Field Trips

Birdwatching
Photo: Rick Lewis

Note: All of these trips are now full! Our apologies if you’d like to go and we can’t fit you in on Sunday.

We invite you to join one of Golden Gate Audubon’s other birding field trips: They offer about 15 free trips throughout the East Bay and San Francisco each month.  Check out their calendar at goldengateaudubon.org/field-trips-info/.  

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Join one of our free guided birding field trips throughout Berkeley on Sunday, October 17! Beginners are warmly welcome. If you have binoculars, bring them: They are a big help!

Advance registration is required for nearly all of these trips. Registration will open on Sunday, October 10, at 8 a.m. and close on Saturday, October 16, at 5 p.m.  If you are registering with friends, each individual needs to sign up separately. Directions and the meeting spot will be emailed to you when you sign up. 

See details below for the following trips. Most are in the early morning since that’s when many birds are active and easier to see!

To protect everyone’s health, please wear a mask if you are not vaccinated. on Sunday

4 p.m. — Cesar Chavez Park

Berkeley Aquatic Park

8 to 10 a.m.

(Optional extension to 11 a.m. if we cross the pedestrian bridge to the Bay side of I-80.)
Leader: Rusty Scalf, rscalf@sonic.net

Aquatic Park is a long, 68-acre lagoon surrounded by greenery. The lagoon attracts lots of water birds and the adjacent trees and shrubs are home to many species of woodland birds, with winter residents returning now. Noted Berkeley birding teacher Rusty Scalf will lead the group along the two-mile flat, easy trail around the lagoon. Birders of all skill levels are welcome, especially beginners. We should have close looks at many birds, so binoculars are helpful but not necessary.

This trip is now FULL. Click here to sign up for the waiting list in case there are cancellations. Meeting place and directions will be sent to registered participants. 

Directions: Meet at the end of Bolivar Drive in Berkeley, 100 Bolivar Drive, where there is a public parking lot.  See this Google Maps link.  

Curious what birds you might see? eBird has a list of species sighted here in previous Octobers. 

Berkeley Meadow & Shoreline

8 a.m. to 10:30 or 11 a.m.

Leader: Bob Lewis, bob@wingbeats.org

Join award-winning birding instructor Bob Lewis to check out gulls, ducks, and shorebirds behind the Sea Breeze Market near the Berkeley Marina. Then we’ll head north into McLaughlin Eastshore State Park, looking for more shorebirds and ducks plus grassland birds such as sparrows, finches, warblers, and raptors including White-tailed Kite. Along the shore, we’ll seek terns, grebes, pelicans and other water birds.

The paths are all level but may be muddy if it’s rained. Bring binoculars if you have them; a spotting sccope is also helpful. There are restrooms behind the Sea Breeze and linch is available there. The walk will take 2.5 to 3 hours and the distance is about two miles.

This trip is now FULL. Click here to sign up for the waiting list in case there are cancellations. Meeting place and directions will be emailed to registered participants. 

Curious what birds you might see? eBird has a list of species sighted here in previous Octobers.J

U.C. Botanical Garden

8 to 9:30 a.m.

Leaders: Chris Carmichael and Krista Vossekuil

Explore the wonder of birds in the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley (UCBG) with former Director of Collections Chris Carmichael and UCBG staff Krista Vossekuil. The Garden’s diverse plantings and topography, along with adjoining woodland and chaparral habitat, make for good birding in every season. In addition to year-round resident species such as Wrentits, jays, hummingbirds, and raptors, we may see migrants passing through as fall migration winds down. We’re highly likely to see winter visitors including warblers, Hermit Thrushes and if we’re lucky, sapsuckers. Starting at the entrance plaza, we’ll plan on going up to the Garden of Old Roses for a panoramic view of the Bay and to the Oak Knoll. which often shows good flocks of gleaners in the oaks.

The UC Botanical Garden has varying elevations and can be quite steep in some places. We will stay along main, paved path with occasional forays onto gravel/dirt. The walk will take about 1.5 hours and the distance is approximately 1.25 miles. Restrooms are available in two places.

Please note that, per University policy, masks are required if you are unvaccinated.

This trip is now FULL. Click here to sign up for the waiting list, in case there are cancellations. The meeting place will be emailed to registered participants.

Curious what birds you might see? eBird has a list of species sighted here in previous Octobers. 

