Sequoia Audubon Society
                              San Mateo County, California

Sequoia Audubon Field Trips

SAS Field Trip
Sweetwood Group Camp, Half Moon Bay. Trip led by Malia DeFelice & Chris Hayward (on the far right.) Photo by Malia DeFelice

Visitors and guests are welcome!

  • All trips are open and suitable for beginners unless specifically marked.

  • Trips marked as Beginner's Trips include advice on binoculars and telescopes, and a short open-ended discussion on birding and the environment.

  • It is always a good idea to check with the field trip LEADER for confirmation on trips beyond the immediate area in case of last minute changes.

  • Note that some trips require reservations, see the individual descriptions for requirements.

  • Further information may be obtained from the listed Trip LEADER or from

  • A description for the event icons can be found at the bottom of the page.

  • This listing also includes trips and events not sponsored by Sequoia Audubon Society - listed for your information, only.

Note: All phone numbers are for Area Code 650, unless otherwise stated.

Recurring Activities


Weekday Walks and Field Trips with Donna Pomeroy on the First Wednesday of every month to some places we may not normally bird and usually in San Mateo County. For all trips carpooling is preferred. Contact Donna to arrange if a carpool location is not already suggested. Rain cancels trips.

Trip details found in dated listings below.

Leader: Donna Pomeroy

Field TripMonthly Beginner Bird Walk, Bedwell Bayfront Park, 2nd Saturdays, October 2017 - April 2018

Join Friends of Bedwell Bayfront Park and Sequoia Audubon Society for a 1-2 hour beginner bird walk. We should see wintering ducks and shorebirds, perhaps egrets, a raptor (hawk) or two, and some LBBs (little brown birds). Bring binoculars if you have them: if not, we'll share ours with you.

Meet at the parking lot by restrooms at Bedwell Bayfront Park on the 2nd Saturday of every month at 10am to noon. Heavy rain cancels. All are welcome!

For more information: Adam Dudley


Don't forget to check Other Activities for field trips of interest not sponsored by SAS.

Field TripfeeBeach Bluff Walk and Sweetwood Group Camp, Half Moon Bay
Friday, September 29, 9:00am - 12:00pm

RSVP - Please confirm if you intend to attend this field trip so we know to expect you or in case we need to cancel due to weather

This approximately 2.5 mi. loop walk will take us through Sweetwood Group Camp and along blufftop trails that overlook Dunes State Beach and Venice State Beach. Frenchman's Creek mouth and Pilarcitos Creek mouth will also be visited during our walk. Beginning Birders Welcome!

Directions: Meet at the parking lot at Venice Beach State Park. Park at Venice State Beach for a $10 day use fee (which can be used at any State Beach that day) or there is free street parking at the north end of Pilarcitos Ave., at Wave Ave. and on adjacent streets. If opting for free parking, park, then walk towards the beach, where you will intersect with the paved coastal trail. Head north along the paved trail to the meet-up location at Venice State Beach.

Leaders: Chris Hayward and Malia DeFelice. RSVP: If you are running late text or call 650-346-2009.

Field TripMigrants at Bodega Bay and Point Reyes
September 29th - October 1st , 8:30am - 12pm

(RSVP required no later than 8/18/2017)

In late September and early October fall migration is in full swing. This fast-paced trip visits two of the best areas for migrants in our area - Bodega Bay and Point Reyes. We will go to a range of habitats, but will be particularly interested in those attractive to migrant passerines; if we are lucky we may even see even a vagrant or two!

Certain species of wood warblers reliably appear every fall: American Redstarts and Palm, Blackpoll, Prairie, and Chestnut-sided warblers are some of the most "common" vagrants, but almost anything can turn up. With a supporting cast of returning winter visitors, this is an amazing place to spend a fall weekend!

The trip will start with dinner on the evening of Friday Sept 29th.

Due to the extremely low availability of hotel rooms, please confirm your participation to Adam Dudley ( by August 18 at the latest. Trip limited to 8 participants.

Field TripHayward Regional Shoreline
Wednesday, October 4th

Hayward Regional Shoreline is an excellent location for ducks, shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds. The eucalyptus, fennel, and coyote bush at the end of Winton Road often yield interesting land birds and the shoreline is home to many species of wintering ducks and shorebirds. Bring a scope if you have one. Easy, level trails.

Directions: Take Hwy 92 east across the San Mateo Bridge; take the first exit -- Clawiter / Eden Landing – and go north to Winton. Turn left. Follow Winton past the old park office to where the road ends at the last parking lot inside the gates.

Leader: Donna Pomeroy Contact:

Field TripUnderbirded Areas of San Mateo County
Coal Creek Open Space Preserve: Alpine Road Migrant Adventures
Saturday, October 7, 8:00am - 1:00pm
RSVP Required/Space Limited

Alpine Road between Page Mill Road and Portola Valley is part of Coal Creek Open Space Preserve. We will hike the whole two miles, creatively parking cars to avoid walking uphill, in search of migrating passerines. Due to parking constraints, we will be limited to eight participants, so register now. We will meet at 8:00 am, coordinates to be shared with participants, over by 1:00 pm.

