Re: [CALBIRDS] Contra Costa County, Late Feb./early March
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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