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California

Birding At Monterey Bay

Program No. 11812RJ
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
Rating (4.64)
Activity Level
Starts at
1,649

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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.

Feb 12 - Feb 17, 2023
On Campus Private Bath 1,649
On Campus Upgraded 1,949
Mar 19 - Mar 24, 2023
On Campus Private Bath 1,649
On Campus Upgraded 1,949
Apr 16 - Apr 21, 2023
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,649
On Campus Upgraded 1,949
May 7 - May 12, 2023
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,649
On Campus Upgraded 1,949
Sep 10 - Sep 15, 2023
On Campus Private Bath 1,649
On Campus Upgraded 1,949
Oct 1 - Oct 6, 2023
On Campus Private Bath 1,649
On Campus Upgraded 1,949
Itinerary Note

Meals: 14 total (5B, 1BR, 4L, 4D) This program date takes places at the same time as the Big Band Workshop on Hidden Valley's campus. This features a Big Band Concert and Dance at the end of the week.

Nov 26 - Dec 1, 2023
On Campus Private Bath 1,649
On Campus Upgraded 1,949
Feb 11 - Feb 16, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 1,699
On Campus Upgraded 1,999
Mar 17 - Mar 22, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 1,699
On Campus Upgraded 1,999
Apr 7 - Apr 12, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 1,699
On Campus Upgraded 1,999
Itinerary Note

Meals: 14 total (5B, 1BR, 4L, 4D)

Apr 21 - Apr 26, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 1,699
On Campus Upgraded 1,999
May 6 - May 11, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 1,699
On Campus Upgraded 1,999
Itinerary Note

This departure starts on a Monday.

Sep 8 - Sep 13, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 1,699
On Campus Upgraded 1,999
Oct 6 - Oct 11, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 1,699
On Campus Upgraded 1,999
Itinerary Note

Meals: 14 total (5B, 1BR, 4L, 4D) This program date takes places at the same time as the Big Band Workshop on Hidden Valley's campus. This features a Big Band Concert and Dance at the end of the week.

Nov 10 - Nov 15, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 1,699
On Campus Upgraded 1,999
Dec 1 - Dec 6, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 1,699
On Campus Upgraded 1,999

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.

Feb 12 - Feb 17, 2023
On Campus Private Bath 1,969
On Campus Upgraded 2,269
Mar 19 - Mar 24, 2023
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,969
On Campus Upgraded 2,269
Apr 16 - Apr 21, 2023
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,969
On Campus Upgraded 2,269
May 7 - May 12, 2023
SOLD OUT
On Campus Private Bath 1,969
On Campus Upgraded 2,269
Sep 10 - Sep 15, 2023
On Campus Private Bath 1,969
On Campus Upgraded 2,269
Oct 1 - Oct 6, 2023
On Campus Private Bath 1,969
On Campus Upgraded 2,269
Itinerary Note

Meals: 14 total (5B, 1BR, 4L, 4D) This program date takes places at the same time as the Big Band Workshop on Hidden Valley's campus. This features a Big Band Concert and Dance at the end of the week.

Nov 26 - Dec 1, 2023
On Campus Private Bath 1,969
On Campus Upgraded 2,269
Feb 11 - Feb 16, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 2,019
On Campus Upgraded 2,319
Mar 17 - Mar 22, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 2,019
On Campus Upgraded 2,319
Apr 7 - Apr 12, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 2,019
On Campus Upgraded 2,319
Itinerary Note

Meals: 14 total (5B, 1BR, 4L, 4D)

Apr 21 - Apr 26, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 2,019
On Campus Upgraded 2,319
May 6 - May 11, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 2,019
On Campus Upgraded 2,319
Itinerary Note

This departure starts on a Monday.

Sep 8 - Sep 13, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 2,019
On Campus Upgraded 2,319
Oct 6 - Oct 11, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 2,019
On Campus Upgraded 2,319
Itinerary Note

Meals: 14 total (5B, 1BR, 4L, 4D) This program date takes places at the same time as the Big Band Workshop on Hidden Valley's campus. This features a Big Band Concert and Dance at the end of the week.

