Alice from Palo Alto, CA
Number of programs attended: 16
Date attended: 11/06/13 - 11/09/13
Learn water politics in California by experiencing the source of much of our California water first hand on a superb delta birding and educational trip on a boat and of course see the Sandhill Cranesand thoughsands of other birds coming and going over the delta.
Aaron from Sacramento, CA
Number of programs attended: 10
Date attended: 02/05/12 - 02/08/12
Unfortunately, the boat was too small to accommodate a view for all those aboard. While the leaders were expert at sighting birds, passengers were not able to catch a glimpse as not everyone was in the sight line. There was no prior introduction to local birds via slides, videos, pictures, listings....so that those who were not expert birders were completely befuddled and lost.
The story of the delta was not elucidated, problems re flooding were cited but the history was not detailed. Frequently the amplifiers did not work so not everyone could hear the sketchy narration.
Lodgings were uncomfortable in a dimly lit hotel with few if any amenities. The social room with one TV could not seat all the participants, and the dining hall was so ill lighted that reading was almost impossible. Rooms were barely furnished with no place for belongings that one lived out of suitcases on the floor. We had to request chairs and extra lamps to enable reading or talking within the room.
While the staff was pleasant, and the food was good, this did not recompense for the discomfort of the lodgings. On the one rainy day, a bus was chartered for a half-day visit to a nature preserve...this latter event could have been done on our own, since there was no educational advantage to this excursion from the guides.
It was altogether a disappointing and wasteful trip.
George from San Rafael, CA
Number of programs attended: 7
Date attended: 11/09/11 - 11/12/11
A very rewarding three days. We stayed at a 1930s, art deco, funky but comfortable hotel. The food was very good, both at the hotel and the various lunch stops. Each day was a boat ride on the Delphinius to a different part of the delta. The boat was high enough to see over the levees for a great view of the Sandhill Cranes that winter in this area. The staff were knowledgable and very helpful. Four stars.
When the instructions say wear warm, layered clothing, believe it! It may be California, but the mornings can be cold, especially on the deck of a moving boat. And naturally, weather and bird sightings are matters of chance, but we were fortunate on both counts.