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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.

Thursday Morning Walk at 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, March 5, 2015
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: On the first Thursday of each month we meet for a birding walk around the Las Gallinas Storage Ponds just north of McInnis Park, continuing a tradition started years ago by Bruce Bajema. Birders of all levels are welcome. Each month the avian cast of characters will change, and we try to keep track of newly arriving species. Early spring 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. 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.

Capay Valley
Location: Yolo County
Trip Leader(s): Terry Colborn
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Saturday, March 7, 2015
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:30 PM
Description: Join Terry Colborn for a delightful day in Yolo County's picturesque Capay Valley. The almond orchards should be in bloom, signaling the coming of spring in the valley. Our stops will include historic Capay Cemetery, Cache Creek and several of Terry's favorite birding spots in idyllic Capay Valley. We'll look for Yellow-billed Magpie, Lewis's Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Phainopepla, Western Bluebird as well as any lingering winter residents. We also hope to see some raptors and early spring arrivals such as Cliff, Barn, Rough-winged and Violet-green Swallow, and perhaps a warbler species or two. Past trips have produced Golden and Bald Eagle, Western Kingbird, Prairie Falcon and Lawrence's Goldfinch. We also expect to see some early spring wildflowers as well as Redbud, that very conspicuous flowering shrub along the roadside. Terry will meet everyone at the Community Park in Esparto at 8:30AM. Participants will be encouraged to form carpools from there. 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 1.5 hrs. but allow a little extra time, as there may be early morning fog. Bring lunch/snacks, liquids; dress in layers and wear sturdy footwear, as we will do a little walking on flat roads. Heavy rain cancels. For more information contact Terry at: 530-312-9947; www.TLCBirding.com

Tolay Lake Regional Park,
Location: Petaluma, CA
Trip Leader(s): Gene Hunn
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Saturday, March 14, 2015
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: This 1700 acre park, located between the Petaluma River and Sonoma Valley, includes pristine farm and grasslands, ridges, a seasonal freshwater lake that has water this year, ponds, wetlands, and many other natural resources. This area is not open to the general public without permits, but Gene Hunn will be our guide. We will meet at 8.30 at the boat launch parking lot next to Papa's Taverna (restaurant now closed) on Lakeville Hwy and then carpool up Cannon Drive to the Tolay Lake Regional Park. There is a $7.00/day vehicle use fee at the Park. We will hike several miles to check all the available habitats at the park: grassland, oak woodland, riparian corridors, ponds, ridge lines, and ranch buildings. For those who wish to continue birding after lunch, we can visit the Ellis Creek ponds a few miles north at the south edge of Petaluma. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and be prepared to hike for several miles. Bring water, lunch, sunscreen, hat and dress in layers. DIRECTIONS: The address of Papa's Taverna is 5688 Lakeville Hwy, Petaluma. From Marin take Hwy 101 north to CA-37 E toward Napa/Vallejo. Continue about 6 miles on Hwy 37 to Lakeville Hwy. Take a left on Lakeville and continue for another 6 miles. The entrance to the boat ramp will be on your left, the first drive just south of the Papa's entrance.

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
Start Date: Saturday, March 21, 2015
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.

Mines Road and Del Puerto Canyon
Location: Livermore, CA
Trip Leader(s): Terry Colborn
Host: Vicky Van Meter, vicky.vanmeter@gmail.com, 415-299-2514
Start Date: Saturday, April 18, 2015
Start Time: 7:30 AM
End Time: 4:30 PM
Description: This year Terry will lead a one-day Mines Road trip. Long recognized as one of the premier springtime birding areas in the Bay Area to observe an array of resident species and Neotropical migrants, the combination of Mines Road and Del Puerto Canyon provides easy access to a number of unique habitats, including oak woodland, grasslands and chaparral. The bird list is quite impressive for this popular destination, and includes Costa's Hummingbird, Lewis's Woodpecker, Western Wood-Pewee, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Yellow-billed Magpie, Rock Wren, Canyon Wren; Nashville, Orange-crowned, Hermit, Yellow and MacGillivray's warblers; Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Black-headed Grosbeak, Bullock's Oriole, Western Tanager, Wood Duck and Lawrence's Goldfinch, just to name a few. The elusive Greater Roadrunner is reported annually. We'll also visit Del Valle Regional Park (fee) and Frank Raines Park. This all-day trek will start In Livermore on Saturday morning. There are a number of hotels in Livermore for those wishing to spend Friday night and thus eliminate the early Saturday morning departure from home. This is a very popular springtime trip and often fills up very quickly. Sign-ups are required, and are on a first-come, first-served basis. Carpooling is a must as there is very limited space for vehicles to park on Mines Road. To sign-up and receive further details, contact Terry Colborn at: tlcbirding@gmail.com, 530-312-9947; www.TLCBirding.com

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