Coyote Hills is a favorite birding site because of its variety of habitats—marshes, ponds, scrub, grasslands, and an area with trees south of the Visitor Center. (There has been some drastic brush clearing around Hoot Hollow.) We’ll see a number of raptors (Northern Harriers, White-tailed Kites, and more), sparrows, wintering shorebirds and ducks, egrets, Great Blue Herons, likely a Green Heron or two, and Great-tailed Grackles (a relatively new bird at this site). We’ll stop by the Nectar Garden at the Visitor Center; it has several water features that attract birds.
We’ll walk about 3 miles on boardwalks and mostly flat trails, wide and with paved or hard-packed surfaces. If there is water in the South Marsh, we’ll walk the extra mile to visit it at the end of our trip.
Birders of all levels welcome; Coyote Hills can be rewarding for beginners. Meet near the parking area adjacent to the Visitor Center (at the end of the park entrance road).
Directions: From I-880, take exit 21, Decoto Road, Highway 84 west (signed for Dumbarton Bridge). Then exit at Paseo Padre Parkway, turn right, and drive north about one mile. Turn left on Patterson Ranch Road and drive to the parking lot at the end.
Parking fee, if you don’t have an East Bay Regional Parks annual pass, is $5 per vehicle. Some of the staff are touchy about folks lining up at the gate before it opens at 8:00 a.m., so if you arrive early, wait in the parking area near the turn-off for Patterson Ranch Road.
Bring water and sun protection, as there is very little shade. There are chemical toilets in the parking lot and a few pit toilets along the walk. There are restrooms in the Visitor Center, which opens at 10:00 a.m.