VALLEJO — Birds and people will be flocking to Mare Island and the surrounding area this weekend to enjoy the 16th annual San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival.
The three-day event celebrates the return of more than one million shorebirds and hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese and hawks which migrate through or winter in the Bay Area.
In addition to exhibitions, presentations and movies, there will be more than 50 regional outings, including a walk in the new Napa-Sonoma Marshland Wildlife Area led by biologists.
“In 16 years Fish and Game has never led a walk — this shows their commitment (to the festival),” said event coordinator Myrna Hayes.
Hayes has been involved with the event from its beginnings in the mid-1990s.
The Flyway Festival is focused on beginning and intermediate bird watchers. Napa resident Cheryl Harris, outreach chairman for Napa-Solano Audubon Society, said people will be able to see the recently opened new trails in American Canyon and on Mare Island.
“It’s an opportunity to see nature close by, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about birds in our own backyard,” Harris said.
The events include:
• Beginning Birding for Families at American Canyon Wetlands, with tours 1 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Napa-Solano Audubon Society Field Guides offer a one-hour guided walk for children and families. Meet at the welcome table at corner of Eucalyptus Drive and Wetlands Edge Road.
• Self-guided bird walk in the American Canyon Wetlands, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Expert volunteers with viewing scopes will oversee self-guided bird walks with viewing stations. Meet at the corner of Eucalyptus Drive and Wetlands Edge Road.
• Birding in American Canyon from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday. Robin Leong, Napa-Solano Audubon Society field guide, leads a morning of birding that includes American Canyon Wetlands and a quarry on American Canyon Road to look for raptors.
• Eco-walk of Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Join biologists Karen Taylor of state Department of Fish and Game and Francesca Demgen, URS Corp. at the newly restored 1,400-acre Napa salt ponds for a low tide bird walk and fish facts.
Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the site off the end of Green Island Road. Turn left into the park driveway at sign that says Napa-Sonoma Mashes Wildlife Area, Green Island Unit. Follow the driveway around to the parking lot.
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