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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.

Las Gallinas Storage Ponds Thursday Morning Walk
Location: Las Gallinas Storage Ponds San Rafael
Trip Leader(s): Susan Kelly, Len Blumin and friends
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Thursday, October 2, 2014
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Birders of all levels are welcome on this first Thursday walk. Each month the avian cast of characters will change, and we will 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.

Monterey Bay Pelagic Birding Weekend
Location: Monterey Bay
Trip Leader(s): Terry Colborn
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Saturday, October 11, 2014
End Date: Sunday, October 12, 2014
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Terry Colborn is leading a weekend birding trip to the Monterey Bay area, October 11-12, 2014, for Marin and Yolo Audubon Societies. This two-day trip to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula will feature a pelagic trip on Saturday with Monterey Seabirding (www.montereyseabirding.com) and land birding on Sunday. Monterey Seabirding uses a local skipper with over 30 years experience. Leaders and spotters include Roger Wolfe, Dan Singer, Blake Matheson and Todd Easterla. All four are seasoned, life-long birders and have exceptional knowledge of the status and distribution of California birds. This two-day trip is planned to coincide with fall seabird migration. Over the years, the Monterey Bay/Elk Horn Slough areas have produced some excellent vagrants and a nice array fall of migrants. Possible areas to be visited on Sunday include, Salinas River State WMA, Moss Landing, Moonglow Dairy and Elkhorn Slough. Specific locations will be determined prior to the weekend, and will be based upon up-to-date information on any rare bird sightings, weather conditions, tides, etc. There will also be an optional group dinner on Saturday night. This very popular weekend pelagic trip is limited to a maximum of 25 participants. The cost is only $110 per person, still a bargain compared to other local pelagic tour operator's fees. Sign-ups will be taken on a first come, first served basis. Make your checks payable to Terry Colborn and mail to: 1714 Magnolia Place, Davis, CA 95618. Include each participant's full name, address, a cell phone number and email. Your payment in full is your reservation. Your space will be confirmed upon receipt of your check. In the event the boat trip is cancelled by Monterey Seabirding, due to weather conditions, etc., participants will receive a full refund. If a participant cancels out, a full refund is provided only if someone is able to fill your spot, otherwise no refund is available. Meeting details and accommodations information will be sent to all participants well in advance of the trip. For questions, contact Terry at TLCBirding@gmail.com, or by phone: 530.312.9947.

Birding in Marin Series, No 6
Location: Marin Headlands Visitor Center, GGNRA
Trip Leader(s): Jim White and Bob Battagin
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Saturday, October 18, 2014
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Join Jim and Bob the the sixth trip in their year-long series to visit the seasonal Marin birding hotspots. Please meet at the pedestrian bridge to Cronkite Beach over the ocean-side neck of Rodeo Lagoon. There are restrooms nearby and ample parking. We are going to search the shores and waters of the lagoon, scan the ocean, and look in the trees around the old military buildings. We expect to see some ducks, shorebirds and gulls and some migrating passerines. Then we intend to drive (please carpool) to the Point Bonita area to look for rocky shore birds before driving up to Hawk Hill for lunch and raptor viewing. Experts on the hill will help us spot and identify passing raptors, like Sharp-shinned and Broad-winged Hawks and perhaps a Merlin. Directions: From Hwy 101 just west of the Golden Gate Bridge take the Sausalito exit about 1/4 mile, then left on Bunker Road through the one-way tunnel road to the end of Cronkite Beach.

Fall Vagrants at Bodega Bay
Location: Bodega Bay
Trip Leader(s): Peter Colasanti
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 3:30 PM
Description: Spend a day at Bodega Bay in prime vagrant season when just about anything can happen. We'll meet at the Rail Ponds at 9 AM; from there we'll make some stops for shorebirds before the tide gets too low. By then there should be good activity at Owl Canyon, Sonoma County's premier vagrant trap, where we'll stop en route to seawatch at Bodega Head before the wind awakens and with the sun at our backs. From the Head we'll return clockwise around Bodega Harbor with likely stops at Campbell Cove, Owl Canyon again, Porto Bodega and finally at Doran Park where there's always an entrance fee and sometimes Snowy Plovers. Directions: Take 101 North and exit 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. Take the left on Eastshore Road, turn right at the bottom of the hill on Bayflat Road and 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 9:00 AM to let you know you are in the right place. If this is confusing, the GPS address is 1600 Bayflat Road or you can Google "Rail Ponds Bodega Bay" to see photo maps.

