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:
Email:
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.

Reclamation Road/ Port Sonoma
Location: Sonoma County
Trip Leader(s): Lisa Hug
Host: Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Start Time: 11:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Join us to celebrate World Shorebirds Day, albeit one day early, as we explore the restored tidal marsh and nearby Port Sonoma area on San Pablo Bay. We will meet our leader, Lisa Hug, at the Reclamation Road Parking Lot and shuttle a few cars to the Port Sonoma area. Returning to Reclamation Road, we will then hike approximately one mile back to Port Sonoma as the tide rises and the shorebirds arrive. At Port Sonoma we will check the high tide roosts with hopes for a Ridgway's Rail and take a lunch break. Directions: Exit Highway 101 onto Highway 37, east toward Vallejo. The first stoplight you encounter is at Lakeville Highway. Take a right here onto Reclamation Road. Parking area is on the left about 1/4 mile down the road. Driving time from San Rafael is approximately 25 minutes.

The Ponds at the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District (LGVSD)
Location: San Rafael, CA
Trip Leader(s): Jim White
Host: Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Thursday, September 7, 2017
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: In September we resume our regularly scheduled walks on the first Thursday of the month at Las Gallinas. We especially welcome beginning birders on this leisurely walk around the ponds. Jim White will lead this month's group as we search for waterfowl, waders, songbirds, raptors, and shorebirds. Recent sightings here have included the uncommon-in-Marin Least Bittern, Virginia Rail, Sora, American White Pelican, and Osprey. With fall migration underway, we are likely to spot some interesting 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. Directions: From Hwy 101, exit at Smith Ranch Rd. Drive east on Smith Ranch Rd. 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.

Rodeo Lagoon
Location: Marin Headlands
Trip Leader(s): William Legge and David Wiechers
Host: Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, September 9, 2017
Start Time: 7:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Join William and David for a morning of birding at Rodeo Lagoon. This is their "patch" and we are likely to see over 60 species. With large numbers of birds moving through the area this time of year, it's sure to be interesting with unusual sightings a definite possibility. For example, a Black Skimmer was spotted fishing on the lagoon in August. Our group will be targeting Parasitic Jaeger, migrating shorebirds, warblers, and other passerines. We will begin the morning with a Sea Watch at 7 AM. Those arriving later may join us at 8 AM for a circuit of the lagoon. Directions: Head south on Hwy 101 and take the last Sausalito exit just before the Golden Gate Bridge. At the exit stop sign, turn right and go under the freeway, then follow the road down to the left. Within 300 feet turn left at the sign to the Marin Headlands (This is the only available left turn before you begin the descent into Sausalito). You should see the tunnel with the five-minute light. Proceed through the tunnel on Bunker Road to the Rodeo Lagoon Parking Lot at the end and meet by the bridge over the channel to the beach.

Piper Park
Location: Larkspur
Trip Leader(s): Rich Cimino & Janet Bodle
Host: Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 11:30 AM
Description: This morning trip to Piper Park provides an opportunity for local birding during the final days of fall migration. Located in Larkspur on Doherty Drive behind the Larkspur Police Station, Piper Park has a paved trail, making for an easy walk. We'll bird a mix of pine, oaks and ornamental trees, a wet meadow (sports field), and the Corte Madera tidal marsh. Expect Western Bluebird, finches, maybe Townsend Warbler, a mix of wading birds, and possibly Ridgway's Rail. Directions: From the north, take Hwy 101 and exit at Lucky Dr. Turn left from Fifer Ave. to Lucky Dr. and then turn right at the school onto Doherty Drive. Coming from the south, you can exit on Tamalpais Dr., turn right onto Magnolia Ave for one mile, turn right onto Doherty Drive, and look for the park on your left. We will meet on the green area next to the electric car charging stations on the left as you enter the Piper Park parking area.

Drakes Beach and the Fish Docks No. 9, Birding in Marin Series
Location: Point Reyes National Seashore
Trip Leader(s): Jim White and Bob Battagin
Host: Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Saturday, September 16, 2017
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 2:30 PM
Description: September is the most surprising month of birding here as many juvenile birds make their first migration south and west without the aid of Google. Some western migrants such as Nashville, Hermit, and Black-throated Gray Warblers may be in the Point Reyes tree islands, and we sometimes see more unusual Eastern species. Drakes Bay also begins to harbor wintering species like Red-necked Grebes, Marbled Murrelets, and Loons. We will picnic early and then head over to the Fish Docks and/or the Point Reyes Light House. Directions: Meet at the Drakes Beach Parking Lot near the monument. 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.

