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.

Loch Lomond Yacht Harbor
Location: San Rafael
Trip Leader(s): Jim White
Start Date: Monday, January 15, 2018
Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Join Jim for an easy stroll around the Loch Lomond Yacht Harbor breakwater recently refortified and made wheelchair accessible with a paved path out to the end. The path provides panoramic views of the surrounding bay and gives you the feeling of actually being out on the bay in close proximity to the Marin Islands. Winter birds here include Black-bellied Plover, Black Turnstone, Least & Western Sandpipers, Black Oystercatcher, and a variety of ducks on the bay. We may stop by the local bait shop where various egrets and herons hang out as well as check out the new Andy's Market for coffee and/or snacks. If time allows, we may follow San Pedro Road further along the bayshore in search of additional shore birds and wintering waterfowl.

Directions: Head east on Second Street in San Rafael, which turns into South San Pedro Road. Continue approximately 2 miles past the Montecito Shopping Center to a red light at the intersection of San Pedro Road and Loch Lomond Drive. Turn right here, then turn left at the new Andy's Market, and continue to the end of the road where you will find ample parking and a public restroom. Dress warmly as some winter days here are cold and windy. Heavy rain cancels

Bolinas Lagoon, No. 1, Birding in Marin Series
Location: Bolinas
Trip Leader(s): Jim White & Bob Battagin
Start Date: Saturday, January 20, 2018
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Join us as we begin our fifth season of Birding in Marin with Jim and Bob. Last year for the second time, our group exceeded Jim's goal of spotting 200 bird species during our monthly field trips and ended the year with a total of 205 species. Not too shabby! We now invite you to help us forge a new record for 2018 by participating in our monthly trips to twelve of Marin's most productive birding hot spots.

Bolinas Lagoon, one of Marin's Important Bird Areas (IBA), is home to many resident bird species and also serves as a wintering ground for thousands of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. We will scan the lagoon from our meeting area and from two or three other pullouts along our route. Then we will drive 3 miles to the Duxbury Reef overlook to see what is happening on and over the ocean. The Bolinas Mesa oxidation ponds often provide another good place to look for birds. We will then take a lunch break in downtown Bolinas. After lunch with the lower tide we will look for shorebirds near the Pine Gulch Creek delta.

Directions: Meet at 8:30 AM on Highway 1 at the Stinson/Bolinas Primary School, which is 1.5 miles north of the central Stinson Beach stop sign. Heavy rain cancels.

Cypress Grove Research Center
Location: Cypress Grove
Trip Leader(s): John Kelly
Start Date: Thursday, January 25, 2018
Start Time: 9:30 AM
End Time: 2:00 PM
Description: John Kelly, longtime friend of Marin Audubon and soon-to-be-retiring Director of Conservation Science for ACR, will lead our trip to see winter waterbirds and shorebirds on Tomales Bay. This excursion will feature a visit to the Cypress Grove Research Center of ACR, with field observations and discussions about the identification, conservation, and ecology of Tomales Bay birds. We will view waterbirds and shorebirds along the east shore of the bay, then carpool to ACR's remote Tom's Point Preserve at the northern end of the bay where we will end our day. We have appreciated John's willingness to lead this annual field trip for our members and wish him the best with his retirement plans.

Directions: The Cypress Grove Research Center is on State Highway 1, about 1/2 mile north of the town of Marshall. (Marshall is 9 miles north of Point Reyes Station or 7 miles south of Tomales.) The entry gate is on the bay side of the road and marked with the address "20545." Look for a small sign with ACR's green and white egret logo mounted on the gate pole. Enter the gate, continue in on the entry road and take the left-hand fork to the parking area. Walk down the trail at the northwest corner of the parking area to the main buildings in the lawn area. The main office is in Cabin #2. Heavy rain cancels.