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, November 6, 2014
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Birders of all levels are welcome on this first Thursday walk. 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.

Birding in Marin Series No 7 - Limantour Beach and Estero
Location: Pt Reyes National Seashore
Trip Leader(s): Jim White and Bob Battagin
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Saturday, November 15, 2014
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Join us for the 7th trip in Jim and Bob's year-long series. We will meet at the Limantour parking lot in the Point Reyes National Seashore where there are restrooms and ample parking. We intend to hike up the beach until we find Snowy Plovers, Brandt and the declining White-winged Scoters. We will walk back on the Estero side expecting to see more shorebirds and ducks. After lunch (bring your own) we intend to walk a ways up the Sky Trail to look for fir forest birds. Directions: Take Sir Frances Drake to Bear Valley Road south of Inverness Park, then take Limantour Road South/West to its end at the parking lot, about 8 miles.

LEFT of the FAULT - Point Reyes BIG DAY BLAST
Location: Pt Reyes Station
Trip Leader(s): Keith Hansen
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Monday, November 17, 2014
Start Time: 7:30 AM
End Time: 5:00 PM
Description: Join renowned bird artist Keith Hansen for a full, fine-feathered day of late fall birding at Point Reyes. Sometimes thought of as "too late" for fall migrants, November is often an underappreciated time for finding rare birds. We will attempt to see at least 100 species "West of the San Andreas Fault!" We will meet at the Bovine Bakery on A Street in the town of Point Reyes Station at 7:30 AM, where folks can get coffee and a pastry and find rest rooms. From there, we'll carpool out to the outer point hitting as many of the migrant traps as is possible. Time permitting we'll increase the list by hitting the Teal Ponds, Heart's Desire Beach, and maybe Bear Valley and Five Brooks. This is an all-day trip that is not for the faint of heart or those just looking for a leisurely bird walk. Bring a lunch and plenty of liquids. Be dressed for good, to less than good weather. Feel free to bring a scope. Only a big storm will cause us to cancel. Sign-up is required, as the number of participants is limited. Contact Len Blumin from 9 AM November 1st up to 5PM on Friday November 7th if you wish to sign up. Email Len at LBlumin@aol.com, or call 415-388-4990. After 5 PM November 7th the trip slots will be filled and the participants notified. Any vacant slots after that will be allotted on a first come, first served basis.

Corte Madera Ecological Reserve and MAS
Location: Corte Madera Ecological Reserve
Trip Leader(s): Roger Harris and Meryl Sundove
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Sunday, November 23, 2014
Start Time: 2:00 PM
End Time: 5:00 PM
Description: Join Roger, Meryl, and myriads of wintering shorebirds and waterfowl. Here we will see salt marsh that has never been diked and supports three endangered species: Ridgeway's (a.k.a. Clapper) Rail, Black Rail, and Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse. Next door is marsh that the Marin Audubon Society restored and - the focus of this visit - the (currently upland) 5.2-acre parcel to be acquired and restored. A level, but perhaps muddy, 3/4-mile walk on levees will take us to the Corte Madera Shorebird Marsh and then the open San Francisco Bay. Environmental educator Meryl and certified wildlife biologist Roger have lived nearly 30 years near this marsh, and Roger is the lead author of its management plan. Bring binoculars and, if you have one, a spotting scope to share. Rain cancels. DIRECTIONS: From I-101 in Larkspur, take the Lucky Drive Exit 450A east, pass the Cost Plus Shopping Center, and turn right on Industrial Way, which dead ends less than 1000 feet at the dirt California Fish and Wildlife Department parking lot, where we will meet.

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