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16891
California

Birding and Ecology in the California Delta by Boat

Explore the California Delta alongside naturalists and learn about this protected region’s myriad birds, diverse ecology, unique museums and complex system of levees.
Rating (5)
Program No. 16891RJ
Length
4 days
Starts at
1,049
California

Birding and Ecology in the California Delta by Boat

Explore the California Delta alongside naturalists and learn about this protected region’s myriad birds, diverse ecology, unique museums and complex system of levees.
Length
4 days
Starts at
1,049
Program No. 16891 RJ
climate
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At a Glance

Venture into remote areas accessible only by boat and marvel at the wealth of migratory birds and waterfowl that inhabit the California Delta’s 738,000 acres. Learn the story of the delta, which collects nearly 27 million acre feet of water from more than 40 percent of California's surface. As you traverse the waterways with an expert naturalist aboard a 50-foot custom vessel, keep your eyes peeled for sightings of hawks, falcons, owls and thousands of waterfowl, including the Tundra Swan, Snow Geese, ducks, Sandhill Cranes and more. 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
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Study the ecology of the delta by boat while watching for both resident and migrating birds such as Red-tailed Hawks and Sandhill Cranes.
  • Discover why so many of the islands in the delta have been artificially created.
  • Learn about the fascinating history of the surrounding area at the Rio Vista Museum.

General Notes

Most Road Scholar birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1 in the field. Because all birding is done from a boat in this program, there is one expert for a group of 24. We adhere to the American Birding Association’s Code of Ethics. Learn more at http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Images of California: The California Delta
by Carol A. Jensen
This history of the Delta concentrating on its importance to the region and the agricultural industry can be purchased through the California Delta visitors bureau website californiadelta.org.
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4 days
3 nights
8 meals
3 B 2 L 3 D
DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Oakley, CA
D
Best Western Plus Delta Inn & Suites

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m. If you plan to arrive after 5:00 p.m., call the hotel at 925-755-1222 so they know not to release your room.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you 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.

Dinner: In the hotel meeting room, we will have a catered buffet meal including an entrée, salad, side dish, bread and butter, dessert, plus soda, coffee, hot 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. Transportation for program-related activities will be via a shuttle bus and boat unless otherwise specified. Please be sure to bring a refillable water bottle for the field trips. 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.

DAY
2
Birding & Ecology by Boat, Rio Vista Museum, Lecture
Oakley, CA
B,L,D
Best Western Plus Delta Inn & Suites

Activity note: Getting on/off shuttle bus; traveling about 30 miles total, approximately 1/2 hour roundtrip. Getting on/off boat; unavoidable steps; declined ramp followed by a short walk to the catamaran; traveling by boat 8 hours; the dock does not have handrails. In Rio Vista, we will walk approximately 6 blocks on level terrain.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, bacon, potatoes, oatmeal, toast, plus juice, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll board our shuttle bus and ride to the Antioch Marina where we will transfer to our classroom on the water. As we journey the California Delta and the Sacramento River, our Captain and a local expert will discuss the ecology and history of the Delta. We will sail under one of the many drawbridges that link the delta together. The Captain will also point out and discuss the levies as we see the effects of subsidence on the delta islands. We will be on the lookout for the many birds, both resident and winter migrants, that depend on the islands and waterways. Some of the species typically observed in the area include the peregrine falcon, blue heron, red-tailed hawk, red-winged blackbird, kestrel, great egret, and more. NOTE: Bring a refillable water bottle.

Lunch: We’ll dock at Rio Vista and walk to a popular café where we’ll have a plated meal, which includes a pre-selected sandwich, side salad, and bread and butter, with a beverage choice of lemonade, soda, iced tea, water.

Afternoon: We’ll walk across the street to explore the Rio Vista Museum. Originally a blacksmith shop, the building was converted into a museum in 1975. The museum provides a look into Rio Vista's past with exhibits on community history, period dress, and antique farm equipment. Docents will point out the museum's highlights and answer questions. After a short walk back to the dock, we’ll board our boat and continue to explore the waters of the Sacramento River and the California Delta. The captain and local expert will discuss the habitats favored by migratory birds, their habitats, the delta ecosystems, and the industrial usage of the Sacramento River, as we scan the banks for birds and the waters for ducks and the occasional seal and sea lions.

Dinner: Catered buffet.

Evening: At the hotel, a biology professor will introduce us to a stealthy and beneficial aviator of the delta that most people do not normally see or notice: bats. Bats are the only mammal capable of true and sustained flight. We will learn why bats are an important part of the delta ecosystem and the ecological threats the species faces.

DAY
3
Birding Delta Backwaters by Boat, Documentary, Wrap-up
Oakley, CA
B,L,D
Best Western Plus Delta Inn & Suites

Activity note: Getting on/off shuttle bus; traveling 15 miles to/from marina. Getting on/off boat; unavoidable steps; declined ramp followed by a short walk to the catamaran; traveling by boat 8 hours; the dock does not have handrails. In Rio Vista, we will walk approximately 6 blocks on level terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll board our shuttle bus and ride to the Antioch Marina and board the boat. We’ll explore the smaller waterways of the delta. With a birding expert, we will observe and learn about multiple species of birds such as the red-tailed and red-shouldered hawk, peregrine falcon, kestrel, tundra swan, snow geese, white-fronted geese, and the sandhill crane. NOTE: Bring a refillable water bottle.

Lunch: Aboard, we will have a boxed lunch with a pre-selected sandwich or grain bowl and a bag of chips, plus coffee, hot tea, soda. Water is available for refilling our water bottles.

Afternoon: We will continue our journey on the delta with our birding expert. As we explore the smaller waterways, we’ll look for and learn about the large flocks of migrating birds as well as ducks in the bays and shallows. We will also check out the trees to see the status of nest building in the trees that normally host a heron rookery.

Dinner: Catered buffet.

Evening: We’ll watch an informative PBS video on the life of a wood duck family migrating thousands of miles together. After the video, we’ll have a wrap-up session to review program highlights and share our favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

DAY
4
Program Concludes
Oakley, CA
B

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

Breakfast: Hotel 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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