Where to Bird in San Francisco

I’m going to have two days to bird in the Bay Area the weekend of May 12 and 13. Plus I may have an afternoon the previous weekend. I’ll be staying downtown, and probably don’t want to bother renting a car. I haven’t done any birding in this area and this time of year before, so there should be some good stuff locally. What’s recommended?

The Golden Gate Audubon Chapter “will be co-hosting Creatures of the New Lagoon: Discover the Wild Side of the Palace of Fine Arts. Golden Gate Audubon volunteers Harry Fuller, Pam Llewellyn, and Joan Zawaski will lead four walks at the lagoon, one per hour on the half hour, beginning at 10.30 a.m. There will also be music, storytellers, food vendors, and a wildlife art contest, adding up to a great way to spend a Saturday.” Sounds more like something for children than serious birders, but I was planning to go over there anyway so I’ll try to stop by. The local groups don’t seem to have any field trips scheduled that weekend, which is a pity. If you know of any please do let me know via e-mail or leaving a comment here.

The other obvious sites are Golden Gate Park and Land’s End. Is there anywhere else I should try to get to? Maybe Fort Funston and Lake Merced? Target species include Heermann’s Gull (probably too early), Mew Gull (too late?), Phainopepla, Pygmy Nuthatch, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Clark’s Grebe (maybe at Lake Merced?), White-throated Swift, Cassin’s Vireo, Hermit Warbler, Lazuli Bunting, Black-headed Grosbeak, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and any West Coast endemics that are likely to be around, especially birds that arrive in April or later since my previous West Coast birding has all been in March and the Fall.

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