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:
Phone: 559-760-1551

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.

Birding in Marin 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 Jim White
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Thursday, September 1, 2016
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. Each month she will be accompanied by a different local, knowledgeable birder who will help guide the large group that usually shows up for this popular monthly walk. This month's co-leader will be Jim White. 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. Recently observed species include Peregrine Falcon, White Pelican (30 of them!), Ring-billed Gull, and Caspian Tern. Try to bring a pair of binoculars, as well as some water. We'lll be walking about 2 miles on the levees surrounding the ponds. Directions: From Highway 101 take the Smith Ranch Road exit, then go east on Smith Ranch toward the McInnis Park entrance. Turn left immediately after 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, CA
Trip Leader(s): Lisa Hug
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:30 PM
Description: Celebrate World Shorebirds 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 on to 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: Drive north on Hwy 1 through Bodega Bay approximately .5 miles past Diekman's Store and go 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 parking lot (Rail Ponds) on the right, just shy of the northern most part of the harbor. If this is confusing—the GPS address is 1600 Bayflat Road. You can also Google "Rail Ponds Bodega Bay" to see photo maps.

Hamilton Wetlands
Location: Novato, CA
Trip Leader(s): David Sexton and Bill Jones
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Start Time: 8:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: In our continuing salute to World Shorebirds this month, Hamilton Wetlands Volunteers, David and Bill, will lead a trip to view the Hamilton Wetlands and celebrate the return of shorebirds to this former flight line and landing strip. The trip will start with a stop at the nursery where Nursery and Restoration Manager, Christina McWhorter, will give a brief update on the restoration and replanting progress. The outing will then cover both the east side and the southwest sides of the wetlands as we search for early returning shorebirds and ducks. We hope to see Sandpipers, Plovers, Yellowlegs, Willets, Long-billed Curlews, and Marbled Godwits. We may be fortunate enough to see some of the first Phalaropes, American Wigeons, Pintails, Ruddy Ducks, and Northern Shovelers of the fall migration as well as Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, Herons, Grebes, Gulls and Terns. Directions: The outing will start at the Novato Skate Park at 1200 Hamilton Parkway. Take Exit 459 from Highway 101 toward Ignacio Blvd, Bel Marin Keys Blvd. Turn right on Nave Drive, then left onto North Hamilton Pkwy. The skate park is on the left. We will carpool from there. We will finish at the south end of the wetlands at noon with parking at the pool and ball fields on Hanger Avenue.

Birding in Marin No 9 - Drakes Beach and the Fish Docks
Location: Pt Reyes National Seashore
Trip Leader(s): Jim White and Bob Battagin
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, September 17, 2016
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 & Block
Location: San Rafael, CA
Trip Leader(s): Bob Hinz and Jane Medley
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Monday, September 19, 2016
Start Time: 6:30 PM
End Time: 7:45 PM
Description: Join us at sunset for the opportunity to witness the Vaux's Swifts during their fall migration through Marin, which occurs in September and October. Dan McNear of McNear Brick & Block has kindly allowed access for our group to this remarkable site where smoke stacks no longer in use provide an important communal roosting spot for the swifts. We will have the opportunity to watch thousands of swifts as they descend into the stacks just before nightfall. At the peak of migration last year, over 29,000 swifts were counted in one evening! Sunset on the evening of our visit will be at 7:11 PM, so plan on arriving early to be ready. Bring scopes, binoculars, and, if desired, folding chairs for your seating comfort. It can be chilly at dusk. Please stay with our group and do not enter any of the private areas on this property. 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 Road. Turn in at the brickyard entrance and park by the side of the road.

Outer Point Vagrants (West Marin)
Location: West Marin
Trip Leader(s): Peter Colasanti
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Thursday, September 22, 2016
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: We will meet Peter at White House Pool and bird the area as the group gathers. Our itinerary for the day will depend on what has been happening in the area. This time of year, as Rich Stallcup said, "The O.P. never gets old. It’s never the same. For some of us, a year made up of 12 Septembers would be nice.” Directions: From Hwy 101 in Larkspur, take the Sir Francis Drake exit 20.4 miles to Olema. Turn right onto Hwy 1 and go 2 miles. Before the green bridge, turn left (continuing on Sir Francis Drake Blvd) and drive 0.7 mile. Look for the White House Pool sign and parking lot on the right.

Rodeo Lagoon
Location: Marin Headlands
Trip Leader(s): William Legge and David Wiechers
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, September 24, 2016
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 are likely to see over 60 species. With large numbers of birds moving through the area this time of year, it's sure to be interesting with unusual sightings a definite possibility. We will be targeting Parastic Jaeger, migrating shorebirds, warblers, and other passerines. We will begin the morning with a Sea Watch at 8 AM. Those arriving late may join us at 9 AM for a circuit of the Lagoon. 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 on Bunker Road to the Rodeo Lagoon Parking Lot at the end and meet by the bridge over the channel to the beach.

Farallon Islands Boat Trip
Location: Boat Departs from Clipper Yacht Harbor, Sausalito
Trip Leader(s): David Wimpfheimer
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Start Time: 7:30 AM
End Time: 4:00 PM
Description: Join us for our annual day of seabird and marine mammal watching as we head out to the Farallon Islands and offshore waters. Online registration for this trip will begin August 1. Sign up via the link below. The outing will be led by Naturalist David Wimpfheimer aboard Jim Robertson's power catamaran Outer Limits. On past trips we have sighted more than fourteen pelagic bird species, including albatrosses, shearwaters and auklets, as well as many sea lions, porpoises, dolphins and whales. We will get an up close look at the islands and learn about their interesting natural and human history. This is a trip that both experienced and first-time birders and nature lovers will enjoy. The cost will be $120 per person. Complete the online registration and include the name, email address and contact phone number of each participant. There is always a chance the trip may need to be rescheduled at the last minute due to sea conditions, so we need to be able to reach participants. We will send an email to participants a few days before the trip.

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