Vollmer Peak in Tilden Regional Park

8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Leaders: Fred Werner, sustainablefred@gmail.com and Teale Fristoe, fristoe@gmail.com

Vollmer Peak, at 1,905 feet tall, is considered the highest point in the Berkeley Hills and a magnet for migrating birds and rarities.  Already this year, a number of species that are almost never seen in the Bay Area have made high-profile visits to this particular spot.  The combination of hilly, shrubby, and open habitats will give us excellent opportunities to view a variety of birds, while also enjoying spectacular views from the Bay to  to Mt. Diablo (and all the way to the Sierra on clear days).

Wear sturdy footwear: most of the time we’ll be on a paved path, but at least part of the trail is unpaved and can be steep at times.  Birders of all skill levels are welcome. Bring binoculars if you have them, although a few extras will be available. 

This trip is now FULL. Click here to sign up for the waiting list in case there are cancellations. The meeting place and directions will be emailed to registered participants. 

Curious what birds you might see? eBird has a list of species sighted here in previous Octobers.

U.C. Campus

8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Leader: Melani King

There’s more to the main U.C. campus than libraries and lecture halls! Find and learn about some of the birds that make Cal their home. We’ll focus on the Eucalyptus Grove/Grinnell Natural Area around Strawberry Creek. Species we hope to find include chickadees, warblers, sparrows, towhees, and perhaps Hermit Thrush. Beginners are warmly welcome.

Bring binoculars if you have them. If not, we will have some pairs to share. This trip requires a relatively small amount of walking; no stairs, but part of it is on grass or unpaved, uneven ground.

This trip is now FULL. Click here to sign up for the waiting list in case there are cancellations. Meeting place and directions will be emailed to registered participants.

Family Birding Fun — Berkeley waterfront

10 to 11 a.m.

Leaders: Anthony DeCicco, decicco.anthony@gmail.com,  and John Poole

Join renowned naturalist Anthony DeCicco and veteran science teacher John Poole for a birding outing geared to families with young children. Exploring the Berkeley waterfront, we’ll meet near the Shorebird Nature Center and visit a range of habitats to find a variety of birds. Other critters too!

Bring binoculars if you have them. If not, we’ll have a limited number of binoculars to share.

This trip is now FULL. Click here to register for a waiting list in case there are cancellations. Meeting place and directions will be emailed to registered participants.

San Pablo Park (West Berkeley)

10 to 11 a.m.

Leader: Derek Heins, dlheins@gmail.com

Birds make their homes in every neighborhood and park of Berkeley. Join us to discover the birds of San Pablo Park, which has a varied landscape of trees, a playground, ball fields, and houses for Western Bluebirds. We’ll look for birds that live and nest here year-round and also  those that come for the winter to feed and rest.

This trip is now FULL. Click here to sign up for the waiting list in case of cancellations. Meeting place and directions will be emailed to registered participants.

Live Oak Park (North Berkeley)

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Leader: Maureen Lahiff, mlahiff@aol.com

Birds make their homes in every neighborhood and park of Berkeley. Join us to discover the birds of Live Oak Park, which has a number of old trees and edge habitats. We’ll look for birds that live and nest here year-round and also  those that come for the winter to feed and rest.

This trip is now FULL. Click here to sign up for the waiting list in case there are cancellations.  Meeting place and directions will be emailed to registered participants. 

Cesar Chavez Park

4 to 5:30 or 6 p.m.

Leader: Marty Nicolaus

Walk the perimeter of Cesar Chavez Park with Marty Nicolaus, CEO of the Chavez Park Conservancy and webmaster of chavezpark.org.  Our trip begins at low tide to give us a chance at seeing shorebirds on the east side of the park in the North Basin cove.   We’ll walk north looking for Savannah Sparrows and maybe Pipits, other sparrows, finches and warblers in the grasses and shrubs.  If we’re very lucky, we might see an early Burrowing Owl along the north side.  Then we head south along the open bay and may choose to enter the Native Plant Area, a forested grove where anything is possible, even a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  You’ll learn some things about the history of the park along the way. 

The total loop is 1.5 miles on a paved level path, with a dirt trail and slight elevation changes in the Native Plant Area.  There’s a water fountain near the start of the walk and there are porta-potties on the last leg of the loop.  We should be back at the starting point by 5:30 or 6 p.m.

This trip is now FULL. Click here to sign up for the waiting list in case there are cancellations. The meeting place and directions will be emailed to registered participants.

Curious what birds you might see? Check out this list of birds photographed in Cesar Chavez Park.