Field Trips

                                                                                                                                                                                           Golden Eagle, By Blake Matheson                                                                                                                                

First Sat. of each month (August 5, September 2, October 7, November 4) – 8:30am: Elkhorn Slough Reserve Bird Walks

Start out your first weekend of every month with a bird walk around the Elkhorn National Estuarine Research Reserve in Moss Landing. We’ll explore the Elkhorn Slough watershed looking for resident and migrant birds that utilize this dynamic ecosystem. Meet: Elkhorn Slough Visitors Center at 1700 Elkhorn Road, Castroville, CA 95076. The walk starts at 8:30am sharp. No RSVP needed. Contact: Rick Fournier 831-633-0572 or the reserve office at 831-728-2822 for questions.

Sat. August 12 – Shorebird Trip around Elkhorn Slough

By mid-August the southward migration of shorebirds is well underway. Adults have been arriving for about a month, youngsters are just beginning to arrive in numbers. Elkhorn Slough is an Important Bird Area comprised by a very rich tidal mudflat system critical to an array of bird species. Depending on conditions, we might visit Jetty Road, Moss Landing Wildlife Area or the Zmudowski/McClusky Slough Complex. We’ll rendezvous at Surf City Coffee at 830AM. Please RSVP to Blake Matheson at

 Thurs. August 17 – Toro Creek Trail

This trail is a flat fire road that follows Toro Creek along Fort Ord National Monument. We'll be looking for lingering summer species such as: Hooded Oriole, Warbling Vireo, or Black-headed Grosbeak, and maybe a surprise raptor, plus the resident species of the oak woodland/ chaparral habitat. The walk is 2 miles round-trip. Contact Leader: Rita Carratello or 831 277-2303 for meeting time and place. Rain cancels.

 Sun. September 10 – 8:30am: Pajaro Dunes Birding

Fall is always an exciting birding season, and Pajaro Dunes attracts a wide variety of species. We'll bird The Last Mile at Pajaro Dunes South from Watsonville Slough to its convergence with the Pajaro River. Then, time permitting, we'll head to the pond at Pajaro Dunes Shorebirds. This often provides a close look at certain shorebirds, wintering waterfowl, and an array of passerines. Meet: 8:30 a.m. just beyond the Chevron station on Lee Rd. Take the Riverside exit in Watsonville, and go left over the freeway, if coming from the south. Turn right at Chevron and park just beyond there. Leader: Nanci Adams   Reservations appreciated: or 831-728-5803. All are welcome. The walking is easy.

 Sat. September 16 – 8am: Carmel River Mouth State Beach

We will bird the lagoon and adjacent trails to the south of the “Cross Hill” area looking for vagrant warblers on the south side of the wetlands area and migratory shorebirds along the beach and marsh area. Also possible are raptors such as Osprey and Peregrine Falcon. Meet: 8:00 AM in the parking lot at Starbucks, Rio Rd and Hwy 1, Carmel. Leader: Robert Horn, 831-372-4608. email:

 Sat. September 23 – 8am: Laguna Grande Park

This city lake area is one of our best locations for seeing a variety of birds, from vagrant warblers in the willow and eucalyptus trees to some of the marsh species like Sora and Virginia’s rail. Meet: Chili’s parking lot by Embassy Suites at 8:00am. We will spend a couple hours around the park and Roberts Lake. Bring water and a snack. RSVP: Cooper at for confirmation 

Sun. October 15 – 8:30am: West Marine's East Struve Slough

This is a local favorite, and it's been the site of unusual spottings, such as Pacific Golden-Plovers (Sept.) and a pair of wintering Redheads. Wintering waterfowl, which may include Hooded Mergansers, as well as passerines, such as Townsend's and Yellow-rumped Warblers, are in abundance. Weedy patches provide a variety of sparrows. Meet: in the far back parking lot of West Marine on Westridge Dr. From the south, take the Green Valley exit, turn right on Harkins Slough Road, and make an immediate right on Westridge Dr. Go straight to West Marine's back lot and meet at the trailhead. Easy walking. Rain cancels. Leader: Nanci Adams   Reservations appreciated: or 831-728-5803. All are welcome.

Sat. October 28 – 8am: Moss Landing Area

The Moss Landing area is well known for its species and ecosystem variety. The region is adorned with saltwater estuaries and restored freshwater wetlands which will be the focus of our outing. Our field trip will take us first to Zumdowski State Beach where we will bird to the mouth of the Pajaro River. The route offers us a 50+ species potential, but 70+ is not out of the realm of possibility. Upon completion of the Zumdowski portion of the day, we will relocate to Jetty Road to catch the outgoing tide as it exposes the expansive mudflats. There we will sort through the masses of shorebirds with hopes of a mega rarity scurrying! Meet: Zumdowski State Beach parking lot at 8 am. The walk is approximately 1.5 miles round trip to the Pajaro River mouth on a flat dirt road. The field trip will conclude around 12 noon, however, additional locations may be visited if conditions are right! Recommended equipment: Water, Sunscreen, Binoculars and Camera. Optional: Spotting Scope (I will have one that all can use). All outing will be documented utilizing eBird. Lists will be shared upon request. Moss Landing has a number of eateries available to tame your appetite, or just bring your own sack lunch to picnic in one of the many scenic locations around the area. No RSVP required, rain cancels. Leader: Paul Fenwick

OMonterey Audubon Society, P.O Box 5656, Carmel, CA 93921                                                    © Monterey Audubon 2012