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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, Len Blumin and friends
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Thursday, May 5, 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. Spring is a busy time at the ponds with opportunities to view a variety of nesting birds including Marsh Wrens, Common Gallinules, several colorful duck species, as well as the non-native Mute Swans, which successfully fledged 9 cygnets in 2015. Dress for all weather and bring water. We'll ve walking about 2 miles on the flat levees that surround the ponds. Heavy rain cancels.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 crossing the railroad tracks, staying on Smith Ranch and go about .5 miles to the end of the road at the Las Gallinas parking lot. Meet the group by the bridge just past the parking lot. Late arrivals should easily be able to find the group. There are restroom facilities only at the parking area.

Thursday Morning Bird Songs
Location: Big Rock Trailhead to Loma Alta Trail
Trip Leader(s): Lisa Hug and Susan Kelly
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Thursday, May 12, 2016
Start Time: 7:30 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Spring is the best time of year to hear and learn bird songs. Males are full of hormones and bursting with song. Many neo-tropical migrants are returning and vying for mates and territories. It is a very exciting time of year. This walk will require participants to stay quiet to enable us to listen to the myriad of bird sounds. Bring comfortable walking shoes, layered clothing, water, binoculars, field guides and snacks. This trip is limited to 15 participants. To sign up, email Jane Medley at Please include your phone number. Participants will be contacted prior to the trip to confirm registration. A wait list will be created if registration exceeds available spaces. Directions: From Highway 101 in San Rafael, take the exit for Lucas Valley Road west approximately 5.5 miles (look for the big rock). The trailhead is on the north side of Lucas Valley Road.

No. 5, Birding in Marin (BIM) Series
Location: Muir Woods, Redwood Creek and Muir Beach
Trip Leader(s): Jim White and Bob Battagin
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, May 21, 2016
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: May is the height of the breeding season in Marin. Join Jim and Bob as we visit Muir Woods, Redwood Creek and Muir Beach. We will start the morning in Muir Woods where we will bird along Redwood Creek and hear the beautiful songs of Swainson's Thrushes, Black-headed Grosbeaks and Pacific Wrens, along with Warbling Vireos, Wilson's and Orange-crowned (perhaps MacGillivray's) Warblers. We may or may not go into the Park but bring your Senior Pass if you have one. Entrance fee is $10 per Adult. We will then check out the restored riparian area at Muir Beach and picnic there. Scanning the ocean we usually find Pigeon Guillemots, Common Murres, Pelagic and Brandt’s Cormorants, grebes, loons and Black Oystercatchers. We plan to walk several miles. Bring bins, scopes, lunch, dress in layers and carpool if possible. Directions: Meet in the lower parking lot (sign says "Additional Parking") at Muir Woods. From Highway 101 take the Mill Valley/Highway 1 Stinson Beach Exit. Follow the signs to Highway 1 and then to Muir Woods. The address is 1 Muir Woods Road, Mill Valley.

Hamilton Wetlands for Young Birders
Location: Novato, CA
Trip Leader(s): Mark Forney
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 10:00 AM
Description: Do you know a child who might enjoy learning about birds and the natural world in the company of other children? Help Marin Audubon build a young generation of bird lovers and nature stewards by sharing the joys of birding with a young person (15 and under invited). Parents, grandparents, and friends are invited to accompany the special children in their lives for a morning of bird watching with Mark. We hope for this field trip to become an important monthly offering and request your help in recruiting participants and getting this program established. Bring binoculars if you have them. Directions: We will meet at South Hamilton Park playground at Hamilton Field. From the south on Highway 101 take the Nave Drive/Hamilton exit, and from the north use the Ignacio Blvd. exit. Follow Main Gate Road, go right on South Palm, then turn right on Hangar Avenue. The South Hamilton Park parking lot is at the intersection of Hangar Avenue and Maybeck Street. From the parking lot, walk along Hangar Avenue south to its end, and you will see the playground ahead on the right.

Birding for Beginners
Location: Olompali State Park, Novato, CA
Trip Leader(s): Rich Cimino and Janet Bodle
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Sunday, May 29, 2016
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 11:30 AM
Description: Are you curious about our local birds and want to learn more about them but need some guidance to deepen your appreciation? This second in a series of field trips for beginners will help you become more confident and skilled in bird identification with the use of binoculars, scopes, and field guides. Participants will learn how to identify local resident birds of Eastern Marin County with this trip focusing on species found in the Oak Woodland/Oak Savannah habitats at Olompali. Resident species as well as recently arrived spring migrants will be busy singing and nesting, so there should be a variety of birds to hear and see. Directions: Take Highway 101 to the Atherton Avenue/San Marin Drive Exit in Novato. Head West, crossing over Highway 101, then turn north onto Redwood Boulevard to the park entrance on the west side of the highway. We will meet in the large parking lot. There is an $8 registration fee paid through self-registration. There is a portable toilet in the parking lot.

Fort Mason and Crissy Field
Location: San Francisco, CA
Trip Leader(s): David Assmann
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Start Time: 8:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Bird two of San Francisco's hot spots, Fort Mason and Crissy Field, with David. Fort Mason has a variety of habitats in a very compact area at the northeast corner of San Francisco and has an ebird list of 97 species for May. We'lll look for late migrants, including flycatchers and warblers, and scan Aquatic Park for water birds. We'll also look for nesting birds such as Downy Woodpeckers, Hooded Orioles, and Pygmy Nuthatches. Then we'll travel to Crissy Field, our second hotspot on the northern shore of San Francisco, where we'll look for loons, terns, ducks, and shorebirds. Directions: Enter Fort Mason at Bay and Franklin (It's at the very end of Franklin Street). There should be ample free parking Make sure you do not park in reserved spots. We will meet at the gate on the east side of the Community Garden at 8 AM.

History and Birding on
Location: Alcatraz Island
Trip Leader(s): With Ranger John Cantwell and Karen Vandergrift
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Start Time: 8:45 AM
End Time: 2:00 PM
Description: Boat Leaves at 8:45 AM – Trip Ends Early PM. This special trip to Alcatraz is designed for people who are interested in both the human and natural history of the island and varies from our usual trips focusing more exclusively on birds. Link here for more information and to purchase tickets.

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