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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 all 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.

Las Gallinas Storage Ponds
Location: San Rafael, CA
Trip Leader(s): Susan Kelly and friends
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514 or Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Thursday, September 3, 2015
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Susan has graciously agreed to lead our Thursday walks again this year, continuing a tradition started years ago by Bruce Bajema. Len Blumin will join us on the September walk. 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. 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 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.

Bodega Bay
Location: Bodega Bay
Trip Leader(s): Lisa Hug
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514 or Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, September 12, 2015
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:30 PM
Description: Spend a day at Bodega Bay during the fall migration when just about anything can happen. We'll meet at the Rail Ponds at 8:30 AM. We will make some stops for shorebirds and then move on to Owl Canyon, Sonoma County's premier vagrant trap, and then onto a sea watch at Bodega Head. From the Head we'll return clockwise around Bodega Harbor with likely stops at Campbell Cove, Owl Canyon again, Porto Bodega and winding up at Doran Park (entrance fee) where we sometimes find Snowy Plovers. Directions to the Rail Ponds - Take 101 North, exiting on East Washington, the third Petaluma Exit. East Washington becomes Bodega Avenue, follow it through Two Rock, and Valley Ford to Bodega Bay. Drive through town past Diekman's and the Boat House and take the left on Eastshore Road, right at the bottom of the hill on Bayflat Road. Drive to the harbor shore where you'll find the horse trailer (Rail Ponds) parking lot on the right, just shy of the northern most part of the harbor. There should be some horse trailers there by then to let you know you are the right place. If this is confusing, the GPS address is 1600 Bayflat Rd. You also can Google Rail Ponds Bodega Bay to see photo maps.

No. 5, Birding in Marin Series
Location: Drakes Beach and the Fish Docks
Trip Leader(s): Jim White and Bob Battagin
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514 or Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, September 19, 2015
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: September is the most surprising month of birding here as many juvenile birds make their first migration south and west without the aid of Google. Some western migrants such as Nashville, Hermit and Black-throated Gray Warblers may be in the Point Reyes tree islands and we sometimes see more unusual Eastern species. Drakes Bay also begins to harbor wintering species like Red-necked Grebes, Marbled Murrelets and Loons. We will picnic early and then head over to the Fish Docks and/or the Point Reyes Light House. Directions: Meet at the Drakes Beach parking lot near the monument. Take Sir Francis Drake west to Highway 1 in Olema, then take Highway 1 north and turn left onto Sir Francis Drake Boulevard (just after the Marin Sun Farms shop and just before you get to Point Reyes Station). Alternately, take Novato Boulevard or Lucas Valley Road and Nicasio Valley Road west to Point Reyes-Petaluma Road and follow it to Highway 1. Turn left on Highway 1 and head through downtown Point Reyes Station, then turn right after the bridge onto Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. Follow Sir Francis Drake Boulevard through Inverness out to Point Reyes National Seashore. Keep going until you get to the Drakes Beach Road where you'll bear left. Expect about a 35-minute drive from Point Reyes Station to Drakes Beach.

Vaux's Swifts at McNear Brick and Block
Location: San Rafael, CA
Trip Leader(s): Bob Hinz
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514 or Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Start Time: 6:30 PM
End Time: 7:30 PM
Description: Join leader Bob Hinz at McNear Brick and Block for a brief talk and to witness the remarkable Vaux's Swift migration that passes through Marin in September and October. Smoke stacks no longer in use at the brickyard provide an important communal roosting spot for the Vaux's Swifts during their seasonal migrations. We will have the opportunity to watch thousands of swifts as they descend into the stacks just before nightfall. At the peak of last year's migration, 20,000 swifts were counted in one evening! Raptors too are attracted to the large flocks of birds. Sunset on the evening of our visit will be about 7PM so we will meet at 6:30 to be ready. Bring scopes, binoculars, and, if desired, folding chairs for your seating comfort. It can be chilly at dusk. Birding experts seeking greater understanding and appreciation of this phenomenon have been counting and monitoring the movement of these swifts since 2010. Citizen scientists are helping with this fascinating project. Ask Bob for details about this opportunity. Directions: From Hwy 101 take the Central San Rafael exit. Head east on Point San Pedro Road for about 3 miles. The brickyard will be on the right. The address is 1 McNear Brickyard Rd. Park along the road to the brickyard and enter through the gate.

Rodeo Lagoon
Location: Marin Headlands
Trip Leader(s): William Legge and David Wiechers
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514 or Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, September 26, 2015
Start Time: 8:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Join William and David for a morning of birding at Rodeo Lagoon. This is their "patch" and we should see over 60 species, targeting Parasitic Jaeger and migrating shore birds, warblers and other passerines. We will begin the morning with a Sea Watch at 8 AM, followed by a circuit of the Lagoon beginning about 8:45 AM. Directions: Five Minute Tunnel: Head south on Hwy 101 and take the last Sausalito exit just before the Golden Gate Bridge. At the exit stop sign, turn right and go under the freeway, then follow the road down to the left. Within 300 feet you see a left turn signposted to the Marin Headlands (this is the only available left turn before you begin the descent into Sausalito). You should see a tunnel with a five-minute light. Proceed through the tunnel onto Bunker Road. Follow Bunker Road to the parking lot at the end and meet by the bridge over the channel to the beach. If the tunnel is closed, use Conzelman Road. Take the last Sausalito exit off Hwy 101. At the exit stop sign, turn left and then immediately right onto Conzelman Road (up the hill). Continue winding up and around the Marin Headlands, passing a number of historic military batteries along the way. After one mile you will come to a traffic roundabout where you will take the first turn-off to the right. This is McCullough Road, which you will take down the hill to Bunker Road. Turn left onto Bunker Road and proceed for about 2.5 miles taking various forks to the right. You will see Rodeo Lagoon on your left. Follow road to parking lot at end and meet by the bridge over the channel to the beach.

Niven Park
Location: Corte Madera Creek
Trip Leader(s): Rich Cimino and Janet Bodle
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514 or Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, October 3, 2015
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Join Rich and Janet for a walk along Corte Madera Creek. Rich has been birding in California for over 40 years and leads tours throughout the west and Alaska. Rich and Janet live on Corte Madera Creek and bird the area daily. The trip is planned to take advantage of the tides in the creek and we will look for ducks, waders, peeps, sparrows and fall visitors. Directions: We will meet at 300 Drakes Landing Rd. in Greenbrae. From Hwy 101 take Sir Francis Drake Blvd. going west and take the first left onto Barry Way (just before the Bon Air Shopping Center). Then go left again onto Drakes Landing Rd. From the parking lot walk under the arch of the 300 building onto the deck by the water. We will walk west from here.

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