Birding With BVAS

Whether you're new to birding or have been doing it for years, BVAS has events for you!


BVAS offers many birding opportunities for birders of all ages and levels of experience to enjoy. We have a number of regularly scheduled Monthly Outings in various North County locations and a few spur-of-the-moment outings to chase rarities in the county. We sponsor five 10-12 hour Pelagic Birding trips during Spring and Fall migration out of Pt. Loma for the adventurous birder wanting to experience seabirds seldom seen from land. Through our Migrating Birders Program, a partnership with Holbrook Travel, we offer periodic international trips to explore other cultures, bioregions, and the birds of various countries. Please join us as we enjoy the birding opportunities both local, and through our international travel program!

Whelan Lake birding

Whelan Lake

When: First Saturday of each month

Start Time: 8:00 am

Join BVAS on this regular monthly outing and survey of the birds at this special wildlife sanctuary. The freshwater lake, adjacent riparian forest, and grassy upland hills provide an exciting array of bird species throughout the year.

Directions: From I-5, take Highway 76 East; turn left at Douglas Drive; continue to the light at North River Road.; go left on North River Road. Pass through entrance gate and follow signs to the lake.

Leaders: John Haddock (760-941-7824) and Denise Riddle

Note: For other times to visit Whelan Lake, please contact the caretaker, Greg Kackstetter, to gain access (760-722-4887)



Birding Leo Carrillo

When: First Thursday of the month (all year) 

Start time: 8 a.m.  

Just a few miles inland in the south part of Carlsbad lies Leo Carrillo Ranch Park, a California Historical Landmark that was opened to the public in August 2003. It is connected to the citywide trails system via the 4-mile long Rancho Carrillo trail.

We start off birding along the Rancho Carrillo trail before exploring inside the grounds of the Historic Park. We always have expert-level guests to help spot and “bird by ear”.

Location: Park along the trailhead near 2955 Via Conquistador, Carlsbad, 92009.

Leaders: Eve Martin, Patti Koger, and Jane Mygatt (

Photo credit: Jane Mygatt

Photo Credit: Jane Mygatt

El Corazon park

El Corazon Garrison Creek Bird Outing

When: Second Wednesday of the month (excluding some summer months)

Start time: 7:30 a.m.

The Garrison Creek Trail is a one-mile long trail in the heart of Oceanside’s El Corazon Park. The trail follows prior maintenance roads through mule fat, coastal sage scrub, and riparian habitats along Garrison Creek. The area is home to many sensitive plants, birds, and other wildlife that often can be seen or heard along the trail.

Directions: From the intersection of El Camino Real and Oceanside Blvd., go east on Oceanside Blvd., turn left (north) into the first gate. Park to the left.

Leader: Denise Riddle (

Steve Brad’s Two Monthly Outings

When: Dates, times and meeting places vary!

Join Steve for these surprise-location outings as we chase birds together. When and where we go is based on recent reports and Steve’s personal surveying. Starting times and days will vary, so send Steve an email if you are interested in being on his notification list!

Leader: Steve Brad (


San Dieguito Lagoon River Park

When: Third Saturday of each month. Note: The location of this outing alternates every month between Lower Crest Canyon and San Andres Drive. CALL JOHN HADDOCK (NUMBER BELOW) FOR SUMMER SCHEDULE-SOMETIMES THERE ARE NO WALKS IN THE SUMMER SO CHECK FIRST WITH JOHN,

Start Time: 8:30 a.m.

This estuary is a key over-wintering habitat for migrating birds. The combination of salt marsh and coastal sage scrub make it an important area for both resident and migrating birds.


San Andres Dr.- From I-5, take Via de la Valle east; go right on San Andres Dr. to end of road.

Lower Crest Canyon- From I-5, take Via de la Valle west; go left on Jimmy Durante Blvd; left on San Dieguito Rd. Go east one mile to trailhead. (JAN, MAR, MAY, SEP, and NOV)

Leader: John Haddock (760-941-7824)

Coastal 101 Birding

When: Last Saturday of the month (may not always include summer months)

Start Time: 9:00 a.m.

Join us for our monthly bird outing and census at Buena Vista Lagoon. No experience necessary. We start at the Nature Center and then take go up Coast Hwy to Maxton Brown Park, cross over to the beach, and loop back to the Nature Center.  We stop at various locations to observe the micro-niche habitats containing various bird species, and discuss the lagoon and the watershed.

Location: Buena Vista Nature Center, 2202 S. Coast Highway, Oceanside. Meet in the parking lot.

Leader: Tom Troy (760-420-7328)

Pink-Footed  Shearwater San Diego Waters 2010 07 31-5

Pelagic Birding

BVAS is pleased to sponsor San Diego Pelagics, a venue for birding on the Pacific Ocean in search of seabirds and rarities. We offer 5 trips on the fishing vessel Grande during Spring and Fall migration. Trips are generally 12-hours long and go out 30 miles or more in search of birds rarely seen from land or in San Diego County. There are 6 expert guides per trip that help our visitors spot rarities. We thank Dave Povey for organizing the pelagic trips for BVAS! All trips are on board Grande, leaving Pt. Loma’s H&M Landing in San Diego Bay.

Please click the link to San Diego Pelagics ( for information on how to make reservations, trip details, leaders and expected birds. 

Migrating Birders Program

Our Migrating Birder Program offers members exciting travel opportunities to visit other bioregions both within and outside the U.S.

In the past, we have offered trips to Northern Alberta, Cape May, Costa Rica, and Cuba and the Galapagos Islands, to name a few. We will continue offering programs through private tour companies and with Road Scholar. We have a new BVAS-Holbrook Travel liaison, Stan Walens who will be researching new travel options for our members and friends. Be on the look-out for future travel opportunities to interesting cultural locations in Mexico and Guatemala that are also fantastic birding destinations!

Photo Credit: Holbrook Travel

Photo Credit: Holbrook Travel

Donations that make a difference!

Your donation will help us further our mission of providing nature-based education to local children, offering birding classes and other programs, protecting and restoring North County wildlife habitats, and more!

Our Mission

Conservation Through Education, Advocacy, Land Management, and Monitoring

Mailing Address

Buena Vista Audubon
PO Box 480
Oceanside, CA 92049

Nature Center

2202 S. Coast Highway
Oceanside, CA 92054



Tuesday 10 am-1 pm
Wednesday 10 am-1 pm
Thursday 10 am-1 pm
Friday 10 am-1 pm
Saturday 10 am-1 pm

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