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.

For 2024, we will be sponsoring nine 10-11- hour Pelagic Birding trips during Spring and Fall migration out of Mission Bay for the adventurous birder wanting to experience seabirds seldom seen from land. Through our Migrating Birders Program, a partnership with Holbrook Travel, we offer  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

NEW! The Whelan Lake Bird Sanctuary has a new website-this contains fascinating history and information about this special place.

When: First Saturday of each month

Start Time: 8:00 a.m.

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: Denise Riddle ( and Patti Langen

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

Birding the Rancho Carrillo Trail

When: First Friday of the month.

Start time: 7:30 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 wil be birding along a portion of the Rancho Carrillo trail.

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

Leaders: Jane Mygatt, Barbara Swanson and friends (

Photo credit: Jane Mygatt

Red-shafted x Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker by Jane Mygatt

El Corazon park

El Corazon Garrison Creek Bird Outing

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

Start time: 8:00 a.m. (winter only, check newsletter)

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 (


Birding with Barbara

When: Third Saturday of each month. Locations will vary!

Join Barbara for this new opportunity to visit birding spots throughout San Diego County. Check the BVAS Newsletter, page 4 for the details on where we will go.

Leader: Barbara Swanson (



Photo of House Wren by Barbara Swanson

Coastal 101 Birding

When: All year except June, July and August

Last Saturday of the month

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 nine trips (for 2024) on the whale watching vessel The Legacy  during Spring and Fall migration.  All nine trips are 10-11- hours long, and go out 30 miles or so in search of birds rarely seen from land or in San Diego County.  There are 4-6 expert guides per trip that help spot rarities for our visitors. We thank Paul Lehman, Dave Povey, and Bruce Rideout for organizing the pelagic trips for BVAS.  All trips depart from Seaforth Landing on Mission Bay in San Diego.

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

Migrating Birders Program


Ecuador with Buena Vista Audubon Society: Birding the Eastern Slopes and Amazon Rainforest

11 DAYS | Sept. 30 – Oct. 10, 2024; $4,475 per person plus airfare, based on 8 participants (Hurry, last payment due in June 2, 2024)!

Please see flyer for details!

BELIZE & GUATEMALA with Buena Vista Audubon Society: Neotropical Birds and Mayan Ruins

9 DAYS | Mar. 6 – 14, 2025; $3,700 per person plus airfare, based on 10 participants

Please see flyer for details!

Hollbrook Travel flyer for website Feb 2024
Emerald Toucanet resized-medium
Hollbrook Travel flyer for website Feb 2024 2

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

To protect and preserve our region's birds, biodiversity, and threatened habitats, and to promote conservation of our natural resources through advocacy, education, and both habitat restoration and management.

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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