 299-2514

Currently scheduled upcoming field trips are listed here by date in ascending order (i.e., soonest first). For a complete list of past and currently scheduled field trips click here.

Third Saturday Field Trip Series:  Jim White and Bob Battagin have graciously offered to lead a trip for Marin Audubon on the third Saturday of every month for 12 months. These trips are included in the list below. Click here for the complete list.

Mines Road and Del Puerto Canyon
Location: Livermore, CA
Trip Leader(s): Terry Colborn
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Saturday, April 18, 2015
Start Time: 7:30 AM
End Time: 4:30 PM
Description: THIS TRIP IS FULL. Long recognized as one of the premier springtime birding areas in the Bay Area to observe an array of resident species and Neotropical migrants, the combination of Mines Road and Del Puerto Canyon provides easy access to a number of unique habitats, including oak woodland, grasslands and chaparral. The bird list is quite impressive for this popular destination, and includes Costa's Hummingbird, Lewis's Woodpecker, Western Wood-Pewee, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Yellow-billed Magpie, Rock Wren, Canyon Wren; Nashville, Orange-crowned, Hermit, Yellow and MacGillivray's warblers; Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Black-headed Grosbeak, Bullock's Oriole, Western Tanager, Wood Duck and Lawrence's Goldfinch, just to name a few. The elusive Greater Roadrunner is reported annually. We'll also visit Del Valle Regional Park (fee) and Frank Raines Park. This all-day trek will start In Livermore on Saturday morning. There are a number of hotels in Livermore for those wishing to spend Friday night and thus eliminate the early Saturday morning departure from home. This is a very popular springtime trip and often fills up very quickly. Sign-ups are required, and are on a first-come, first-served basis. Carpooling is a must as there is very limited space for vehicles to park on Mines Road. To sign-up and receive further details, contact Terry Colborn at: tlcbirding@gmail.com, 530-312-9947; www.TLCBirding.com

Jean and John Starkweather Shoreline Park
Location: San Rafael, CA
Trip Leader(s): Rich Cimino
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Sunday, April 19, 2015
Start Time: 12:30 PM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Join guide Rich Cimino for an easy bird walk during a low tide. We will bird the shoreline of San Pablo Bay for diving ducks, grebes, peeps and gulls. We will also look for the Puget Sound variety of White-Crowned Sparrow. Bring your scope, water, snacks. We won't break for lunch, but there are restaurants nearby for lunch after our walk. Restrooms are available at the bird walk half way mark (Target Store). Meet in the parking lot for the Jean and John Starkweather Shoreline Park trailhead. Light rain will not stop the walk; a heavy rain will cancel. Take Hwy 101 to the Bellam Blvd exit. Proceed to Francisco Blvd, which is the access road next to I-580. Head east (toward the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge) for about 1.5 miles. You will see a Bay Cafe sign at the Bay Park Center. Turn left and continue straight to the trailhead parking area. For GPS, use the Bay Cafe address, 2165 Francisco Blvd., San Rafael.

Audubon Canyon Ranch's Modini Mayacamas Preserves
Location: Pine Flat Rd, Healdsburg
Trip Leader(s): Rich Cimino and David Self
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514i
Start Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 2:30 PM
Description: Audubon Canyon Ranch recently began managing this beautiful 3,300 acre preserve in the wilds of northern Sonoma County. The property features diverse habitats in a rugged landscape, including oak woodlands, pine forests, grasslands, natural springs and streams and serpentine outcrops. Rich Cimino will be our guide to the birds and David Self, the Resource Ecologist for the Preserve and a botanist, will be with us to talk about the landscape, wildflowers and fascinating natural and human history of this property There are no bathrooms or facilities on the Preserve but stop at the charming Jimtown Store on Hwy 128 just before you turn onto Pine Flat Road for a great breakfast or coffee and use the restroom there. Carpooling: Send me an email -vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com - with the subject line Mayacamas. Include your name, phone number, town you live in, and whether you can drive or need a ride. I will email you the list and you can arrange your own carpools. Directions: Take 101 North past Healdsburg to the Lytton Springs Rd exit toward Alexander Valley Road. Take Alexander Valley Rd (Hwy 128) to Pine Flat Road. Continue on Pine Flat Road for about 4.5 miles. . Pine Flat Rd. is paved but narrow in places. We will meet at the Ferguson Spring pullout. The GPS address is 8000 Pine Flat Road. Allow at least 1.5 hours from central Marin.