RSVP Required; Space Limited due to parking.

Leader: Jennifer Rycenga. Contact:

Field TripBig Sit and Big Ride
Sunday October 8th, Pescadero State Beach and Marsh Natural Preserve

Join us for this pair of annual fun(d)raiser events! All day at the top of the hill above the metal bridge for the Big Sit! Come when you can, leave when you must.

Big Sit Leader: Jennifer Rycenga. Contact:

Big Rider Leader: Rob Furrow at for starting point and time information.

Field Tripfeeout of area trip pelagic trip Island Scrub Jay Adventure
Friday October 13th - Sunday October 15th
(RSVP required no later than 8/18/2017)

Sequoia Audubon Society is sponsoring a field trip to Santa Cruz Island on the weekend of October 13-15. We will spend the night in Ventura on Friday night, near the harbor, in order to board the ship that will take us out to Santa Cruz Island on Saturday morning. The hour-and-a-half boat ride across the Santa Barbara Channel will provide us with opportunities to view marine mammals and seabirds.

Once we disembark on Santa Cruz Island we will have opportunities to view the endemic Island Scrub-Jay, as well as possibilities of 10 additional endemic bird subspecies. Another highlight of this trip is the chance to see the native Santa Cruz Island Fox, one of the smallest foxes in the world, weighing just 3-4 pounds. We return to Ventura Harbor Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday morning, we will do some birding in the local area, with the trip breaking up in the early afternoon, giving people a chance to return home for work on Monday.

This trip is limited to 12 people and will fill quickly. The boat ticket is $54, roundtrip. You will need to pay this to Sequoia Audubon Society immediately to secure your spot. A list of nearby motels will be provided, but you will need to make your own reservations.

Trip leaders are Francis Toldi, Donna Pomeroy, and Leslie Flint. In order to receive hotel information and the address to send payment, please RSVP as soon as possible (by 8/18/2017 at the latest) to Leslie Flint (

Field TripFitzgerald Marine Reserve - RSVP
Friday, October 20, 9:00am - 11:00am

Some of the best birding can be found right near the parking lot in the willows by the road and in the cypress trees by the picnic tables. So that is where we will start! We will then proceed down to the beach area to scan for seabirds and shorebirds. From there we will take a leisurely walk into the park itself where there is a mix of good riparian habitat and a dense stand of conifer trees which should have some good migrant warbler possibilities. We will have the option of walking down to the beach via the stairs at the south end of the park. Our trip back to the parking lot will be along the bluff top where we will have good views of the ocean and birds passing by.

Please confirm if you intend to attend this field trip as predictions of heavy rain will cancel.

Directions: Meet at the Fitzgerald Marine parking lot. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is located west of Highway 1 in Moss Beach, 7 miles north of Half Moon Bay, and 21 miles south of San Francisco. From Highway 1 at Moss Beach, turn west on California Avenue and proceed to the parking lot at the end of the street. The Reserve's main entrance is at the end of California Avenue. On weekends, allow 45 minutes to reach the Reserve from the intersection of Highways 280 and 92. There are restrooms at the parking lot.

Leaders: Malia DeFelice and Chris Hayward. Contact: to RSVP. or 650-346-2009 (call if you are running late or lost). Heavy rain cancels.

Field TripFiloli Estate (Reservations required)
Saturday, October 21, 8:30am - 12:00pm

Filoli is the property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We have been invited for a morning of birding on this beautiful estate on the edge of the San Francisco Watershed land. The grounds of Filoli include a beautiful formal garden surrounded by large oaks and trails leading to riparian, redwood and farm habitats. Over 96 species of birds have been found here.

Reservations required because this trip is limited to 20 people maximum (sorry, no children under 14). Participants may remain after the field trip to walk through the house and formal gardens at no charge. Picnic tables are available near the Visitor Education Center if you wish to enjoy your own food, or you can purchase a wide variety of lunch items and beverages at the Quail's Nest Cafe. The gift shop will also be open.

Directions: Take Hwy 280 to the Edgewood Road exit; go west. Turn right/north on Cañada Road and drive approx one mile to the entrance of Filoli. We will meet in front of the Visitor Education Center. Heavy Rain Cancels.

Call Sue James at 650-348-0315 to reserve your spot.

Leaders: Sue James and Martha O'Neal.

Field TripPurisima Old Town Site and Cowell-Purisima Coastal Trail
Sunday, October 22, 8:00-12:00pm

We will start our field trip at Cowell-Purisima Trail, looking for migrants and returning winter visitors by walking through coastal grasslands and ending up on the blufftop trail. We will then visit the Purisima Old Town Site (POTS) by special invitation of the Coastside Land Trust. The rows of Cypress and Eucalyptus trees remain that were planted in front of the 17-room Dobbel mansion in the mid-1800s, but the remnants of the once-flourishing town are gone, leaving a variety of habitats including a meadow and riparian area. The site is normally closed to the public because it is known to be a nesting spot for raptors. The group may also visit the Purisima Cemetery, just east of POTS, which is not affiliated with the Land Trust but which has recently had pathways cleared by a private group.

