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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.

Abbot's Lagoon with Carolyn and John Longstreth
Location: Pt Reyes National Seashore
Trip Leader(s): Carolyn and John Longstreth
Host: vicky Van Meter,, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Saturday, November 22, 2014
Start Time: 9:30 AM
End Time: 2:00 PM
Description: Abbott's Lagoon is well-known as a birding hotspot due to the variety of habitats, including coastal scrub, freshwater ponds and wetlands, brackish lagoon, dunes, sandy shoreline and open ocean. We can expect to see waterfowl, herons, raptors, wintering shorebirds, loons, grebes and possibly a few late migrating landbirds. With luck, we might find Virginia Rail, Sora or American bittern on the upper pond, river otters on the lower lagoon or alcids beyond the surf. If the adjacent farm-field is freshly plowed, there could be some interesting species there as well. We will walk the 1.5 easy miles to the lower lagoon and another 0.3 mile to the ocean beach. John and Carolyn have been birding for over 30 years. John, who ran an Audubon Center in Connecticut, is the co-compiler of the Point Reyes Christmas Bird Count and a skilled nature photographer. Carolyn helped organize the Point Reyes Birding & Nature Festival and created two CDs on local birdsong. Carolyn also will tell us about the plants of the area. Dress in layers; bring hat, sunscreen, lunch and water. Bathrooms are available at the Abbott's Lagoon parking lot. Directions: Allowing about an hour and a half travel time, from San Rafael follow Sir Francis Drake Blvd (SFDB) to Olema. From Stinson Beach go north on Hwy 1 to Olema. From Olema continue north on Hwy 1 (SFDB), take the second left turn (SFDB west), continue through Inverness, turn right (north) onto Pierce Point Road and keep driving until you come to the Abbott's Lagoon parking lot on the left (west) where our group will gather.

Corte Madera Ecological Reserve and MAS
Location: Corte Madera Ecological Reserve
Trip Leader(s): Roger Harris and Meryl Sundove
Host: Vicky Van Meter,, 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.

Birding in Marin No 8: Bahia, Rush Creek and Rowland Avenue Wetlands
Location: Novato,CA
Trip Leader(s): Jim White and Bob Battagin
Host: Vicky Van Meter,, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Saturday, December 6, 2014
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 5:00 PM
Description: Note: this is the 1st Saturday in December, not the 3rd because of Christmas Bird Counts) Please meet at the foot (east end) of Bugeia Lane (Bahia Drive) in Novato where Marin Audubon is continuing a large restoration project. Shorebirds, ducks, herons, swallows and rails will be reaping the benefits here for years to come. After viewing the birds and the restoration area we intend to walk the trail along the edge of the mixed oak woodland. Next we plan to drive around to the end of Topaz Drive to view the Horseshoe Pond where some diving ducks, including a few Barrow's Goldeneyes, like to winter. During the day we will practice some bird counting to help prepare for the upcoming Christmas Bird Count season. After lunch we will take a look at two nearby areas-Rush Creek and the Rowland Ave wetlands. DIRECTIONS: From Hwy 101 in north Novato take the Atherton Avenue exit east about 2 miles, then turn left onto Bugeia Lane, which becomes Bahia Drive, and follow it to the end where there is some street parking. No restrooms available here.

Cypress Grove and Tom's Point on Tomales Bay
Location: Cypress Grove Research Center
Trip Leader(s): John Kelly
Host: Vicky Van Meter,, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: [not specified]
Description: John Kelly, the Director of Conservation Science for Audubon Canyon Ranch, will lead our trip to see winter waterbirds and shorebirds on Tomales Bay. This excursion will highlight a visit to the Cypress Grove Research Center of Audubon Canyon Ranch, with field observations and discussions about the identification, conservation, and ecology of Tomales Bay birds. We also will learn about the history of the lovely house and grounds now used by the research staff. We will view waterbirds and shorebirds along the east shore of the bay, then carpool to ACR's remote Toms Point preserve at the northern end of the bay where we will end our day. DIRECTIONS: The Cypress Grove Research Center is on State Highway One, about .5 mile north of the town of Marshall. (Marshall is 9 miles north of Point Reyes Station, or 7 miles south of Tomales.) The entry gate is on the bay side of the road and marked with the address 20545. Look for a small sign with the ACR green and white egret logo mounted on the gate pole. Enter the gate, continue in on the entry road and take the left hand fork to the parking area. Walk down the trail at the northwest corner of the parking area to the main buildings in the lawn area. The main office is in Cabin #2.

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuges Behind the Scenes Tour
Location: Willows, CA
Trip Leader(s): Dan Frisk
Host: Vicky Van Meter,, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Friday, December 12, 2014
Start Time: 10:00 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Join us as we take a behind the scenes tour of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Dan Frisk, the manager of the Sacramento Refuge, will be our guide. Breeding conditions in central Canada and the Dakotas were sensational this spring and record numbers of waterfowl are arriving at the refuges. Dan will explain how federal and state refuge managers are collaborating with conservation groups and rice farmers to provide waterfowl and shorebird habitat in the midst of drought. We will meet in the Refuge Visitors Center at 10 in the morning and tour the refuge in the afternoon. Dress in layers, bring lunch, snacks and water. Directions: Allow about two hours travel time from Marin. Take Hwy 101 north to Hwy 37 E to I-80 north. Take 505 north to I-5. Once you are on I-5, continue 41 miles north to the Road 68 exit. Take a right onto Road 68. Go north on Hwy 99W (which parallels I-5 at this point) for 1.7 miles. Turn right into the Refuge and follow the signs to the parking area. The address is 757 County Road 99W, Willows, CA. There is a $6 entrance fee. Bring your National Parks Senior Pass if you have one. We will meet at the Visitors Center where there are bathrooms.

Herring Run Flash Mob
Location: San Francisco Bay
Trip Leader(s): To Be Announced
Host: Vicky Van Meter,, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Monday, December 15, 2014
End Date: Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: 5:00 PM
Description: We never know if or when the Pacific Herring run will happen but it is always an exciting event for birds and birders. Sometime in the winter the herring enter the Bay where they hold for several weeks in deep channels until ready to spawn in the shallow water. The huge number of fish and eggs draws thousands of gulls and waterfowl for a feeding frenzy that lasts only a few days. Sign up here (after December 1st) for our Herring Run Flash Mob list, and when the run starts and we will notify everyone as to the time and place we will meet.

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