Yolo County Winter Birding
Location: Starting in Winters
Trip Leader(s): John Klobas & Sarah Brooks
Start Date: Saturday, January 27, 2018
Start Time: 8:00 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Yolo County Winter Birding Starting in Winters Saturday, January 27, 2018 8 AM to mid Afternoon With John Klobas & Sarah Brooks Yolo County offers birders diverse habitats ranging from Coast Range mountains to near sea level agricultural lands of the Sacramento Valley. Our one-day winter transect will visit many prime birding sites during the height of winter bird diversity and numbers.

We will meet in the community of Winters where we will introduce our itinerary for the day and our target birds for the morning at Lake Solano Park. The park straddles Yolo and Solano Counties along Putah Creek at the base of the Coast Range. Specialties here include Hooded Merganser, Barrow's Goldeneye, Phainopepla, Wood Duck, and raptors. Perhaps even Lewis Woodpecker. We will bird both outside and inside the park ($5/car entry fee) and probably have lunch there.

Next we will visit two raptor hot spots in the area around Davis, one for Ferruginous Hawks and one for Burrowing Owls. We will finish the day at the West Sacramento ponds (still in Yolo County). The afternoon light can be extraordinary, and the larger Bridgeway pond can give us the unusual birds that are hard to find in that part of the valley: Blue-winged Teal, Canvasback, Sora, and others. Our last stop will be just minutes away at the Wood Duck ponds. This can be a jaw dropper because the ducks are close and not at all shy or restive as they are near any hunting area. Anyway, it is a great way to end the day, be within minutes of I-80, and be homeward bound before dusk.

Directions: We will meet at Rotary Park located at Main and Railroad Streets in Winters. From Marin take Highway 101 North to Highway 37. Then exit onto Highway I-80 East. In approximately 22 miles, take Exit 56 to merge onto I-505 North toward Redding. Take Exit 6 onto Allendale Road. Turn right onto Winters Road, right onto Putah Creek Road, and left onto Main Street. Allow 1 hour and 40 minutes for this drive. Bring a lunch, snacks, and drinks for the day. Also pack clothing options suitable for a variety of weather conditions. Heavy rain cancels.

Jean and John Starkweather Shoreline Park
Location: San Rafael
Trip Leader(s): Rich Cimino
Start Date: Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Start Time: 10:00 AM
End Time: 1:00 PM
Description: Join Rich for an easy bird walk on level ground during a high tide. We will bird the shoreline of San Pablo Bay watching for shorebirds on the rocks and diving ducks, loons, and grebes on the bay. We will also look for the Puget Sound variety of White-crowned Sparrow. Bring your scope, water, and snacks. Restrooms are available at the bird walk halfway mark (Target Store). Meet in the parking lot for the Jean and John Starkweather Shoreline trailhead. Heavy rain will cancel.

Directions: From the north, take Highway 101 to the Bellam Blvd exit. Turn left on Bellum then right on East Francisco Blvd, which parallels I-580. Head east (toward the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge for about 1-1/2 miles. You will see a Bay Cafe sign at the Bay Park Center. Turn left on Pelican Way then right to the trailhead parking area. From the south you can take the exit to the San Rafael Bridge getting off at the last Marin exit, the San Quentin exit. For GPS, use the Bay Cafe address, 2165 Francisco Blvd, San Rafael.

The Ponds at the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District (LGVSD)
Location: San Rafael
Trip Leader(s): Sande and Bob Chilvers
Start Date: Thursday, February 1, 2018
Start Time: 8:30 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. Join our skilled leaders as we search for waterfowl, waders, songbirds, raptors, and shorebirds. Wintering waterfowl provide interesting weekly sightings such as the continuing female Redhead and a pair of Hooded Mergansers.

We welcome bird enthusiasts of all levels. We all help each other to find and identify the birds, so come assist in our search. 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.

Sacramento Delta Boat Trip
Location: Boat leaves from and returns to the Antioch Marina
Trip Leader(s): David Wimpfheimer
Start Date: Sunday, February 4, 2018
Start Time: 8:15 AM
End Time: 4:30 PM

All available spaces on this boat trip have been sold. However, there are often several cancellations prior to the trip. If you wish to be included on a waiting list for this trip, contact Jane Medley at Be sure to include the name, email address, and phone number for each possible passenger.

