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Field Trips for Sunday, January 26, 2014

Valley Wetlands & Wintering Waterbirds - For the Serious Birder

$25 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 Viewing Platform, Sacramento River NWR, and the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. 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 to advanced birders. Bring lunch, water, binoculars, and a field guide.

Field Trip Leader: Jay Bogiatto

Refuge to Refuge -- Snow Geese Galore!

$25 Adult ; $8 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

Birding in Red Bluff

$25 Adult ; $8 Youth
7:00 am - 3:00 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center at 7:00 am
Meet at Sacramento River Discovery Center at 8:00 am
More vigorous hiking, some elevation gain/loss

The Sacramento River Discovery Center and the surrounding areas will be visited for this exciting birding adventure. Target birds for this trip are the Lewis’s Woodpecker and Golden Eagle.

Field Trip Leader: David Dahnke

Tundra Swan Viewing -- District 10 (includes lunch) - SOLD OUT!

$25 Adult ; $8 Youth
8:00 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: Dale Whitmore and Charlie Mathews

Bidwell Park Bird Walk - SOLD OUT!

$12 Adult ; $5 Youth
8:00 am - 10:00 am
Meet at Chico Creek Nature Center
Walking, could involve distance but largely flat

Enjoy a bird walk through Bidwell Park with ornithologist and author of Birds of Bidwell Park, Roger Lederer, and his wife, Carol. Learn amazing facts about the birds of the park and how to identify them. Bidwell Park is a wonderful place to see birds because it is both semi-wild and very accessible. It is excellent birding for both the beginner and expert. This trip is also offered on Friday.

Field Trip Leaders: Roger Lederer and Carol Burr

Llano Seco Viewing Platform -- Dabbling, Diving & Soaring

$20 Adult ; $8 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 (last year several Bald Eagles were seen), 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

Lassen Volcanic National Park Snowshoe Hike - SOLD OUT!

$25 Adult ; $8 Youth
8:00 am - 3:00 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
A true adventure trip, lots of driving and hiking

Here is an opportunity to learn about the wildlife and birds at Lassen Volcanic National Park in winter! We will casually explore the park’s beautiful Red Fir forest on snowshoes. Participants must be 8 years or older and able to withstand moderate physical exertion at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Snowshoes will be provided. No experience necessary! Dress warmly, wear boots, and bring lunch and water.

Field Trip Leader: Steve Zachery

Sutter Buttes Hike -- Dean Ranch

$45 Adult ; $30 Youth
8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Meet at Waffle Shop Live Oak
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 Waffle Shop in Live Oak.

Field Trip Leader: Laura Lush

Sutter Buttes Hike - State Park's Peace Valley

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

Explore California State Park's Peace Valley in the Sutter Buttes. It will be like stepping back in time as you learn about Peace Valley's natural and cultural history. We will visit a Native American site used for grinding acorns. As we traverse this incredible valley, we will learn the interesting geological processes that formed it. This is an undeveloped area, so wear comfortable walking shoes or boots. Bring a sack lunch and beverage. No early departures on this trip. This trip is also offered on Friday.

Field Trip Leaders: Ranger Zack Chambers and Tim Davis

Feather River Region & Nature Trail

$20 Adult ; $8 Youth
8:30 am - 12:00 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

Bidwell Park - Bird & Ecological Diversity

$20 Adult ; $8 Youth
8:30 am - 12:00 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

Vina Plains to Pine Creek & the River

$20 Adult ; $8 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

Birds & Trees of Butte Creek Ecological Preserve - SOLD OUT!

$20 Adult ; $8 Youth
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
More vigorous hiking, some elevation gain/loss

We will take a 3-4 mile hike along Butte Creek, exploring the native plants, trees, and birds on this 93-acre preserve. Joseph, a certified arborist and birder, will help with tree identification, sharing what bugs, fruits, and flowers are found on certain species and what birds are attracted to each. Sightings of Western Bluebird, Oak Titmouse, Rudy-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Bushtit, White-breasted Nuthatch, Nuttall’s and Acorn Woodpeckers, and Red-tailed Hawk are common. Wear comfortable hiking shoes or boots, and bring water.

Field Trip Leader: Joseph O'Neil

Birding & Brunch in Paradise! - SOLD OUT

$30 Adult ; $10 Youth
9:00 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 Gaylord 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. 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. This trip is also offered on Sunday.

Field Trip Leaders: Gaylord Grams and Rick Wulbern

Wings & Wine Tasting in Vina - SOLD OUT!

$25 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

Family Hike at Verbena Fields

$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 light-hearted, activity-filled exploration of this urban gem.

Field Trip Leader: Kurt Geiger

Raptor Run - SOLD OUT!

$20 Adult ; $8 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 of 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!

Field Trip Leader: Ken Sobon

Birds & Native Plants in Upper Bidwell Park

$20 Adult ; $8 Youth
12:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
More vigorous hiking, some elevation gain/loss

Bidwell Park is one of the largest city owned parks in the Unites States. We are going to search for wintering birds as well as learn about the native plants found in Upper Bidwell Park. After a short carpool to Horseshoe Lake, we will hike about a mile up the Yahi Trail along Big Chico Creek. This area has some of the best winter bird watching in Bidwell Park. The plant life is abundant in the park year round as well. Don't forget those binoculars!

Field Trip Leaders: Marjorie McNairn and Steve King and Raina King

Butte College Wildlife Refuge & Natural Area - SOLD OUT!

$20 Adult ; $8 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 streamside 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

Thermalito Afterbay & Surrounding Grasslands

$25 Adult ; $8 Youth
1:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
More vigorous hiking, some elevation gain/loss

This hike along the north side of the Afterbay reservoir offers a great mix of habitat including open water, rice fields, short grass plains, back-bays, and marsh. We hope to see waterfowl including Canvasback, goldeneyes, and grebes; raptors such as Prairie Falcon, Ferruginous Hawk, and Bald Eagle; and Burrowing and Short-eared Owls. Lots of open sky views. Bring food, good hiking gear, and all-weather clothing.

Field Trip Leader: Phil Johnson

Lundberg Family Farms - SOLD OUT!

$20 Adult ; $8 Youth
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Meet at Chico Masonic Family Center
Mostly birding by car and/or easy walking

Tour the farm famous for its specialty rice products and for attracting wildlife to its organic fields. Witness first-hand how valley farm practices, and ecological farming in particular, can benefit migratory and non-migratory bird populations of the Pacific Flyway. Then we’ll visit the new, recently opened Headquarters and Visitors Center, where a store is stocked full of Lundberg goodies! This trip is also offered on Sunday.

Field Trip Leader: Lundberg Family Farms Staff