Monterey Audubon Field Trips visit some of Central California’s most notable birding hotspots. While all are welcome on our trips, spaces are limited and a number are always held for dues-paying chapter members. We hope to see you in the field!

Red-tailed Hawks are a common delight on many Monterey Audubon Field Trips.

Red-tailed Hawks are a common delight on many Monterey Audubon Field Trips.

Sat. September 7 – 9:00am: Laguna Grande Park
Experience the beginnings of fall migration at Laguna Grande Park. We will circle the lake on paved trails to search the willow patches, blackberry bushes, lake, and creekside to find interesting species that have dropped in to rest on their migration southwards. At this week last year Yellow Warblers numbered at least 45 in one day. There’s also plenty of resident species to observe. Meet: 9:00am at the Virgin Ave parking lot on the Monterey side. This street can be accessed from Del Monte Blvd and is between English and the In and Out Burger. We will walk about 1.5 miles on flat surface and be out about two hours. Bring your binoculars, cameras, and scopes. Leader: Rita Carratello

 Sat. September 14 – 8:30am: Palo Corona Regional Park (Rancho Canada unit) & South Bank Trail Recently the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District acquired the old Rancho Canada Golf Course in Carmel Valley and it has been merged into the Palo Corona Regional Park. We will now be able to bird the old golf cart paths and trails that previously were not readily accessible to birders as we follow along the riparian habitat of the Carmel River. The bridge access across the river allows for wonderful viewing from a higher elevation in the dense canopy of the trees along the river and we will be looking for our resident birds as well as migrants. This is a great time for that unusual vagrant warbler, vireo or water thrush. Meet: At 8:30 AM in the main parking lot by the Discovery Center and bathrooms. Take Carmel Valley rd. east to just past Carmel Middle School, make a right on Rio rd. and look for the regional park sign to your left. Leader: Robert Horn 831-372-4608, email:  

Sat. September 28 – 8:00am: Moonglow Dairy
Moonglow Diary is the crown jewel of restricted access Monterey Birding destinations. A working dairy situated over Elkhorn Slough the sprawling property, much of it now under conservation easement, has hosted a mind-boggling diversity of species over the years. Through Monterey Audubon and active local birders, limited access for field observation has been generously granted thanks to the generosity of the property owners. Late September is a prime time to visit, falling on the "shoulder season" between peak shorebird, songbird and waterfowl migration times.  We will rendezvous at 8:00 AM at the Steamin' Cup coffee shop along Highway One in Moss Landing. RSVP to leader Blake Matheson at Attendance is strictly limited to 12.

 Sat. October 5 – 9:00am: Pajaro Dunes Birding
Pajaro Dunes attracts a wide variety of species and often provides excellent close views. First, we'll explore the Shorebird Pond area for wintering waterfowl and passerines. Then, we'll bird the Last Mile at Pajaro Dunes South for shorebirds, raptors, gulls and other wintering birds. The convergence of Watsonville Slough and Pajaro River is nearly always a rich birding spot. Meet: At 9:00 a.m. just beyond the Chevron station on Lee Road in Watsonville. 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. Rain cancels. Leader: Nanci Adams   Reservations appreciated: or 831-728-5803. All are welcome; the walking is easy. Sorry, no pets.

 Sat. October 12 – 8:00am: San Lorenzo County Park
Join Amanda in King City to check out this fun, varied county park. San Lorenzo has proved really enriching: there's a more formal park area with grassy lawns, big stands of eucalyptus trees, a narrow riparian corridor, and access to the Salinas River. Lots of cool habitats = lots of cool birds. We're hoping to see White-breasted Nuthatches, Phainopeplas, maybe a Western or Summer Tanager, awesome raptors and woodpeckers, and of course some lovely fall warblers. The walk will officially begin at 8:00 AM at San Lorenzo Park, beginning at the parking area in front of the bathrooms. For folks driving there from the north, we will meet up at the Laureles Grade Park and Ride to carpool at 7:00 AM. Birders at all levels welcome! The walk is less than 0.5 miles total and is primarily on maintained trails. It can get hot, so bring water, a hat, and sunscreen. Bring binoculars if you have them. Amanda will carry a spotting scope. We'll return to our cars at noon. Please RSVP to Amanda: or (208)520-8794

California Quail are common residents of Hatton Canyon

California Quail are common residents of Hatton Canyon

 Sat. October 19 – 8:30am: Hatton Canyon
This seldom-used State Park property, which was saved from being a freeway corridor, is now a preserved green belt with many species of birds. We should see a variety of woodpeckers, as well as our wintering warblers and sparrows. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at trailhead behind the Barnyard Shopping Center.  Leader: Carole Rose. RSVP appreciated:

 Sat. November 2 – 9:00am: Del Monte Beach: Dead or Alive!
Del Monte Beach: Dead or Alive! Not for the faint of heart - Amanda will lead a group looking for live shorebirds and seabirds, but will also teach informal anatomy and physiology lessons as carcasses allow... Del Monte beach is a good spot to find dead birds, which can be a good way to learn identification skills and observe fine details that often aren't visible through binoculars. Meet: At the parking lot across from the Naval Postgraduate School entrance at Cunningham Rd. at 9:00 AM. We'll walk out to the beach, then west to Fisherman's Wharf, then back to the parking lot. We'll be walking in sand, so wear appropriate shoes. Bring binoculars if you have them. Amanda will have a spotting scope. Wear layers and bring a snack. Walk is from 9AM to noon. Please RSVP to Amanda: or (208)520-8794

