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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 (5)
Program No. 11812RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,149
California

Birding At Monterey Bay

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.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,149
Program No. 11812 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.

DATES & PRICES

On Campus Private Bath On Campus Upgraded
Accommodation Details

Clean, comfortable, dormitory lodgings with access to a private bathroom.

Accommodation Details

Upgraded on-campus faculty housing. Accommodations are newly constructed and feature a large room, queen beds and a private bath.

Nov 14 - Nov 19, 2021
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,149
On Campus Upgraded 1,499
Nov 28 - Dec 3, 2021
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,149
On Campus Upgraded 1,499
Feb 13 - Feb 18, 2022
On Campus Private Bath 1,199
On Campus Upgraded 1,559
Mar 21 - Mar 26, 2022
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,199
On Campus Upgraded 1,559
Itinerary Note

This departure starts on a Monday.

Apr 10 - Apr 15, 2022
On Campus Private Bath 1,199
On Campus Upgraded 1,559
May 8 - May 13, 2022
On Campus Private Bath 1,199
On Campus Upgraded 1,559
Aug 21 - Aug 26, 2022
On Campus Private Bath 1,199
On Campus Upgraded 1,559
Sep 11 - Sep 16, 2022
On Campus Private Bath 1,199
On Campus Upgraded 1,559
Nov 13 - Nov 18, 2022
On Campus Private Bath 1,199
On Campus Upgraded 1,559

DATES & PRICES

On Campus Private Bath On Campus Upgraded
Accommodation Details

Clean, comfortable, dormitory lodgings with access to a private bathroom.

Accommodation Details

Upgraded on-campus faculty housing. Accommodations are newly constructed and feature a large room, queen beds and a private bath.

Nov 14 - Nov 19, 2021
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,449
 
Nov 28 - Dec 3, 2021
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,449
On Campus Upgraded 1,799
Feb 13 - Feb 18, 2022
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,499
On Campus Upgraded 1,859
Mar 21 - Mar 26, 2022
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,499
On Campus Upgraded 1,859
Itinerary Note

This departure starts on a Monday.

Apr 10 - Apr 15, 2022
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,499
On Campus Upgraded 1,859
May 8 - May 13, 2022
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,499
On Campus Upgraded 1,859
Aug 21 - Aug 26, 2022
On Campus Private Bath 1,499
On Campus Upgraded 1,859
Sep 11 - Sep 16, 2022
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,499
On Campus Upgraded 1,859
Nov 13 - Nov 18, 2022
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,499
On Campus Upgraded 1,859

At a Glance

Spend your days birding the famous Monterey Bay, one of the world’s top birding spots, and your evenings with special guests from Hidden Valley's talented faculty. This field-based program is designed for seasoned and beginning birders alike, targeting overall avian diversity and abundance throughout this world class birding destination. See local habitats and endemic species, add to or begin your “life list,” learn to recognize birds by their calls and songs and gain valuable skills for an enjoyable lifetime activity. Regional specialties may include the Yellow-billed Magpie, California Thrasher, White-tailed Kite, California Quail, Wrentit, Gold-crowned Sparrow, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Hummingbirds, Pacific Wren, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Hutton’s Vireo, Cormorants, Black Oystercatcher and Tricolored Blackbird.
Activity Level
Outdoor: No Sweat
Walking up to 2 miles with stops and at Garland Park up to 3 miles with stops. Participants should be able to embark on a boat for a 2 hour cruise.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Embark on a boat excursion along the Elkhorn Slough Estuary, a protected habitat home to over 340 species of birds.
  • Spot egrets, rocky shorebirds, cormorants, passerine and seabirds at Point Lobos Nature Reserve.
  • Enjoy time at Garland Park looking for White-tailed Kites and a variety of oak woodland species.

