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Field Trips for Saturday, January 24, 2015

Valley Wetlands & Wintering Waterbirds - For the Serious Birder - Sold Out!

$30 Adult
6:30 am - 4:30 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
A true adventure trip, lots of driving and hiking

Travel the back roads of Chico to visit the Llano Seco Unit of the North Central Valley Wildlife Management Area, Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, Thermalito Afterbay, and the Feather River. Also, we'll return to Chico via Cottonwood Road. Along with Snow Geese, we hope to see a variety of waterfowl, raptors, and many other wetland species. This trip is most appropriate for intermediate and advanced birders. Bring lunch, water, binoculars, spotting scopes, and a field guide.

Field Trip Leader: Jay Bogiatto

Refuge to Refuge -- Snow Geese Galore! - Sold Out!

$30 Adult ; $10 Youth
7:00 am - 5:00 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
Walking, could involve distance but largely flat

Visit two premier Sacramento Valley wildlife refuges, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Sacramento NWR, and CA Dept. of Fish and Game Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. See huge flocks of Snow Geese and waterfowl along with cranes, ibis, and a variety of raptors. Dress in layers and bring a sack lunch.

Field Trip Leader: Skip Augur

Tehama Bird Trek - Sold Out!

$27 Adult ; $10 Youth
7:30 am - 3:00 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
More vigorous hiking, some elevation gain/loss

Areas that will be visited on this exciting bird trek include always birdy Cone Grove Park bordering Antelope Creek and Tehama's best kept secret, the Sacramento River Discovery Center. The SRDC is a Watchable Wildlife Site. Habitats include oak woodland, restored grasslands, and riparian. Target birds for this trip are the Lewis’s Woodpecker and Golden Eagle. Bring lunch, water, and binoculars.

Field Trip Leader: David Dahnke

Tundra Swan Viewing -- District 10 (includes lunch) - Sold Out!

$32 Adult ; $12 Youth
7:45 am - 1:30 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
Mostly birding by car and/or easy walking

Drive from Chico to Marysville and stop at District 10 where traditionally hundreds of large Tundra Swans can be seen. Swan viewing will be mainly from the sides of backcountry roads -- the hiking will be very limited. We will stop at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Charlie Mathews who will offer us lunch and a presentation on the benefits of rice farming for wildlife. Bring binoculars and spotting scopes if you have them.

Field Trip Leaders: Charlie Mathews and Dale Whitmore

Birds & Trees of the Genetic Resource and Conservation Center - Still Open

$22 Adult ; $10 Youth
8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
Walking, could involve distance but largely flat

Join us for a walk through the Genetic Resource and Conservation Center in South Chico. Here you will find a lovely arboretum nature trail that runs next to the creek. Enjoy the 209-acre center with exotic trees and shrubs, some over 100 years old. Joseph will discuss identification, including how to identify trees out of leaf. Tree resources for birds will also be covered. With the large variety of tree species and the creek and its neighboring open space, many species of birds flock to the center. We hope to see Western Bluebird, Downy Woodpecker, and raptors to name a few.

Field Trip Leaders: Joseph O'Neil and Hilary Locke and Liam Huber

Llano Seco Viewing Platform -- Dabbling, Diving & Soaring - Sold Out!

$22 Adult ; $10 Youth
8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
Walking, could involve distance but largely flat Wheelchair accessible

The Llano Seco Unit of the Sacramento River NWR offers sensational views from an elevated viewing platform. This is an ideal spot for viewing a large number of geese and ducks in one location! Other often-seen species include Sandhill Cranes, raptors, herons, and egrets. This is definitely a birding hot spot and a good trip for the beginning birder. This trip is also offered on Sunday.

Field Trip Leader: Shelly Kirn

Sutter Buttes Hike -- Dean Ranch - Sold Out!

$45 Adult ; $30 Youth
8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Meet at Gridley McDonalds
More vigorous hiking, some elevation gain/loss

A three-mile gentle hillside walk will take us around the 100-year-old Dean Place Cattle Ranch. Along the way the Buttes’ volcanic origins and some Native American artifacts will be revealed. Hopefully, we will see such gems as the Mountain Bluebird, Varied Thrush, Golden Eagle, and Ferruginous Hawk, along with the usual winter sparrows, and with luck, geese and swans flying high over the Buttes. Be sure to bring binoculars, lunch, water, and sturdy boots/shoes and hiking sticks, if you have them. No early departures on this trip. Be aware that you will be driving another 12-15 miles to the hike's starting point from the meeting place at the McDonald's in Gridley.

Field Trip Leader: Laura Lush

Vina Plains to Pine Creek & the River - Sold Out!

$22 Adult ; $10 Youth
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
More vigorous hiking, some elevation gain/loss

Visit The Nature Conservancy's Vina Plains Preserve and observe winter plants and animals of unique vernal pool ecosystems. Learn why vernal pool landscapes are so important to migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. Next, travel to the Pine Creek Unit of Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge to see a riparian habitat restoration project and learn why it is critical for the survival of Chinook Salmon, migratory songbirds, and endangered species.

Field Trip Leaders: Joe Silveira and Ryan Luster and Jackson Shedd

Birding & Brunch in Paradise! - Sold Out!