 Sun. November 3 – 8:30am: Laguna Grande Park Monterey/Seaside
Experience the end of fall migration at Laguna Grande Park. We will circle the lake on paved trails to search the willow patches, blackberry bushes, lake, and creekside to find interesting species that have dropped in to rest on their migration southwards or birds that will overwinter here. It’s a good time to study sparrows and waterbirds. There’s also plenty of resident species to observe. At this week last year there was an Eastern Wood-Pewee and a Scarlet Tanager. Meet: Virgin Ave parking lot. This street can be accessed from Del Monte Blvd and is between English and the In and Out Burger. We will walk about 1.5 miles on flat surface and be out about two hours. Bring your binoculars, cameras, and scopes. Leader: Don Roberson

 Sat. November 16 – Frog Pond Wetland Preserve
The Frog Pond can be extra productive if there are rains that fill the pond. Expect to see an interesting fall migrant or 2 plus an array of resident and wintering birds this month. Birds are more often heard here than seen as the foliage is quite thick. Plan on training your ears. As the parking is limited and the trails are narrow this trip is limited to eight participants. RSVP to leader Rita Carratello 831 277-2303 for meeting time and place.

 Sat-Sun. November 16-17 – Cranes & Waterfowl of the San Joaquin and Merced National Wildlife Refuges
Monterey Audubon Society will lead an overnight trip searching for Sandhill Crane, waterfowl and other interesting birds in and around the San Luis and Merced National Wildlife Refuges near Los Banos. We’ll carpool early on Saturday, November 16 for a two-hour journey to San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, where we’ll find about a dozen species of ducks and a variety of other water birds. If time permits, we will make a stop at nearby O'Neil Forebay for more waterfowl and potential raptor such as Burrowing Owl, Prairie Falcon and Bald Eagle. We will then enjoy dinner in a local restaurant and stay overnight in a hotel in Los Banos. Bright and early Sunday morning, we’ll explore the Merced National Wildlife Refuge and other local interesting birding spots such as the North Grassland Wildlife Area and Great Valley Grassland State Park near Gustine. There are sure to be mammals for us to see as well. We will plan to be back in Monterey by early evening on Sunday.  Participation: The trip is limited to 8 participants. RSVP: Required. Once your spot is reserved, you’ll receive detailed trip information. Contact: Shawn Wagoner at Transportation: Transportation provided from a Monterey meeting location (to be announced), although personal vehicles are OK. Fee: Suggested donation of $25 per person. Accommodations: We will stay in a moderately-priced hotel in Los Banos. Each participant will be responsible for reserving and covering the costs of their room. The leaders will announce the hotel they have selected but participants are welcome to choose any of the hotels in Los Banos. Please wait until you are confirmed and have received detailed trip information before booking your hotel. Food: Participants will be responsible for their own food. Restaurant and grocery options are available on Saturday evening in Los Banos. Please bring snacks, lunch, and water for both days. Fitness: This is mostly a driving tour with numerous stops. Much of the birding will be done in the vehicles, or near the vehicles. Short (optional) walks are planned as a group.Rain Policy: Rain may cancel at least a portion of this tour. We may cancel our visit to any of the Wildlife Refuges if auto tours are closed or other events cause unfavorable birding conditions. Leaders will make every effort to communicate any cancellations to the group as soon as possible. Recommended Equipment: Plenty of water and snacks, a jacket/warm layers of clothing (weather might be nice but prepare for cold, rain, and wind), sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, binoculars, scope and camera. Since this is an overnight trip be sure to pack accordingly.

SPECIAL EVENT Fri. December 27 – 120th Annual Monterey Peninsula Christmas Bird Count
Join MAS for the centuries-old Christmas Bird Count. From Fort Ord to Garrapata State Park and Monterey Bay to the Laureles Grade, our Christmas Bird Count is surely one of the most scenic in the US. The annual effort will help build on the oldest citizen-science data sets in the US. We divide our count circle into roughly 15 districts, each “lead” by experienced local birders. All participants of all experience levels are welcome to join us. Contact Rita Carratello for a territory assignment at

SPECIAL EVENT: Sat. January 18. Gull Identification Field Symposium
Gull identification remains one of the most persistently stubborn field identification challenges for birders of all experience levels. Winter is peak time for a handful of uncommon to mega rare species that occur on the California Coast. Join larophile and MAS President Blake Matheson for a trip through local gull roosts to enjoy our diversity of winter species and learn the finer points of their identification. Free to dues-paying chapter members, $40.00 for non members. Attendance limited to 12. Meet at the Crespi Pond restrooms at 7:30 AM, RSVP to Blake Matheson at

A Western Gull in worn, “second-cycle” plumage.

A Western Gull in worn, “second-cycle” plumage.