Discover birding at its best in the Monterey Bay region. Learn about local ecology and habitats from experts while seeking waterfowl, waders, shorebirds, songbirds, seabirds and more.
Rating (4)
Program No. 11812RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,099
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 1BR 4 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Carmel Valley, CA
D
Faculty Lodge

Activity note: Check-in 2:00-5:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. When you arrive at Hidden Valley’s campus, come over to the main office next to the parking lot to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. At 5:00 p.m., we’ll meet our fellow participants for a wine and cheese reception in the Fireside Room. We’ll enjoy some California wines and/or juices and savor cheese and crackers before dinner.

Dinner: In the Dining Room, like all meals at Hidden Valley, dinner will be a buffet. Dinners will feature local selections from the “salad bowl of the universe”, as well as tastefully prepared entrées. All baked goods are also prepared on campus. Beverage choices include juices, coffee, tea, water, and California wines.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Retreats program. Our programming at Retreat locations includes opportunities for interaction with members of the local community, locally sourced meals, and evening entertainment. Each day the program will begin with breakfast at 7:00 a.m. We will set out with our birding expert at 7:30 a.m. The best birding happens in the morning. While we will endeavor to look for all birds mentioned in the program description and more, factors such as seasonality, weather, and birding behavior mean finding specific birds is not guaranteed. All meals will be dining room buffets. Dinners will feature local selections from the "salad bowl of the universe" and tastefully prepared entrées. All baked goods are prepared on campus. Beverage choices include juices, coffee, tea, water, and California wines. Breakfast includes warm baked goods, oatmeal, eggs, grits, fruit, etc. with coffee, tea, juice and water. Lunch will include soups and sandwich makings, all prepared fresh and served by the staff that’s been with us for over 20 years. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Public bus service will be available across from the campus driveway. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Point Lobos Birding, Natural History of Monterey
Carmel Valley, CA
B,L,D
Faculty Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a van or bus. Walking up to 2 miles with stops. Optional walk with elevation gain of 216 feet to the top of Whalers Knoll. Dress in layers for the weather.

Breakfast: In the Dining Room, the breakfast buffet is prepared fresh each day in the campus kitchen and includes baked goods warm from the oven as well as offerings such as oatmeal, eggs, grits, fruit, and toast with coffee, tea, juice, water.

Morning: A walk through the Reserve at various times of the year might yield Pygmy Nuthatches, Band-tailed Pigeons and Pine Siskins, Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Brown Creepers checking for insects at mid-level, and California Quail and sparrows working the forest floor. A check of the coastal scrub could offer a chance to see its resident denizens Anna's Hummingbird, Wrentit or White-crowned Sparrow. Along the shoreline, a glance at the rocks or just offshore may offer an opportunity to observe the resident Pelagic Cormorants, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Black Oystercatcher, and — during spring and summer migration — perhaps seabird species of alcids and shearwaters.

Lunch: In the Dining Room, we’ll have soups and sandwich makings from the buffet, all prepared in our kitchen, with beverage choices of coffee, tea (hot/iced), water.

Afternoon: A coastal biologist will join us in our Theatre to introduce and explain some of the fascinating natural history of this extraordinary area. His presentation will be accompanied by a wealth of gorgeous slides.

Dinner: Dining Room buffet.

Evening: A talented pianist, teaching from the keyboard, will perform music of Scott Joplin and others. You may recognize some of the hit tunes from the turn into the 20th century that are still ingrained in the music world.

DAY
3
Full-Day Birding Adventure on Monterey Bay
Carmel Valley, CA
B,L,D
Faculty Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a van or bus. Walking up to 2 miles with stops. Dress in layers for the weather.

Breakfast: Dining Room buffet.

Morning: We’ll begin our full-day field trip with a ride up Carmel Valley seeking resident species such as the Yellow-billed Magpie and California Thrasher, along with seasonal breeding neo-tropical migrants, perhaps Orioles, Flycatchers, Buntings, or Lazuli Buntings. Mid-morning will find us at the mouth of the Carmel River on the Pacific Ocean; the 17 mile drive in Pebble Beach; and North America’s hometown, Pacific Grove, looking for rocky shorebirds and near shore seabird species. Sighting possibilities may include sandpipers, Sanderlings, Willets, Black-Bellied Plovers, Sooty Shearwaters, Western Grebes, Pacific Loons, Brandts and Pelagic Cormorants, Western Gulls, Common Murres, Surf and White-Winged Scoters and Marbled Murrelets.