General Notes

All Road Scholar birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1 in the field. We adhere to the American Birding Association’s Code of Ethics. Learn more at http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html. Please note, while we will endeavor to look for all birds described in the program and more, seasonality, weather and birding behavior makes finding birds not guaranteed. The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Rick Fournier
Rick Fournier is an avid birder who has lived in Monterey for the past 40 years. He has been operating a birding-adventure company in central California for 24 years, leads groups for regional Audubon Societies, at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and conducts avian wetland monitoring for the Moss Landing Marine Labs. He spent 4½ years in the Big Sur Ornithology Lab’s mist net program.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Taelen Thomas
Taelen Thomas View biography
Taelen Thomas, local Carmel Bay bard and master of the oral tradition, is known for his golden, resonant voice and powerful stage presence. He creates and performs biological dramas in which he "brings to life" literary personalities, including Dylan Thomas, Robert Burns, John Steinbeck, Jack London, and Mark Twain, often performing with musicians. The most recent edition of Taelen's poetry is entitled "Inside of a Galloping Buffalo." He has recorded a powerful CD of the poetry of Robinson Jeffers, commissioned by the Tor House Foundation.
Profile Image of Rick Yramategui
Rick Yramategui View biography
Rick Yramategui first performed a Joplin rag at Shakey's Pizza Parlor in Los Alamitos, California while in high school in the 70s. He received a bachelor’s degree in music education from Whitworth College. He serves as pastor of Carmel Valley Community Chapel, performs with the Carmel Piano Trio, and was the pianist for a revival of George Gershwin's musical, “Oh, Kay!” He is passionate about the connection between music and spirituality.
Profile Image of Rick Fournier
Rick Fournier View biography
Rick Fournier is an avid birder who has lived in Monterey for the past 40 years. He has been operating a birding-adventure company in central California for 24 years, leads groups for regional Audubon Societies, at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, and conducts avian wetland monitoring for the Moss Landing Marine Labs. He spent 4½ years in the Big Sur Ornithology Lab’s mist net program.
Profile Image of Matthew Shea
Matthew Shea View biography
Matthew Shea’s roots in the Carmel Valley go back two generations. The son of a master gardener, Matthew grew up with an inherent understanding of the valley, its horticulture, and ecology. After graduating from Oregon State University and successfully managing 1000’s of acres of vineyards in Oregon, he returned to focus on the Estate Vineyards of Bernardus Winery in Carmel Valley. Using his background in organic, sustainable agriculture, Matt has brought a balance to the vineyard through increasing diversity, composting, and water and soil management.
Profile Image of Jim Covel
Jim Covel recently retired as Director of Training & Interpretation for the Monterey Bay Aquarium where he trained and managed hundreds of volunteers. He has worked as a park ranger and interpreter, leading environmental education programs for the Southgate Recreation and Park District in Sacramento and the East Bay Regional Park District in the SF Bay Area. Jim has also served as a visiting lecturer at UC Davis, CSU Sacramento and CSU Monterey Bay, teaching courses from resource management to outdoor recreation and ecotourism.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
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Monterey Birds
by Don Roberson
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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
Lubow Lodge

Activity note: Campus check-in 2:00-5:00 p.m. Remember to bring your nametag (sent previously).

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, get any up-updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived. 5:00 p.m. Reception. 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.

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. The best birding happens in the morning, so we will set out with our birding expert at 7:30 a.m. While we will endeavor to look for all birds mentioned in the program description and more, our instructor will make field trip decisions depending on seasonality, bird behavior, group interest, and weather, so we may visit field trips sites other than those named. We will return to campus after our field trips end for the day. Food selections will be healthily prepared with local ingredients. 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
Lubow Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 28 miles round-trip, approximately 1 hour total riding time. Walking up to 2 miles with stops; well-maintained trails with a few rocks. Elective walk with elevation gain of 216 feet to top of Whalers Knoll. Dress in layers for the weather.

Breakfast: In the Dining Room.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach and ride to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve where the birding expert will lead our field trip. 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.

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

Dinner: In the Dining Room.

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 Monterey Bay Birding Field Trip
Carmel Valley, CA
B,L,D
Lubow Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 55 miles round-trip, approximately 1.5 hours total riding time. Walking up to 2 miles with stops; mostly flat terrain, some beach walking. Dress in layers for the weather.

Breakfast: In the Dining Room.

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.

Afternoon: Our full-day birding field trip will continue. We’ll then return to campus with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: In the Dining Room.

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 Regional Parks, Free Time
Carmel Valley, CA
B,L,D
Lubow Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motor coach; driving about 20 miles round-trip, approximately 1/2 hour total riding time. Walking up to 3 miles with stops; mostly flat, well-maintained, trails, some minor elevation. Dress in layers for the weather.

Breakfast: In the Dining Room.

Morning: We will ride to a prime Carmel Valley birding site, such as Garland Ranch Regional Park or Palo Corona Regional Park, where birding will continue with our expert. These parks are 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. 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 in search of these and other bird species.

Lunch: In the Dining Room, we’ll have sack lunches you are welcome to eat on campus or take 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: In the Dining Room.

Evening: At leisure. Spend more time in the company of new Road Scholar friends with informal activities such as board games, cards, or puzzles over coffee or tea in the Fireside Room.

DAY
5
Elkhorn Slough Birding, Safari by Boat
Carmel Valley, CA
B,L,D
Lubow Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 75 miles round-trip, approximately 1.5 hours total riding time. Getting on/off a pontoon boat; cruising for 2 hours. Walking up to 1.5 miles with stops; mostly flat terrain. Dress in layers for weather.

Breakfast: In the Dining Room.

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 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: In the Dining Room.

Evening: We'll see a small musical performance by a local wife-and-husband folk pop duo. Afterward, we will see a film adaption of one of John Steinbeck's novels. 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, a light snack will be available. We will have brunch after our final field trip.

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. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell meal. 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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