Big Rock/Loma Alta
Location: Lucas Valley, San Rafael, CA
Trip Leader(s): Dave Herrema and friends
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514i
Start Date: Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Start Time: 8:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: The north slope of Loma Alta above Lucas Valley Road is high and dry, with great vistas. This is not the place for a lot of species, but we should see some birds you may have not seen before, such as Grasshopper, Rufus-crowned and Lark Sparrows; Horned Larks; and Lazuli Buntings. Western Meadowlarks should provide the melody and Western Bluebirds are plentiful. This is also a great place for raptors. All are welcome to join us for a leisurely walk of about two miles roundtrip on a wide, graded road. Some of this is uphill. We will start early in the cool of the day but please bring a hat and plenty of water. Directions: Take Hwy 101 to Smith Ranch/Lucas Valley Rd exit, head west on Lucas Valley Road. Big Rock Trailhead is about 5 miles west of Hwy 101 on Lucas Valley Road. The trailhead is on top of the rise and a large solitary rock, "Big Rock" is on the right. Park on the south side of the road (turn back by making a safe turn on a driveway a bit further along on the right). Trail heads south from the starting point.

Las Gallinas Storage Ponds
Location: San Rafael, CA
Trip Leader(s): Susan Kelly, Len Blumin and friends
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Thursday, May 7, 2015
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: On the first Thursday of each month we meet for a birding walk around the Las Gallinas Storage Ponds just north of McInnis Park. Susan and Len are our gracious hosts. Birders of all levels are welcome. Each month the avian cast of characters will change, and we'll try to keep track of newly arriving species. Hawks are frequent and we see the graceful Northern Harrier on virtually every trip. This is great way to start learning the raptors, waterfowl, and other bird families, as well as getting tips on optics, birding books, and birding etiquette. Try to bring a pair of binoculars, as well as some water. We'll be walking about 2 miles on the flat levees that surround the ponds. Directions: From Highway 101 take the Smith Ranch Road exit, then east on Smith Ranch toward the McInnis Park entrance. Turn left immediately after crossing the railroad tracks, staying on Smith Ranch and go about .5 mi to the end of the road, at the Las Gallinas Ponds parking lot. Meet the group by the bridge just past the parking lot. Rest room facilities only at the parking area.

San Francisco Birding Hotspots
Location: San Francisco, CA
Trip Leader(s): Alan Hopkins
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Start Time: 8:00 AM
End Time: 2:00 PM
Description: Join us to explore some birding hot spots in eastern Golden Gate Park with Alan as our guide. We will meet in front of the San Francisco Botanical Gardens (but not bird there) at 8 when the parking is easier and the birding is best. We will start the day by looking for the Rustic Bunting if it is still around. We will then concentrate on some of eastern Golden Gate Park's other great birding spots. Our approximately 3 mile walk will include Stow Lake and Strawberry Hill, the De Laveaga/AIDS Dell, and the Fuchsia Gardens. There are plenty of options for lunch in the neighborhood after the trip. Directions: Meet in front of the Main Gate of the San Francisco Botanical Gardens located at 9th Ave and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, just inside the park. The address is 800 Lincoln Way. Look up the directions or use your GPS - there is no left turn onto Lincoln from 19th and no left turn from Lincoln into the Park.

The Heron and Egret Rookery of Santa Rosa
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Trip Leader(s): Emiko Condeso
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Start Time: 10:30 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Join us for a visit to an unexpected heron and egret nesting site in Santa Rosa, known locally as the Ninth Street Rookery. We will observe the nesting behavior of Great, Snowy, and Cattle Egrets and Black-crowned Night Heron. Over 300 nests have been active in previous years. Our guide will be Emiko Condeso, an ecologist with Audubon Canyon Ranch who has studied the rookery. Audubon Canyon Ranch and the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory monitor this rookery and others in the San Francisco Bay Area with the assistance of many volunteers. We will learn about volunteer opportunities with the project. Directions: Take Hwy 101 N to the Stony Point Road exit in Santa Rosa. Head west on Hwy 12 and then bear right on Stony Point to West 9th St. Continue to Simpson St on the right, where Emiko suggests we park. The rookery is in the median strip on West Ninth. The address is 950 West Ninth St. Be careful of traffic. Colin Talcroft recommends the excellent Vietnamese noodles at Pho Vietnam at 711 Stony Point Rd. if participants would like to convene for lunch.

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