Directions: Meet in the parking lot at the Cowell-Purisima Trail at 8am.

Leaders: Adam Dudley and Barbara Dye. Contact:

Field TripLas Gallinas Ponds, San Rafael
Wednesday, November 1, 8:30am - 12:00pm

The Las Gallinas Ponds include the treatment ponds, tidal marsh and surrounding agricultural fields at LGVSD's Wastewater Treatment Reclamation Project. This is an excellent area to view a wide variety of waterfowl and other wetland birds and maybe even a chance to see one of the resident River Otters. These are level trails along a series of levees. This is a slow-paced trip, excellent for all levels of birding. A scope is useful here, if you have one, but many of the birds are close enough for great photo opportunities.

Directions: From Highway 101 in San Rafael take the Smith Ranch Road exit, then go east on Smith Ranch toward the McInnis Park entrance. Turn left immediately after crossing the railroad tracks, staying on Smith Ranch, and go about .5 miles to the end of the road, at the Las Gallinas Ponds parking lot. Meet in the parking lot. Heavy rain cancels.

Leader: Donna Pomeroy Contact:

Field TripfeeExploring our San Mateo County Coastline - RSVP - parking fee
Friday, November 17, 8:00am - 12:00pm

November is a wonderful time to be on the coastside. The combination of shoreline and blufftop habitats afford a unique and rich opportunity to view a large number of species of birds including waterfowl, loons and grebes, cormorants, herons, raptors, shorebirds, gulls, wood-warblers, sparrows and more. We will start our day at Venice Beach/Pilarcitos Creek mouth checking out the gull flock then walk a short distance north through the Sweetwood group camp to Dunes Beach. From there we will caravan by car to San Gregorio SB, Pomponio SB, Pescadero SB and will end up at Gazos Creek coastal access. At each stop we will check the gull flocks and shoreline then hike short distances to vista points to overlook and scope out over the ocean.

Please confirm if you intend to attend this field trip as predictions of heavy rain will cancel.

Directions: Meet in the Venice Beach parking lot near the restrooms. The large parking area is at the west end of Venice Boulevard which turns off Highway 1 just north of downtown Half Moon Bay. Unless you possess an annual State Parks pass, you must pay a fee for day-use beach access. Your receipt/envelope stub will allow you to visit all state beaches that day.

Leaders: Malia DeFelice and Chris Hayward. Contact: to RSVP or 650-346-2009 (call if you are running late or lost). Heavy rain cancels.

Field TripPescadero State Beach
Wednesday, December 6, 9:00am - 12:00pm

We will meet at the furthest end of the second (middle) parking lot for Pescadero State Beach. This is the dirt parking lot just south of the creek mouth. It does not require a fee. We will spend some time looking for shorebirds and seabirds from the bluff, then drive a short distance to another part of the park to look for landbirds. There is a wide variety of habitats in this park and we will hope to see quite a few species. Scopes will be very useful on this trip, so bring one along if you have one. Expect cool and breezy weather here, but warmer when we go inland.

Directions: From Half Moon Bay, take Highway 1 south about 15 miles toward Santa Cruz. As you approach Pescadero, you will see extensive marsh on the east side of the highway and the second parking lot will be on your right, just after you cross the bridge over Pescadero Creek mouth. Heavy rain cancels.

Leader: Donna Pomeroy Contact:

Field TripCowell-Purisima Trail - RSVP
Saturday, December 9, 9:00am - 12:00pm

This morning's field trip will explore Cowell-Purisima Trail. We will be looking for raptors and grassland birds like sparrows and meadowlarks. Ocean views provide good seawatching opportunities for sea birds. This area features the coastal terrace prairie habitat, similar to Wavecrest and Blufftop parks further north in Half Moon Bay. At the turnaround point of our walk, there is a good riparian area where we can search for wintering warblers. This trip would be especially appropriate for photographers - both new and experienced - because of the sweeping vistas and hawks in flight. The plan is to walk a 4-mile roundtrip to the creek and back. The walk is flat except for the last descent into the creek area and return ascent back to the flat trail. There are restrooms at the parking lot.

Please confirm if you intend to attend this field trip as predictions of heavy rain will cancel.

Directions: meet at the parking lot on California Route 1, about three miles south of 92, across from Bob's Produce Stand.

Leader: Malia DeFelice and Chris Hayward. Contact: to RSVP or 650-346-2009 (call if you are running late or lost). Heavy rain cancels.


Additional Field Trips will be added as the information becomes available.

Legend of Field Trip Symbols

Field Trip Wildlife Viewing

fee Fee required for part or all of this event

out of area trip Trip beyond local area, perhaps including an overnight stay

volunteer opportunity Volunteer Opportunity

beginner and family walk Beginner/Family walk

nature walk or viewing Nature Walk or Viewing

pelagic trip Pelagic (Ocean) Trip

motor tour Motor Tour. May include car pooling.

wheelchair accessible Wheelchair Accessible

bicycle Birding by Bicycle


2017 S.A.S.