Vaux's Swifts at McNear Brick and Block
Location: San Rafael, CA
Trip Leader(s): Rusty Scalf
Host: Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Start Time: 6:30 PM
End Time: 7:45 PM
Description: Join us at sunset for the opportunity to witness the Vaux's Swifts during their fall migration through Marin, which occurs in September and October. Dan McNear of McNear Brick & Block has kindly allowed access for our group to this remarkable site where decommissioned smoke stacks provide an important communal roosting place for the swifts. Watching thousands of swifts as they descend into the stacks just before nightfall is truly a remarkable sight. At the peak of migration, as many as 29,000 swifts have been counted in one evening! Sunset on the evening of our visit will be at 7:10 PM, so plan on arriving early to be ready. Bring scopes, binoculars, and, if desired, folding chairs for your seating comfort. It can be chilly at dusk. Please stay with our group and do not enter any of the private areas on the property. Directions: From Hwy 101 take the Central San Rafael exit. Head east on Point San Pedro Road for about 3 miles. The brickyard will be on the right. The address is 1 McNear Brickyard Road. Turn in at the brickyard entrance and park as directed.

Farallon Islands Boat Trip
Location: From Clipper Yacht Harbor, Sausalito, Calif
Trip Leader(s): David Wimpfheimer
Host: Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Sunday, September 24, 2017
Start Time: 7:30 AM
End Time: 4:00 PM
Description: Join us for our annual day of seabird and marine mammal watching as we head out to the Farallon Islands and offshore waters. This trip will be led by Naturalist David Wimpfheimer aboard Jim Robertson's power catamaran Outer Limits. On past trips we have sighted more than fourteen pelagic bird species, including albatrosses, shearwaters and auklets, as well as many sea lions, porpoises, dolphins and whales. We will get an up close look at the islands and learn about their interesting natural and human history. This is a trip that both experienced and first-time birders and nature lovers will enjoy. This trip is open to Marin Audubon members only. (If you are not a member yet, please sign up on our Membership page.) The cost will be $120 per person with online registration available at www.marinaudubon.org. Include the name, email address and contact phone number of each participant. There is always a chance the trip may need to be rescheduled at the last minute due to sea conditions, so we need to be able to reach participants. We will send an email to participants a few days before the trip. Please sign up early, as we will limit the number of participants. Be prepared for any kind of weather with layered clothing. A rain jacket and pants are essential no matter what the weather on shore. Take seasick medication if needed. If you get seasick easily, this is not the trip for you. We will be on the boat all day. Bring lunch, snacks, water and plenty of sunscreen. Directions: Take Hwy. 101 to the Marin City/Sausalito exit, head south on Bridgeway, take a left on Harbor Drive and proceed to the parking area at the end. We will meet on the south side of the parking lot to check in before boarding.
Link: http://marinaudubon.org/events-farallones-boat-trip-tickets.php

Outer Point Vagrants
Location: Point Reyes National Seashore
Trip Leader(s): Peter Colasanti
Host: Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Friday, September 29, 2017
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: We will meet Peter at White House Pool and bird the area as the group gathers. Our plan for the day will depend on what birds have been seen in the area. Point Reyes has proven to be one of the greatest migrant traps on our continent with more than half of all North American birds (at least 490 species) seen there. So come help us find something rare and unexpected! This time of year, as Rich Stallcup said, "The Outer Point never gets old. It's never the same. For some of us a year made up of 12 Septembers would be nice." Directions: From Hwy 101 in Larkspur, take the Sir Francis Drake exit 20.4 miles to Olema. Turn right onto Hwy 1 and go 2 miles. Before the green bridge, turn left (continuing on Sir Francis Drake Blvd.) and drive 0.7 mile. Look for the White House Pool sign and parking lot on the right.

Bodega Bay to Cordell Banks Pelagic Trip SPACE AVAILABLE
Location: From Port O Bodega, Bodega Bay
Trip Leader(s): Steve Howell & Friends
Host: Jane Medley, janermedley@gmail.com, 559-760-1551
Start Date: Sunday, October 1, 2017
Start Time: 7:00 AM
End Time: 5:00 PM
Description: Join Steve Howell and his capable team of spotters including Lisa Hug, Alan Hopkins, Mark Dettling, and Ryan DiGaudio as we head out to the Cordell Bank in search of seabirds, marine mammals, and other forms of sea life. We will travel on Rick Power's Sea Angler, a 65 foot fishing charter boat suitable for birding. Our plan is to navigate towards the Bodega Canyon and then travel south across the Cordell Bank--one of the best locations along the west coast for finding seabirds and whales. Both experienced and beginning birders are likely to enjoy this trip. This trip is open to Marin Audubon members only. (If you are not a member yet, please sign up on our Membership page.) The cost will be $140 per person with spaces expected to fill quickly. Register online at www.marinaudubon.org. Include the name, email address, and contact phone number of each participant. There is always a chance the trip may need to be rescheduled at the last minute due to sea conditions, so we need to be able to reach participants. As the trip date approaches, we will send an email with additional trip information. Be prepared for any kind of weather with layered clothing. A rain jacket and pants are essential no matter what the weather on shore. Take seasick medication if needed. You will be on the boat all day. Bring lunch, snacks, water, a hat, and plenty of sunscreen. Directions: Head north on Highway 101 from the town of Bodega Bay. Continue past the fire station and the Tides' Wharf in Bodega Bay. Turn left on Eastshore Road and head downhill to the port.
Link: http://marinaudubon.org/events-bodega-bay-to-cordell-banks-pelagic-trip-tickets.php

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