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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, February 4, 2016
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Join Susan and Len for a walk around the Las Gallinas Storage Ponds. Birders of all levels are welcome. Winter is a busy time at the ponds and provides an opportunity to study ducks and geese. Hawks are frequent and we see the graceful Northern Harrier on virtually every trip. River otters are often seen too. Dress for all weather and bring water. We'll be walking about 2 miles on the levees that surround the ponds. Heavy rain cancels. 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. Late arrivals should easily be able to find the group. Rest room facilities only at the parking area.

Sacramento Delta Boat Trip
Location: Antioch, CA
Trip Leader(s): David Wimpfheimer
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514 or Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Sunday, February 7, 2016
Start Time: 8:15 AM
End Time: 4:30 PM
Description: This trip is full. Dolphin Charters has another trip scheduled for February 12 so contact them at 415-454-3191.

Skaggs Island and Hudeman Slough Sonoma County
Location: Sonoma County
Trip Leader(s): Murray Berner
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514 or Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, February 13, 2016
Start Time: 8:45 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Murray Berner has led trips for Napa-Solano Audubon for many years and is the author of the recently published Solano Co. Breeding Bird Atlas. Murray knows the marshes well and has access to Skaggs Island, which is closed to the general public. Skaggs Island, a former naval facility, was transferred to the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, adding more than 3,000 acres to the refuge. February is peak season for raptors, with lots of kites, harriers and red-tails; and always a few falcons, large and small. Short-eared Owl and Burrowing Owl are winter residents. We will meet at the entrance to Skaggs Island off of Hwy 37 and travel by car across the island, stopping to bird along the way. We will then move on to Hudeman Slough in Carneros where we will bird on foot, a 1.5 mile walk to overlook flooded lowlands, grassland and interesting holding ponds. Expect Ferruginous Hawk, Loggerhead Shrike and large flocks of waterfowl. Dress in layers and sturdy shoes and bring lunch and water. Heavy rain cancels. Directions: Take Hwy 101 north to Hwy 37E. At the intersection with SR 121 (Sonoma Raceway), continue straight on Hwy 37 for 3.8 miles and turn left at Skaggs Island Road. Hudeman Slough is located at 25696 Ramal Road. No restrooms available at either site.

Sears Point Ranch on San Pablo Bay
Location: Reclamation Road, Sonoma County
Trip Leader(s): Julian Meisler
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514 or Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Start Time: 9:30 AM
End Time: 1:00 PM
Description: Julian Meisler, the Bayland Program Manager for Sonoma Land Trust, will lead our trip to see the recently restored 1,000-acre tidal wetland at Sears Point. This excursion will highlight the latest design in tidal marsh restoration and provide wonderful opportunities for waterfowl and shorebird viewing. Directions from Marin: (Drive time from San Rafael approx. 25 minutes). Exit U.S. 101 onto Highway 37, east toward Vallejo. The first stop light you encounter is at Lakeville Highway. Take a right here onto Reclamation Road. Parking area is on the left about ΒΌ mile down the road.

No.11, Birding in Marin Series - Nicasio Reservoir
Location: Nicasio, CA
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, February 20, 2016
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: We will meet at the backstop to the baseball field in the small West Marin hamlet of Nicasio. There, riparian, open field, and wooded habitats are good for a nice variety of sparrows, gleaners, and woodpeckers. Then we'll head over to nearby Nicasio Reservoir and make several stops along the shoreline. Many water bird species hang out there, while raptors grace the sky and who knows what will be flitting around in the willows and shrubs that line the shore. Directions: The baseball field is in the center of Nicasio on Nicasio Valley Road. Nicasio can be reached by taking Lucas Valley Road off of Hwy 101 to the end and then taking a right on Nicasio Valley Road. Those coming from the south can take Nicasio Valley Road through Fairfax and San Geronimo. For GPS, the address of the Ranch Nicasio Restaurant across from the ball field is 1 Old Rancheria Rd, Nicasio.

Tolay Lake Regional Park,
Location: Today Lake
Trip Leader(s): Peter Colasanti
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514 or Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Save the date.

Capay Valley
Location: Yolo County
Trip Leader(s): Tim Fitzer
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514 or Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, March 12, 2016
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Terry Colborn, our leader on this annual trip for nearly 20 years, will be in New Jersey celebrating his mom's 90th birthday - his good friend, Tim Fitzer, will lead the trip in his absence. Tim will be assisted by Ann Burris, who lived in Capay Valley for several years. Join Tim and Ann for a delightful day birding Yolo County's scenic Capay Valley. The almond orchards should be at peak bloom, a precursor to the valley's upcoming spring season! Birding locations will include historic Capay Cemetery, Cache Creek County Park and several popular birding locations in tranquil Capay Valley. We'll seek out Yellow-billed Magpie, Lewis's Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Phainopepla, Western Bluebird as well as any lingering winter birds. We also hope to see a few raptors and perhaps early spring arrivals such as Cliff, Barn, Rough-winged and Violet-green Swallow, and with luck, perhaps a warbler species or two. Past trips have produced Golden and Bald Eagle, Western Kingbird, Prairie Falcon and Lawrence's Goldfinch, but every year is unique. We also expect to see some early spring wildflowers, as well as blooming Redbud, that very conspicuous flowering shrub along the roadside. Meet Tim and Ann at Community Park in Esparto at 8:30am. Participants will be encouraged to form carpools from there. Bring lunch/snacks, liquids and sunscreen; dress in layers and wear sturdy footwear, as we will do a little walking on flat roads. Heavy rain cancels. For more information contact Tim Fitzer at 916.870.5207 Directions to Esparto: From Marin County, take Hwy 37 east to Vallejo; go east on I-80; just past the Nut Tree Center in Vacaville take I-505 north for about 20 miles to the Route 16 exit; turn left (west). Esparto is located about 4 miles west on Route 16 - the park is in the center of town. Driving time is about 1 1/2 hrs. but allow a little extra time, as there may be early morning fog.

Mt. Tam, No 11, Birding in Marin Series
Location: Mount Tamalpais
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, March 19, 2016
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: We will meet at 8:30 at the Bootjack parking and picnic area (Fee $7). Restrooms are available here. We want to help support our state parks. We encourage carpooling. See the directions for suggestions on where to meet to carpool. We will be using three fee lots: Bootjack, Pantoll, and the Summit. Yes, one fee will cover all three. Mount Tamalpais is a good area to see a Pileated Woodpecker. We are hoping to find Red Crossbills and a couple of early spring migrants like Western Tanager, Cassin's Vireo, and Black-throated Gray or Hermit Warbler. We will take a 1.5 mile, slightly strenuous hike from Rock Springs toward Barth's Retreat to see if Marin's Townsend's Solitaire is still here. We will then take the easy walk around the Mt Tam summit for the superb view of Marin County. Directions: Bootjack is on Panoramic Hwy in Mt Tamalpais State Park, 0.3 miles east of Pantoll or about 5 miles southeast of Stinson Beach. From the 101 Hwy on the bay side take the Route 1 exit through Tam Junction. In 3.3 miles take the Y right onto Panoramic Hwy. Parking for Bootjack is about 5 miles on the right. The Manzanita commuter parking lot would be a good carpool place at 8AM or the lot at the Mountain Home Inn is 15 minutes away.

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