Contra Costa County, Late Feb./early March
- Hello, I'm a high school science teacher, new to California, hoping to do a
"mini-course" on birding, during the last week of Feb. - first week of
March, and hoping to take the students out birding 4-6 times. I'm in
Lafayette (Contra Costa County, East Bay), and am hoping some people on this
list might be able to advise me on:
A) How active should I expect birding to be here that time of year? A friend
warns me that many winter residents (esp. wading and aquatic spp.) will have
left already, and spring migrants won't have arrived yet.
B) Any suggestions on good spots in / near Lafayette? I'm planning one full
day at Point Reyes, and maybe one other day driving farther afield in the
East Bay area.
Lafayette, CA 94549
Although it precedes your mini-course dates, you might consider taking interested students to the San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival (http://sfbayflywayfestival.com/) in Vallejo the weekend of February 1-3. There will be slide shows, optics vendors, live raptors, and volunteers with spotting scopes in the marsh to show birds to the public.
I would suggest Bodega Bay instead of Pt. Reyes, since there are vehicle restrictions beyond Drake's Bay. You have to get (free) tickets to take a shuttle bus to the Lighthouse, Chimney Rock, and the Fish Docks between January 1 and March 31. At least that's how it's been for about the past 5 years out there, to protect the Northern Elephant Seal rookery there.
I presume many of your students will not have binoculars, so getting close to the birds is important. In that respect, Lake Merritt may be a better place than Jewel Lake, since your students can get wonderful close-up looks at the waterfowl at Lake Merritt.
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