15752
California

California Good Migrations: Elephant Seals, Whales & Birds

Witness some of nature’s most inspiring scenes as you learn about migrating monarch butterflies, elephant seals in San Simeon and birds and whales along California’s Central Coast.
Rating (5)
Program No. 15752RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,149
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 3 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Cambria, CA
D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Lodge check in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00-5:00 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby 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. Remember to bring your name-tag (sent previously).

Dinner: In our meeting room at the lodge, we’ll have a buffet dinner offering a variety of foods plus milk, coffee, tea, water.

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. Unless noted otherwise, travel to/from field trips will be via bus. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” 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. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Tomorrow, the adventures begin!

DAY
2
Migration Patterns, Estuary Board Walk & Birding, Lecture
Cambria, CA
B,L,D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off bus; traveling about 45 miles throughout the day, up to 1 hour total. Walking up to 1/2 mile; boardwalk.

Breakfast: In the hotel meeting room, the breakfast buffet offers a variety of choices each morning such as scrambled eggs, French toast or pancakes, granola, oatmeal, fresh fruit, plus orange juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: In the hotel meeting room, we’ll attend a presentation on the migration patterns of elephant seals, sea otters, and monarch butterflies by an expert instructor. This will provide necessary background information for our upcoming field trips.

Lunch: In our meeting room, we’ll have a salad bar with soup and bread, plus milk, coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: We’ll board the bus and depart on a field trip to Morro Bay. We’ll walk on the boardwalk, along the bay’s estuary, and observe the marine life. The boardwalk allows us to get close to the tidal flats without being in the water itself. As we explore, our instructor will discuss the ecology and wildlife of the area. Next, we’ll ride to Morro Rock to observe the wildlife. We’ll look out for several bird species that typically nest here, such as herons and snowy plovers, as well as sea lions and sea otters that can often be seen in the surrounding waters.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: At the lodge, a local bird expert will give a presentation on the birds of the area. This presentation will provide background information for our upcoming field trips.

DAY
3
Birding, Monarch Butterfly Grove, Falconry Lecture
Cambria, CA
B,D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off bus; traveling about 90 miles throughout the day, up to 2 hours total. Walking up to 3 miles; sand, dirt path. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during independent time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: We'll head out via bus to Morro Bay. With an expert from the Audubon Society, we’ll walk slowly down a trail to the beach to observe some of the several hundred species of birds that are known to winter in this area such as robins, sparrows, eagles, thrashers and more. We'll then take our bus down the coast to Pismo Beach. On arrival, we’ll set out on a walking field trip with a docent to explore a Eucalyptus grove known by locals as the “Butterfly Trees.” The reason for the nickname will become clear on arrival as we observe hundreds of Monarchs congregating in the trees. As we explore, our docent will explain the shingle effect created by these clusters.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Pismo Beach. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: We’ll return to the lodge and have independent time to relax and freshen up before dinner. You might like to stroll through the extensive themed gardens at the lodge or explore downtown.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: At the lodge, we’ll attend a presentation on the migration patterns of the Peregrine Falcon by a naturalist. We’ll also learn about the present day status and importance of raptors and their migrations.

DAY
4
Piedras Blancas Lighthouse & Elephant Seals, Lecture, Film
Cambria, CA
B,L,D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off bus; traveling about 30 miles throughout the day, less than 1 hour total. Walking up to 1/2 mile; dirt trail.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: We'll board the bus and depart on a field trip to Piedras Blancas Light Station. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 70-foot lighthouse is now part of a historic park and wildlife sanctuary where a variety of organizations conduct biological research. As we walk through the Outstanding Natural Area, a local expert will discuss the history of the lighthouse, the reintroduction of native plants, and the natural history of the area. Boarding a motorcoach, we’ll ride to The Elephant Seal Sanctuary with our mammal expert. We’ll hear these massive, noisy giants of the marine world long before we see them. Inflating their huge snouts, males can bellow loudly enough to be heard a mile away. The Northern Elephant Seal is the largest of its kind on the North Pacific coast. They come to the rookery only for breeding, molting, and to rest; otherwise they stay at sea. Elephant Seals have been recorded making the deepest dives of any mammal. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for molted skin on the beach. Then, we’ll ride back to the lodge.

Lunch: Lodge buffet.

Afternoon: At the lodge, a local expert will give a lecture on the migration pattern of gray whales. Gray whales travel anywhere from 10,000 to 14,000 miles roundtrip every year. Then, we’ll have independent time to explore or relax before dinner.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: In the lodge meeting room, we’ll view a one hour film on the migration of the monarch butterfly to help with our understanding of this magnificent flight.

DAY
5
Whale Watch, Sustainable Winemaking, Wrap-up Session
Cambria, CA
B,L,D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off bus; traveling about 90 miles throughout the day, up to 2 hours total. Boarding 65-foot vessel; walking up a steep plank with railing to board; staff available to assist. Whale watch dependent on weather; there will be an alternate activity in the event of unsafe sea conditions. Standing up to 1 hour at a time at vineyard. Elective walking; uneven ground, less than 1 mile round trip.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: With our Group Leader, we’ll ride to Morro Bay, board the boat, and set out on the water to observe the wildlife. We’ll keep an eye out for migrating gray whales and other ocean inhabitants, such as the sea otters and dolphins we've learned so much about. As we sail, the ship’s Captain and crew will provide expert commentary. Then, we’ll ride to a winery for lunch.

Lunch: At a winery in Edna Valley, we’ll have a box lunch with choice of sandwich, a sweet treat, and water included; other beverages available for purchase. While we eat, we’ll have a wine tasting and an illuminating lecture on topics relevant to the program theme.

Afternoon: We’ll set out on a walking field trip with winery staff to explore the vineyards and learn about sustainable winemaking. We’ll also learn about the efforts of the owner to reduce the impacts of vineyard development on the surrounding wildlife. One such project focuses on salmon habitat restoration along the creeks of the vineyard as well as preserving habitats for native pond turtles, birds of prey, and native plants. We’ll top off our exploration with a wine tasting. We’ll return to the lodge in the late afternoon with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: Lodge buffet. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during this farewell dinner.

Evening: The Group Leader will lead a wrap-up session to review program highlights and say farewell to new Road Scholar friends.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Cambria, CA
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: 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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