Those confirmed on this trip will receive directions to the Antioch Marina and other instructions a week prior to the trip.

For a complete description of this trip, consult our January Rail, available at

eBird Workshop
Location: Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary's Blue Classroom, 376 Greenwood Beach Road, Tiburon
Trip Leader(s): Dan Singer
Start Date: Saturday, February 10, 2018
Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Dan Singer has agreed to once again lead this informative workshop for both eBird newcomers as well long-time contributors wanting to learn more. The workshop will offer hands-on instruction for entering data, guidance on best practices, and suggestions on how to make use of eBird data to enhance your own birding. The class will include a bird walk for collecting and entering data, both in the field and in the classroom. Much of the class will be devoted to a question and answer period where your questions and concerns can be addressed.

Be sure to bring your laptop and/or handheld device.

Our instructor, Dan Singer, is an avid eBird user and an eBird reviewer of checklists and records for San Francisco, Marin, and Sonoma Counties. Class size is limited to 15 people with advance registration required. Contact Jane Medley at to register. Please include your name and phone number.

The fee for this workshop will be $5 for Marin Audubon members and $10 for non-members, payable at the door. If you are not already a MAS member, we invite you to join at this event. We will meet in the Audubon Center classroom where the Marin Audubon monthly Speaker Series programs are held.

Directions: The Richardson Bay Audubon Center is at 376 Greenwood Beach Road. Take the Tiburon Blvd. exit from Highway 101 and drive about 0.8 mile to Greenwood Cove Road. Turn right at the traffic light toward the Audubon Center, which is about 0.5 mile farther.

Fort Mason/Crissy Field
Location: San Francisco
Trip Leader(s): David Assman
Start Date: Sunday, February 11, 2018
Start Time: 8:00 AM
End Time: 12:00 PM
Description: Bird two of San Francisco's hot spots - Fort Mason and Crissy Field. Fort Mason has a variety of habitats at the northeast corner of San Francisco and has an eBird list of 106 species for February. We'll be looking for overwintering species including the White-throated Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, and the Nashville Warbler. There could be four species of woodpeckers in the park. We'll also be looking for early migrants, including Allen's Hummingbird, which shows up by February. We will scan Aquatic Park for water birds including loons, cormorants, ducks, and gulls. The morning high tide at 8:10 means we'll have a good chance of finding one of the Wandering Tattlers on the pier. Then we'll travel to Crissy Field to look for loons, ducks, and shorebirds. Crissy Field Lagoon is a hotspot on the northern shore of San Francisco. Snowy Plovers may be found in the protected area.

Directions: Meet in front of the Fort Mason Community Garden. 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. Meet in front of the Community Garden (gate on the east side of the garden). Heavy rain cancels.

Nicasio and Tomales Bay, No. 2, Birding in Marin Series
Location: Nicasio, West Marin
Trip Leader(s): Jim White & Bob Battagin
Start Date: Saturday, February 17, 2018
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. This is Bob's home "patch" where the riparian, open field, and wooded habitats are good for a nice variety of sparrows, gleaners, and woodpeckers. Next 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? In the afternoon we are likely to explore along the northern shoreline of Tomales Bay. Heavy rain cancels.

DIRECTIONS: From Highway 101 take the Lucas Valley Road exit. Turn left on Lucas Valley Road and continue approximately 10.3 miles. Keep right on Nicasio Valley Road for 0.5 mile to the town of Nicasio. The baseball field is in the center of town. For GPS, use 1 Old Rancheria Road, Nicasio, the address for the Rancho Nicasio Restaurant.