Lunch: In the field, we’ll have sack lunches prepared by Hidden Valley’s kitchen with fresh greens, a protein, fruit, and water.

Afternoon: Our full-day birding field trip will continue.

Dinner: Dining Room buffet.

Evening: A local winemaker or vineyardist will join us in the Dining Room for an introductory class to learn about new wines, the process that goes into producing them, and ultimately experience them through a tasting. Carmel Valley is perhaps the most distinct of the seven appellations comprising Monterey County’s diverse wineries; of these, Carmel Valley is perhaps the most distinct. Nestled in the Santa Lucia foothills, our summers yield exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other red varietals.

DAY
4
Endemic Birding at Garland Park, Free Time
Carmel Valley, CA
B,L,D
Faculty Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a van or bus. Walking up to 3 miles with stops. Dress in layers for the weather.

Breakfast: Dining Room buffet.

Morning: We will ride to Carmel Valley’s Garland Ranch Regional Park where birding will continue with our expert. The park is home to a variety of California landscapes, from the willow-covered banks of the Carmel River through the cottonwood-sycamore stand of the old flood plain, dense oak woodlands, and chaparral, where we will look for endemic species. Throughout the park, there are reminders of Carmel Valley’s past with Native American habitation sites and homestead remains. Birding here reveals a wide diversity of in-land California endemic and native bird species. Sighting possibilities may include White-tailed Kite, Oak Titmouse, Bushtit, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Say’s Phoebe, Golden-crowned Sparrow, and Nuttall’s and Acorn Woodpeckers —to name just a few.. Depending on seasonality, bird behavior, and interest of the group, we may visit alternative field trips sites around the Monterey Peninsula in search of these and additional bird species.

Lunch: We’ll pick up sack lunches, prepared fresh in Hidden Valley’s kitchen, with local greens, a protein, fruit, and water. You are welcome to eat on campus or take your lunch with you if you go out.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to your booklet or the office for Free Time opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Public bus service is available across from the campus driveway.

Dinner: Dining Room buffet.

Evening: At Hidden Valley, we’ll enjoy a performance by one of our talented instructors. It may be anything from a musical performance or a show by a local magician. Monterey is full of magical surprises.

DAY
5
Elkhorn Slough Birding, Safari Boat Trip
Carmel Valley, CA
B,L,D
Faculty Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a van or bus. Getting on/off a pontoon boat; cruising for 2 hours. Walking up to 1.5 miles with stops. Dress in layers for weather.

Breakfast: Dining Room buffet.

Morning: We will ride to Elkhorn Slough for a nature safari by boat (weather permitting). Playful Sea otters, Harbor seals, Sea lions, and hundreds of bird species abound as we explore one of California’s most spectacular wetlands aboard a 27-foot pontoon boat. The Elkhorn Slough is one of the premier bird watching sites in the western United States. More than 340 species visit or find permanent refuge here, including several rare and endangered species such as the Brown Pelican, Snowy Plover, and Peregrine Falcon. We will learn about this diverse ecosystem and birds with commentary by both the boat captain and our expert.

Lunch: In the field, we’ll have Hidden Valley sack lunches.

Afternoon: During the second half of the day, we will be birding other microhabitats around the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (depending on availability). One of the premier vagrant traps in Monterey County is the privately owned Moon Glow Dairy. We will visit a variety of habitats including oak-eucalyptus groves, Great Egret-Great Blue Heron-and-Double-crested Cormorant rookeries, mud flats, salt marshes, and freshwater ponds for ducks and shorebirds. A number of raptors frequent the Slough, including the White-tailed Kite, Red-shouldered Hawk, Merlin, Golden Eagle, Elegant Tern and a target bird for many, Tricolored Blackbird — to name a few.

Dinner: Dining Room buffet.

Evening: We will show a film about Monterey. You may also enjoy the company of new Road Scholar friends with informal activities such as board games, cards, puzzles, or sharing your favorite experiences of the day over coffee or tea in the Fireside Room. Prepare for check-out and departure after brunch in the morning.

DAY
6
Campus Birding, Wrap-up Session, Program Concludes
Carmel Valley, CA
B,BR

Activity note: Check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: In the Dining Room, we’ll have offerings of baked goods, toast, cereal, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: For our final birding field trip on the Hidden Valley campus, we’ll be on the lookout for local residents or perhaps species not seen previously. We will then have a wrap-up session with our expert as we re-cap the birds we saw, skills we learned, and answer questions.

Brunch: In the Dining Room, we’ll enjoy a farewell brunch buffet to commemorate the great program we have had with new Road Scholar friends. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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