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.

Hall Ranch to Horseshoe Bay
Location: Point Reyes National Seashore
Trip Leader(s): Kerry Wilcox
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Sunday, April 2, 2017
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Join Kerry as we hike his Christmas Bird Count territory in our quest for birds, mammals, and some vigorous exercise. We will be hiking approximately four miles on relatively rough trails with a total elevation gain of some 500 ft, so come prepared with comfortable hiking shoes, layered clothing, and plenty to eat and drink. We'll start our hike at the Hall Ranch (Barn Owl, Say's Phoebe, and American Kestrel possible), walk towards Horseshoe Bay (Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Burrowing Owl possible), bird at Horseshoe Bay and Beach (Surf Scoter, Brant, various grebes and loons all likely), and hike up towards Drake’s Estero Overlook (varied shorebirds, cormorants, ducks, gulls, and American White Pelican probable). As you can surmise, our hike through these rich coastal habitats is likely to be pretty amazing! Directions: We will meet near the monument at the Drake's Beach parking area at 9:00 AM, then carpool up the hill to our starting point. Follow Sir Francis Drake Blvd 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. Heavy rain cancels (hope that doesn't happen again).

The Ponds at the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District (LGVSD)
Location: San Rafael, CA
Trip Leader(s): Susan Kelly & Peter Colasanti
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Thursday, April 6, 2017
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Beginning birders are especially welcome on the first Thursday of each month for a leisurely walk around the Las Gallinas ponds. The area includes two treated wastewater storage ponds, a freshwater pond with islands for nesting habitat, and several miles of flat levee trails. It attracts thousands of birds, including waterfowl such as ducks, geese; waders such as herons and egrets; songbirds; as well as varied raptors. A group of Forster's Terns did much circling and diving above Pond 2 presenting great views for our March field trip participants. The group also spotted the previously seen Red-necked Grebe, not usually occurring in this location. Each month seems to yield an interesting, and often unexpected, species, so come assist us in our search. We welcome bird enthusiasts of all levels. We all help each other to find and identify the birds, and there are usually several experienced birders to assist. You don’t even have to arrive on time because we spend the first 30-60 minutes studying the birds around the first pond and the group is easy to find. Heavy rain cancels. Directions: From Hwy 101, exit at Smith Ranch Rd. Drive east on Smith Ranch Road toward McInnis Park. Turn left immediately after crossing the railroad tracks and drive about .5 mile through the LGVSD gates and into the parking lot at the end of the road. Meet the group by the bridge just past the parking lot. There is an outhouse in the parking area for public use or you can use the bathrooms at nearby McInnis Park.

Abbotts Lagoon
Location: Point Reyes National Seashore
Trip Leader(s): Carolyn and John Longstreth
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Monday, April 10, 2017
Start Time: 9:30 AM
End Time: 2:00 PM
Description: Abbotts 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 early migrating landbirds. With luck, we might find Virginia Rail or Sora 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'll walk the 1.5 easy miles to the lower lagoon and another 0.3 mile to the ocean beach. John, who ran an Audubon Center in Connecticut, has been the compiler of the Point Reyes Christmas Bird Count for the last eight years and is a skilled nature photographer. Carolyn helped organize the Point Reyes Birding & Nature Festival and created two CDs on local birdsong. Carolyn will also tell us about the plants of the area. Dress in layers, bring hat, sunscreen, lunch and water. Bathrooms are available at the Abbotts Lagoon parking lot. Heavy rain cancels. Directions: From San Anselmo, take Sir Francis Drake Blvd (SFDB) 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 Abbotts Lagoon parking lot on the left (west) where our group will gather.

Petaluma River Boat Trip - THIS TRIP IS FULL
Location: Boat leaves and returns to Petaluma Turning Basin
Trip Leader(s): Peter Colasanti
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Thursday, April 13, 2017
Start Time: 8:15 AM
End Time: 1:30 PM
Description: PETALUMA RIVER BOAT TRIP – MARIN AUDUBON MEMBERS ONLY All available spaces on this boat trip quickly filled. Those confirmed on this trip will receive directions to the Turning Basin and other instructions the week before the trip. If you wish to be included on the wait list for this outing, contact Jane Medley at Be sure to include the name, email address, and phone number for each possible passenger. For a complete description of this trip, consult the March RAIL, available at

Mount Burdell, No. 4 Birding in Marin Series
Location: Novato
Trip Leader(s): Jim White and Bob Battagin
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, April 15, 2017
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Join Jim and Bob for a field trip to the gentle slopes of Mr. Burdell where we’ll listen to and observe the impressive variety of songbirds that make this area their springtime home. Species we might see include Lark Sparrow, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Bullock's Oriole, Lazuli Bunting, and Grasshopper Sparrow, among many other possibilities. This will be a moderate hike with many opportunities to look at birds and spring wildflowers. Wear comfortable walking shoes and layered clothing. Bring water and snacks. We will meet at the end of San Andreas Drive in Novato. Heavy rain cancels. Directions: Take Hwy 101 to Novato. Take the San Marin Drive/Atherton Avenue exit. At the end of the exit ramp, turn west on San Marin Drive. Go approximately 2 miles and turn right on San Andreas Drive. Drive nearly to the end of the road and park on the street. No restrooms available.

Lower Mines Road and Del Valle Reservoir
Location: Alameda County
Trip Leader(s): Rich Cimino & Janet Bodle
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Start Time: 7:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: This field trip is timed to maximize our opportunities to see returning migrants such as Lawrence's Goldfinch, Western Kingbird, Phainopepla, plus Yellow-billed Magpie. We will bird along Lower Mines Road in the morning, then go to Del Valle Reservoir ($6 parking/entrance fee) for lunch and additional birding. Mines Road is a narrow road with limited places for parking, so we will limit our group size to 12 participants and carpool. Be prepared to ride with others or be a driver. Birders with a van will be appreciated, and riders should consider fuel cost sharing. For further information about this trip or to sign up, contact Rich or Janet at Please provide your name and phone number. After signing up, details will be shared about where to meet. Heavy rain cancels. Bring lunch, drinks, scopes, and a smile!

Little Carson Falls
Location: Mount Tamalpais
Trip Leader(s): Todd Plummer
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Friday, April 21, 2017
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 2:00 PM
Description: Join guide Todd Plummer for a day of birding and botanizing around Carson Ridge and Falls. We will meet at the Azalea Hill parking lot on Bolinas-Fairfax Road, then hike along Carson Ridge on the Pine Mountain Road and make our way down to Little Carson Falls. The serpentine landscape and dwarf forests provide great views into chaparral and Douglas fir canyons. Birding along the green-tinted soil, we will look for Lazuli Bunting, Thick-billed Fox Sparrow, California Thrasher, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and Bald Eagle from Kent Lake. The flower bloom can be spectacular with rarities the norm. We will descend several hundred feet into Carson Canyon to cool our faces in the mists of Little Carson Falls, home of the rare Foothill Yellow-legged Frog. Bring a lunch, water, and sunscreen. Heavy rain cancels. Directions: In Fairfax, go along Bolinas Road going west and drive 2.5 miles. Continue along Bolinas-Fairfax Road and drive 1.3 miles to reach a parking lot for Azalea Hill on the left. SPECIAL NOTE: THE BOLINAS-FAIRFAX ROAD IS CLOSED BETWEEN AZALEA HILL AND HIGHWAY ONE. YOU MUST APPROACH AZALEA HILL FROM THE FAIRFAX SIDE.

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