The San Francisco Bay Area has been my home since I was seven years old. I grew up in Orinda, collecting rocks in the nearby creeks, and building forts on the oak and bay covered hillsides. I have been birding seriously since May 1, 1986, when a male Western Tanager and a male Hooded Oriole visited the bottlebrush bush in my backyard in Martinez.
I began teaching birding classes in 1996, when I took over Norah Bain’s classes at the Orinda Community Center. From 1997-2006 I taught evening classes and field trips through Wild Birds Unlimited in Pleasant Hill. I enjoyed being a co-leader on Shearwater Journeys pelagic boat trips from 1993 to 2011, and have led classes and field trips for the Lindsey Museum, Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Mount Diablo Interpretive Association, Golden Gate and Mount Diablo Audubon Society, as well as for private groups, local schools, and as a fund raising event for Marin Habitat for Humanity. Thanks to the kindness of Rusty Scalf, I taught Birding by Ear at Albany Adult School for seven years, and now I continue to teach BBE classes for Golden Gate Audubon at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. I was also a judge for the Piedmont Bird Calling Contest for six years.
I have had the opportunity to bird with amazing people over the years, many of whom shared their knowledge of bird with me freely, and many with whom I shared what I knew. In 1995 I had the good fortune to show Patrick O’Brian, author of the Aubrey-Maturin novel series, Bonaparte’s Gulls on Bolinas Lagoon, for which he repaid me by mentioning me by name in his newsletter.
I have birded around the US and Canada, England and Wales, Ecuador, Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Australia. Although I still look forward to seeing and hearing birds in other locations around the globe, California is by far my favorite place to bird.
Mitchell Canyon, at the top of Red Road, Mount Diablo State Park, Golden Gate Audubon Society Birding by Ear Class, Fall 2013.