Corte Madera Marsh
Location: Marta's Marsh, Corte Madera Shorebird Marsh, Audubon Restoration Site
Trip Leader(s): Roger Harris and Barbara Salzman
Start Date: Monday, February 19, 2018
Start Time: 11:00 AM
End Time: 2:30 PM
Description: This field trip is timed to capture the influx of wintering water birds as a high tide floods the San Francisco Bay, and the birds stream into the refuges in Corte Madera Marsh. We will take a short walk along San Clemente Creek as sandpipers and other waterbirds fly from the bay mudflats to the high tide refuge at Marta's Marsh. After the tide has risen further, we will walk to a tidal channel to listen for and perhaps see the endangered Ridgway's Rail, which is common in this marsh. We will then carpool a short way to the overlook at Corte Madera Shorebird Marsh, which can be quite spectacular in the winter with ducks, more shorebirds, and interesting possibilities for raptors.

There are no restrooms on this trip, but you will be passing the mall that comes well equipped in that department.

In addition to observing the behavior of these species, we will also address marsh processes, wetland vegetation, and coastal ecology. We will end with a visit to the newly restored Audubon site. Heavy rain cancels.

What to bring: Please wear layers, good walking shoes, and bring rain gear and binoculars. Bring water, snacks, and/or lunch. Optional items include: backpack, scope, guidebooks, camera, sunscreen, and sunhat.

Directions: Take the Tamalpais Exit from Hwy 101 in Corte Madera and go east. Turn west (right) on San Clemente Drive, which merges into Paradise Drive; take the first left onto Harbor Drive; then turn right onto Yolo and left onto Channel Drive. Meet at the north end of Channel Drive in east Corte Madera, where the road dead-ends with the marsh.

Skaggs Island
Location: Sonoma County
Trip Leader(s): Murray Berner
Start Date: Saturday, February 24, 2018
Start Time: 8:45 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Murray Berner led trips for Napa-Solano Audubon for many years and authored the Solano Co. Breeding Bird Atlas. With him as our guide, we will be allowed access to Skaggs Island, generally closed to the public. The island, a former naval facility, is now part of San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, an addition of more than 3000 acres. February is peak season for raptors, including Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk, Prairie Falcon and Burrowing Owl, plus dozens of kites and harriers, all of which were seen on last year's field trip. Black Rail is resident and was heard by our group last year. Songbirds flock in the former residential area, harassed by Merlin and Accipiters. Allen's Hummingbird will be displaying among the eucalyptus.

We will meet at the south entrance to Skaggs Island off of Hwy 37 and travel by car across the island, stopping to bird along the way. Some birders may wish to leave when we reach the island's north gate. Interested birders may continue with the group to Hudeman Slough where we will bird on foot. Dress in layers and sturdy shoes and bring lunch and water. Heavy rain cancels.

Directions: Take Hwy 101 north to Hwy 37 East. At the intersection with SR 121 (Sonoma Raceway), continue straight on Hwy 37 for 3.8 miles and turn left at Skaggs Island Road. No restrooms available.

Las Gallinas
Location: San Rafael
Trip Leader(s): Sande and Bob Chilvers
Start Date: Thursday, March 1, 2018
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Save the date! Details will be posted soon.

Stafford Lake
Location: Novato
Trip Leader(s): Bob Atwood
Start Date: Saturday, March 3, 2018
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Save the date! Details will be posted soon.

Hall Ranch
Location: Hall Ranch
Trip Leader(s): David Wimpfheimer
Start Date: Tuesday, March 6, 2018
End Date: Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Save the date! Details will be posted soon.

Mount Tamalpais/Corte Madera
Location: Mount Tamalpais/Corte Madera
Trip Leader(s): Jim White and Bob Battagin
Start Date: Saturday, March 17, 2018
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Save the date! Details will be posted soon.

Workshop: Outsmarting Your Digital Camera
Location: Richardson Bay Audubon Center, Tiburon
Trip Leader(s): Dave Strauss
Start Date: Saturday, March 24, 2018
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Save the date! Details will be posted soon.

Tolay Lake
Location: Petaluma
Trip Leader(s): Peter Colasanti
Start Date: Saturday, March 31, 2018
Start Time: [not specified]
End Time: [not specified]
Description: Save the date! Details will be posted soon.

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