Nov 10 - Nov 15, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 2,019
On Campus Upgraded 2,319
Dec 1 - Dec 6, 2024
On Campus Private Bath 2,019
On Campus Upgraded 2,319

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 3 miles with stops with some hills at Point Lobos and some uneven terrain like beach sand. 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 in Carmel Valley 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 (birding guide)
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 Rick Yramategui (Scott Joplin)
Rick Yramategui (Scott Joplin) 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 (birding guide)
Rick Fournier (birding guide) 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 (vineyardist, local wines)
Matthew Shea (vineyardist, local wines) 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 Peter Meckel
Peter Meckel View biography
Peter Meckel is the founder and General Director of Hidden Valley Music Seminars. Born and raised in the Midwest, he attended university at Rockford University in Illinois, and Occidental College in California. His leadership of Hidden Valley has resulted in one of the most respected opera training centers in America and a major contributor of arts education programs for vocalists, instrumentalists, and dancers. Students from throughout the world come to study with master teachers from many of America’s most prestigious orchestras and opera companies.
Profile Image of Jim Covel (natural history)
Jim Covel (natural history) View biography
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.
Profile Image of Rene Kimzey
Rene Kimzey View biography
Rene Kimzey is a Hoosier at heart, transplanted to California a decade ago. She and her rescue dog, Peg, reside in a historic home in lovely Old Town Monterey which they embrace for its beauty and cultural richness. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s of education from George Mason University. After a career in healthcare, she delved into special events work, volunteering her time at many local organizations. Rene enjoys being a Group Leader for Hidden Valley, sharing her passion for Monterey, and helping others.
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Monterey Birds
by Don Roberson
16 Reviews
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4.64 Average
(5) Review left 11/19/2022

This program exceeded my expectations for the total number of birds seen (116 for me) and the number of endemic species that I had not seen before. Our guide, Rick Fournier, was excellent.

(5) Review left 8/30/2022

A fabulous experience in bird watching and the biology of the area while having a lot of fun.

(5) Review left 5/23/2022

This is a great program accommodating both beginner and advanced birders. If there is a particular bird you want to see, I advise having Road Scholar put you in touch with the guide, Rick Fournier. He will be able to tell you which dates to choose in order to have a better chance of seeing your bird. The Road Scholar Office will not know. If you fly into or out Monterey, beware American Airlines. The day before I was scheduled to fly out, they changed my departure time from 10:45 a.m. to 6:05 a.m., causing me to miss all of the Friday morning program wrap up, and making me scramble to find a way to get to the airport.

(5) Review left 5/14/2022

Five stars! Wonderful! Snowy Plover a life list bird. Rick Fournier an expert patient leader on the trips explaining to beginners how to find the birds, what their outstanding characteristics are as well as info about binoculars and scopes. For more advanced birders he was a source of more details and so helpful about finding life list birds. Our van was luxurious and driver perfect for stop and go birding. Our accommodations and food were great. A beautiful peaceful setting . Also, getting to Hidden Valley besides the Yellow Taxi, Uber or Lyft are possibilities as well as bus #24 Monterey Transit.

(5) Review left 4/20/2022

I have done and really enjoyed previous Road Scholar birding programs to south Texas, Colorado and Florida. I would bird again with those trip leaders, any time, anywhere. But, Rick Fournier, trip leader for this program, is the cream of the crop. He knows birds, knows where birds are, knows how to find birds and is a great teacher. I only wish we could've birded more- for example, move the talk we had Monday afternoon to the evening. I highly recommend this program to anyone interested in birding. My only criticism of this program- it has nothing to do with the birding and it may be beyond Hidden Valley Institute's control- is the inconsistent ground transportation between airports (whether it be Monterey, San Jose or San Francisco) and the Institute. The shuttle from San Francisco and San Jose only goes to their hub in Monterey. The only transportation between Monterey and Hidden Valley is Yellow Cab Co. I certainly hope this can be improved in the future.

