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February 13, 2018 > Park It

Park It

By Ned MacKay

Bird Count 2018
Starting in 1998, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society have staged an annual Great Backyard Bird Count, an online citizen-science project in which people worldwide can gather information to help determine the numbers and health of our feathered friends.

The idea is to count the birds in your own backyard, for as little as 15 minutes or as long as you wish, anytime during the four-day study period, February 16 through 19. To obtain more information, register for the project and turn in results, go to

Or you can participate by joining naturalists at two East Bay Regional Parks.

At Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley, naturalist Cat Taylor will host a program from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 17. All levels of birding expertise are welcome. Bring binoculars or a spotting scope, or borrow one from the park.

Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley?s Main Street. For information, call (888) 327-2757, ext. 3050.

And at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area in Pleasanton, naturalist Ashley Adams plans a backyard bird count program from 9 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, February 18.

Shadow Cliffs is on Stanley Boulevard east of downtown. Call (510) 544-3249 for information.

Apart from the backyard count, Mike Moran, the supervising naturalist at Big Break, has been compiling baseline information on the raptor population of East Contra Costa for many years, with the assistance of people who attend his bird walks.

One of Mike?s walks is from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 22 at Morgan Territory Regional Preserve east of Mt. Diablo. No experience is necessary; Mike will show participants how to identify the hawks, falcons and eagles.

Registration is required. Call (888) 327-2757, select option 2, and refer to program number 19668.

Naturalists conduct regular bird-watching walks and other activities at regional parks throughout the district. You can check the schedule at the district website,


From the air to the water: creek- and pond-dwelling bugs are the focus of a program from 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 18 at Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley, led by naturalist Trent Pearce.

If you join Trent, wear shoes that can get wet and muddy. The program will proceed, rain or shine.

Meet Trent at Tilden?s Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Central Park Drive. Call (510) 544-2233 for information.


A walk through the redwood forest is on the agenda for 12:30 to 2 p.m. Saturday, February 17, guided by naturalist Susan Ramos. The group will look for fairy rings, slippery creatures, and of course the towering trees.

Meet Susan at the Canyon Meadow trailhead. It?s at the end of the road that leads into Redwood Regional Park from Redwood Road in Oakland. Call (510) 544-3187 for information.


Bird Bingo is the theme of Family Nature Fun hour from 2 to 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, February 17 and 18, at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. The naturalists will lead guided walks to check out the birds that overwinter at Crab Cove.

The visitor center is at the end of McKay Avenue off Alameda?s Central Avenue. Call (510) 544-3187.


At Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, naturalist Francis Mendoza plans a program from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 18 highlighting the culture of the Ohlone people, whose ancestors inhabited what is now the park for thousands of years. Ohlone values have included intimate relationships with nature, family and ancestors. Francis?s program is for ages eight and older. Meet him at the visitor center.

Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. Call (510) 544-3220.


The 2018 Trails Challenge program is under way, and it?s a great motivator to visit new regional parks. All the 20 featured trails are now available on the AllTrails app, which shows you exactly where you are on the trail. You can also record your hikes and share your photos and comments with others. Visit, and look for the ?NEW? entry, right above the image of the 2018 Trails Challenge logo with the newts.

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