Best Place to Go Birding 

Arrowhead Marsh

"There's birding spots for birders and there's birding spots for everybody else," says Amiko Mayeno, educational director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society in East Oakland. A winning favorite for "everybody else" is Arrowhead Marsh, where visitors can spot a wide a variety of shorebirds, including marbled godwits, blackneck stilts, greater yellowlegs, and American avocets with their super-long skinny beaks. Some birders have been known to spot clapper rails, an endangered species, which tend to sneak and duck around the edges of marshes and mudflats in search of mussels. Owl-watching also is increasingly popular, and even in daylight, marsh visitors can spot burrowing owls, whose bright yellow eyes give them away as they pop in and out of burrows created by ground squirrels. Look up occasionally -- you may be able to catch the dazzling sight of a flock of dunlins, small sandpipers in flight: first their dark-gray backs may be visible, then, as they turn abruptly, their white bellies reflect the sun's rays.

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