(5) Review left 4/20/2022

The Birding Monterey program was a great guide to the area and to the birds. The guide (Rick Furnier) was great, others on the trip were very friendly and helped each other with birding. I loved this Road Scholar trip, and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in exploring this region.

(5) Review left 4/20/2022

Birding in Monterey was such an enjoyable educational experience! I certainly feel rewarded in the variety of programs that were offered. I'd recommend this program without reservation!

(5) Review left 4/20/2022

Five stars - what a great trip! The birding outings were well organized and very successful. Rick knew where the birds were, kept us prepared and well informed, and kept a good pace so we could add to our personal and trip bird lists. I enjoyed every aspect and every birding location, in spite of occasional unfavorable weather conditions. The species comparisons Rick did using a phone app were very helpful for discerning the details of similar birds. In the end, I not only added to my bird list, but had better birding skills thanks to having Rick as our trip leader. The food was amazing, the presentations were top quality, and the accommodations were plenty comfortable. Everyone was helpful, welcoming, and caring. Much gratitude - Rick, Jim, Peter, Rene, John, Motbu, and all.

(4) Review left 4/16/2022

First and best, the location for this program is absolutely stunning. The Monterey area is perfect for this type of program, and the group leader, Rick Fournier, really knows his stuff. However, in the current situation with staffing issues affecting almost every industry, the program information concerning transportation to and from the lodging is misleading. The availability and reliability of the shuttle, taxi and/or ride-share services creates a long commute, especially if you fly in to SFO. It currently takes a minimum of 3.5 hours each way to and from the program lodging facility. I would strongly recommend doing your research well in advance to plan your ground transportation for this program. After the first day, I was ready to complain that the activity level designation of "Outdoors-No Sweat" was way off, but it turned out that the strenuous first day trek was pretty much an outlier, and the rest of the trip definitely fell under that description. Just be sure to have comfortable footwear! Overall, I think the program itself is a good one for even the most avid birder.

(5) Review left 4/15/2022

My sister and I just completed our first Road Scholar trip, Birding in Monterey. We thoroughly enjoyed the week spent with other birders from all over the country. The birding excursions were led by Rick Fournier, an expert in his field. He patiently shared his knowledge and expertise in finding and identifying as many birds as possible. He knew all the best birding locations to achieve the target birds for each day. Everyone involved in this program was helpful, kind and generous! We learned so much and had a wonderful week!

(1) Review left 3/29/2022

I would not recommend this trip. I was very disappointed in this trip. I thought we would bird more hours each day. Dseeing ay 1 check in-no birding. Days 2 and 4 less than 4 hours. Days 3 and 5 was less than 7.5 hours and day 6 was 2 hours. This was the actual contact time on bus, with Rick and with birds as object. Rick taught one participant how to use her binoculars on Day 4 not Day1. We did not bird in late afternoon or at dusk or in the dark for raptors or owls. The food was low average and the lodging was ok. My room had lots of hot water.

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 3/03/2022

Fabulous trip with a great leader in a great location!

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 10/27/2021

Highly experienced & helpful guide, well-planned trips (destinations and times), & comfortable accommodations overseen by a gracious host in peaceful surroundings.

(5) Review left 9/27/2021

This is a great program if you enjoy being outdoors in a variety of environments in beautiful area of California. You can be a serious or casual birder, or also an outdoor photographer. And take advantage of extending your stay at Hidden Valley for a very reasonable rate if space is available.

(5) Review left 9/16/2021

This was an excellent program (in November 2017) that I was able to enjoy once again with superb tour leader Rick F. We exceeded 100 species and had top quality photo opportunities . Hidden Valley Music Seminars is a great base location that provided, excellent meals, accommodation and transportation. They also offered enjoyable cultural offerings (including lectures, music, poetry & wine tasting.)

(5) Review left 3/01/2020

Rick was a great guide-he put us on lots of birds, taught about field marks and asked us which birds were important for us to see. He was fun to be with in the field, very experienced and accommodating to those of different physical abilities.






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