$35 Adult ; $15 Youth
8:30 am - 2:00 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
Walking, could involve distance but largely flat

Yes, here is an opportunity to see the birds of Paradise and enjoy a sumptuous brunch all in one trip. Follow Amy & Everett as you leisurely walk along the Historic Miocene Flume. The flume trail is gravel and there are no catwalks over the flume. Here we should see towhees, woodpeckers, finches, sparrows, titmice, and raptors flying above, while getting a close view of the effects of the drought on Lake Oroville. Then we will travel up the ridge to enjoy our brunch at the Wulbern's beautiful home where we can overlook the valley and watch the activity at their bird feeders. We will end the day at Kunkle Reservoir. Here we can expect to see ducks and Canada Geese on the water, and on an additional walk, we may have sightings of Western Bluebirds, Red-breasted Sapsuckers, resident hawks, and an assortment of other birds and wildlife. A similar trip is also offered on Sunday with different leaders.

Field Trip Leader: Amy Darwin & Everett Ayers

Bidwell Park - Bird & Ecological Diversity - Sold Out!

$22 Adult ; $10 Youth
9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
More vigorous hiking, some elevation gain/loss

Join Dan Efseaff, Park and Natural Resource Manager for the City of Chico, as we explore the diverse habitats of Bidwell Park. We will learn about the factors that influence the vegetation of Blue Oak, grassland, and riparian areas, and create a list of birds from each area and discuss the reasons for the diversity. We will also get a first-hand view of some of the restoration and management efforts in the Park. Participants should plan for wet weather, and hiking uneven terrain. Plan for a great morning out in the park, rain or shine!

Field Trip Leader: Dan Efseaff

Olive City Agriculture and Nature Center (includes lunch) - Sold Out!

$35 Adult ; $15 Youth
9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
More vigorous hiking, some elevation gain/loss

Are you looking for an agricultural and birding experience? This 354-acre site near Corning strives to illustrate the combined values of both agriculture and the natural environment. See orchard blocks that include varieties grown commercially in Tehama County, past and present. Explore the 275-acre nature preserve where over 100 bird species take advantage of restored wetlands, vernal pools, and uplands, and Burrowing Owls winter in artificial burrows. Relax afterward with a delicious BBQ lunch prepared by Scotty Weston, Operations Manager, who will also be sharing information throughout the day. Wear hiking boots.

Field Trip Leaders: Scotty Weston and Victor Paz and Ruth Paz

Feather River Region & Nature Trail - Sold Out!

$22 Adult ; $10 Youth
9:15 am - 12:45 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
Walking, could involve distance but largely flat

This trip begins with a car caravan to the Old Bath House Nature Center near the Table Mountain Bridge. Here we will begin with a nice leisurely hike along the banks of the Feather River. We will keep a keen eye out for some of the area’s abundant wildlife, which includes mergansers, goldeneyes, Bufflehead, Osprey, eagles, River Otter and even lingering salmon.

Field Trip Leader: Rex Burress

Family Hike at Verbena Fields - Still Open

$12 Adult ; $5 Youth
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
Walking, could involve distance but largely flat

In the heart of Chico, a wildflower meadow overlooks a creek meandering past willows and cottonwoods, while overhead a Red-shouldered Hawk surveys the ground for its next meal. If you are thinking Bidwell Park, think again. Lesser-known Verbena Fields is a 21-acre open space that is an active restoration site along Lindo Channel where native plants and animals are making a comeback. Join the Kids and Creeks staff for a lighthearted, activity-filled exploration of this urban gem.

Field Trip Leader: Kurt Geiger

Wings & Wine Tasting in Vina - Sold Out!

$27 Adult
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
Walking, could involve distance but largely flat

Join Mauricio as he takes you to where history, a monastery, wine, and birds will create a unique and memorable trip. The history, monastery, and wine portion of your visit will be to The Abby at New Clairvaux, in Vina, a community of "Trappist" monks that was founded in 1955. In 2000, they took the first steps toward creating wine, selecting and planting their vineyards. Now their winery has a beautiful tasting room in a historic brick building that once was the wine cellars of Leland Stanford. You’ll also bird surrounding areas looking for resident and wintering birds such as woodpeckers, raptors, thrushes, sparrows, bluebirds, plus much more. Bring a lunch, water, and binoculars.

Field Trip Leader: Mauricio Schrader

Raptor Run - Sold Out!

$25 Adult ; $10 Youth
12:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
Walking, could involve distance but largely flat

The Northern Sacramento River Valley hosts a large assortment of raptors that during our relatively mild, wet winters is augmented by an almost equally large contingent of wintering species, some of which exploit our fantastic cohort of wintering waterfowl and others the vast expanses of grasslands and fallow ag lands. January is one of the best months for raptor viewing in Butte County; accordingly, we will caravan southward along Hwy 99 to the environs south of Chico to seek as many of these birds of prey as we can. Target species include Bald and Golden Eagles, Ferruginous Hawk, Burrowing Owl, Merlin, and Prairie Falcon. Dress for potentially cold, wet weather; bring a scope if you have one; and binoculars are a MUST! Carpooling is mandatory to keep the number of vehicles to a minimum.

Field Trip Leaders: Ken Sobon and Gary Nielsen

Butte College Wildlife Refuge & Natural Area - Sold Out!

$22 Adult ; $10 Youth
12:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
Walking, could involve distance but largely flat

Here is your chance to explore the Butte College Wildlife Refuge. This hidden gem on campus encompasses a stream-side forest, wetlands, oak woodlands, and grasslands that offer a chance to observe Belted Kingfisher, woodpeckers, kinglets, towhees, nuthatches, and many other bird species. If time permits we will bird into the canyons of upper campus in blue oak woodlands adjoining Tuscan Formation cliff faces.

Field Trip Leader: Mike Williams