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.

No 11 Birding in Marin: Las Gallinas Storage Ponds and Hamilton Wetlands
Location: San Rafael, and Novato, CA
Trip Leader(s): Jim White and Bob Battagin
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, November 18, 2017
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: The Las Gallinas ponds are a great place for good views of many kinds of ducks and raptors. This is an easy 1.5 miile walk where many other species may be seen, including Ridgway's Rail and Sora. After a lunch break we will go to the Hamilton Wetlands in Novato. This extensive wetland was recently reconnected with the Bay after two decades of planning and work, and the birds have repopulated the area in big numbers. We will see the waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, and other species that have made these new wetlands their home. DIRECTIONS: We will meet at Las Gallinas. From Hwy 101, take the Smith Ranch Road exit east toward McInnis Park. Turn left immediately after crossing the railroad tracks and continue about 0.5 mile to the Las Gallinas Ponds parking lot at the end of the road.

Location: San Francisco Bay, The boat departs from the Berkeley Marina
Trip Leader(s): John Klobas and Sarah Brooks
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Sunday, November 19, 2017
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 4:00 PM
Description: The San Francisco Bay complex comprises one of the largest and most important estuaries along the Pacific flyway, is located in our backyard, but remains relatively unvisited. Our appreciation of the dynamics of the bay can change dramatically in the course of a day from a new perspective on the water. Join John Klobas and his daughter Sarah Brooks for a memorable day as we cruise the bay with Ronn Patterson of Dolphin Charters in search of natural and cultural history, birds, and marine mammals. Fall is the season of mild weather and calm water on the bay as we cruise by ten islands, under two bridges, and up two creeks in four counties in search of migrating and resident waterfowl, water and shore birds, and marine mammals that call the bay's habitats home. Leaving from the Berkeley Marina, we'll cruise the Richmond shoreline, travel by Red Rock, under the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, investigate the Brothers Islands, then head west to the Marin Islands and San Rafael Creek where we will look for Peregrine Falcons and Black Oystercatchers. We then head south past San Quentin and into Corte Madera Creek, continue south along the Marin shoreline, then turn into Raccoon Strait, where we begin to search for Harbor porpoise, which have only recently returned to the bay after being absent for more than six decades. We'll bird Alcatraz on our way across the bay as we head toward San Francisco, where we get a close look at WWII ships, sea lions, and the bustling waterfront. From there we head toward Treasure Island, around Yerba Buena Island with its Harbor seal haul outs, under the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, and back to the Berkeley Marina. The trip is limited to 25 Marin Audubon Chapter Supporting members. Given that this trip is limited to just 25 participants, it is limited to Marin Audubon Society "Members Only" at a cost of $105. Our "Members Only" field trips are limited to chapter supporting members of Marin Audubon Society (MAS). A membership with National Audubon Society does not qualify for participation in MAS "Members Only" field trips. Our "Members Only" field trips are a specific benefit we provide to MAS chapter-supporting members for their support of Marin Audubon and the work MAS undertakes in protecting and managing local habitats for the benefit of Marin's resident and migratory birds. REGISTRATION AND PAYMENT FOR THE TRIP ARE NOW UNDERWAY. Register at the link below. (For Non-MAS members we invite you to join MAS at to participate in this trip.) WE RECOMMEND BOOKING YOUR SPACE ASAP AS OUR BOAT TRIPS FREQUENTLY SELL OUT QUICKLY. Include the name, email address, and contact phone number of each participant. Those confirmed on the trip will receive directions to the Berkeley Marina and other instructions prior to the trip.

Christmas Bird Count Practice
Location: Hamilton, near Novato, CA
Trip Leader(s): David Sexton and Susan Kelly
Host: Susan Kelly,, or phone (415) 883-9505
Start Date: Sunday, November 26, 2017
Start Time: 1:00 PM
End Time: 4:00 PM
Description: Calling All Birders! If you're thinking about participating in one or more of the three Christmas Bird Counts that Marin Audubon sponsors or just wondering what they’re all about, join David Sexton and Susan Kelly for a hands-on training and information session. David and Susan are the organizers and compilers of the Cheep Thrills Christmas Bird Count in northern Marin, which will take place on Thursday, December 14th. The other two Christmas Bird Counts are the Point Reyes Count scheduled on December 16 and the Southern Marin Count scheduled on December 30. For our practice we'll meet at the picnic tables in the South Hamilton Park at 1:00 pm and spend about 30 minutes talking about the process, and walk out on the trail to the wetlands and count birds, recording them on the checklist for practice. DIRECTIONS: From Hanger Drive at Hamilton, Stay on Hanger Ave. for about .5 mile (drive past the Coast Guard Hanger) and turn right into the parking lot with a big sign that says "South Hamilton Park." Park and walk over to the playground, where you’ll find us at the picnic tables.

Hamilton Wetlands
Location: Hamilton Field, Novato, CA
Trip Leader(s): David Sexton and Bill Jones
Host: Jane Medley,, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Start Time: 8:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: In an annual trip to this fabulously restored habitat, Hamilton Wetlands Volunteers, David and Bill, will lead us to view the wetlands and celebrate the return of shorebirds to this former flight line and landing strip. The trip will start with a stop at the nursery where Nursery and Restoration Manager, Christina Mc Whorter, will give a brief update on the restoration and replanting progress after which our group will be allowed to visit several portions of the wetlands not usually accessible to the public. Our outing will cover both the east side and the southwest sides of the wetlands as we search for early returning shorebirds and ducks. We hope to see Sandpipers, Plovers, Yellowlegs, Willets, Long-biilled Curlews, and Marbled Godwits. We may be fortunate enough to see Phalaropes, American Wigeons, Pintails, Ruddy Ducks, and Northern Shovelers of the fall migration as well as Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, Herons, Grebes, Gulls and Terns. No recording of bird counts or estimations of flock sizes will be required of participants on this particular field trip! DIRECTIONS: The outing will start at the Novato Skate Park at 1200 Hamilton Parkway. Take Exit 459 from Highway 101 toward Ignacio Blvd, Bel Marin Keys Blvd. Turn right on Nave Drive, then left onto North Hamilton Pkwy. The skate park is on the left. We will carpool from there. We will finish at the south end of the wetlands at noon with parking at the pool and ball fields on Hanger Avenue.

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