Raised of $5,000

Based on 160 species seen each worth $44.04

Derek Heins

160/150 species seen

Mar 11 - May 15, 2023

Team Captain of East-Bay Scrub Jays

Bay Challenge - East Bay Team Leader

I'm excited to lead the East Bay Team taking on the San Francisco Team in the Bay Challenge. On April 1st our team of 8 avid birders will do our best to execute on our plan to see at least 150 species. We'll race to roughly 10 locations to bird, starting in the Oakland Hills, then down to bird the rich habitat along bay and then east to pick up some valley specialties before the competition ends at sundown.

My wife Cristina and I started birding together in 1989 on a Golden Gate Audubon (“GGAS”) field trip to Grizzley Island that captured our imagination and led to a lifelong passion. I’m passionate about birds and that’s why raising money for GGAS via this page. As Board member and Treasurer, I’m proud to support the work that GGAS does annually, including:

• adult ed classes that feature 20–25 offerings and 400 participants;

• free monthly speaker series that attracts an average of 100 people per month;

• our flagship Eco-Ed program, serving Title 1 (low-income) students in San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond for 24 years;

• our habitat restoration program that sponsors nearly 100 events with 500 volunteers restoring and maintaining habitat at 8 Bay Area sites;

• the Christmas Bird Counts we sponsor and organize in San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond. I personally led the new Richmond count with nearly 200 participants in it’s inaugural count on Jan 2, 2022;

• our three conservation committees (San Francisco, East Bay, and Alameda) that advocate for birds and wildlife around the Bay Area.

Won’t you join us in preserving birds and their habitats and making them accessible to all? You can pledge a set amount to support the work of GGAS or you can pledge an amount per bird--$1 per bird seems like a reasonable amount to us, but any amount you can afford is much appreciated!

Thank you for your support.


Derek Heins

1 yr. ago


species seen


Per species seen



The Scrub Jays had an incredible day, hitting the magical 160 number of species seen. We started at Skyline Staging at Redwood Park with a Great Horned Owl hooting, birded the woods there for about 90 minutes and then quickly headed down towards to the bay. We made a quick stop at Lake Temescal and then birded from Miller Knox Park down to Arrowhead Marsh. We then munched our lunches and took stock of our status while driving east to bird some hotspots in Pleasanton and Livermore. We ended the day on Mines Road, toasting with our champagne glasses after hearing a Rufous-crowned Sparrow announce "I'm your number 160". Highlights were many and included Townsend's Solitaire, Varied Thrush, Northern Parula, Snowy Plover, Black Skimmer, Golden Eagle, Western Kingbird, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Phainopepla, Lark Sparrow, Great-tailed Grackle and Lewis' Woodpecker. Some of our group had never met each other but by the end of the day had quite the shared experience; that's what makes birding great. We're all still recovering from the long day so more to come (photos, etc.)

Derek Heins

1 yr. ago

The Scrubs Jay members are spending some precious final moments with their real-life families before flying out of their homes early tomorrow morning to meet their Scrub Jay family to begin a day of migration around the East Bay in search of every possible species of bird they can find. Swami Eric Shroeder, as designated eBird checklist entry person, has taken the vow to not enter any toucans. Top Gun Alex Henry will not be buzzing Arrowhead Marsh in his F16. Anne Ardillo and Tara McIntire, masters of all things raptor, promised to look for other birds too. Eco-ed legend Clay Anderson has promised not to hold up the team by engaging children along the way in nature explorations. Legal counsel Dan Roth has offered to represent the team pro-bono in any actions related to local, state and federal infractions. And Jeff Manker, still in his honeymoon period in Alameda County, will bring his legendary Monterey County skills to his new family.

The fundraising response has been absolutely fantastic and for that the team is super energized and thankful.

Stay tuned tomorrow morning for updates to our eBird Trip Report as Eric posts Scrub Jay checklists.


Team Captain Derek Heins

Derek Heins

1 yr. ago

The Scrub Jays are meeting tonight for final prep in anticipation of Saturday's quest for greatness! We're super excited that we've topped $13,000 in fundraising (hoping to top $15,000), so a heartfelt thanks to everyone whose pledges will support our great GGAS programs.

Derek Heins

1 yr. ago

The Scrub Jays are getting anxious for April 1 to arrive, but in the meantime are keeping busy reaching out to fundraise from various sources. We've already outdone the total raised last year by the East Bay team, but intend to keep the fundraising efforts going to reach our $10,000 goal.

Birding-wise, we started scouting some locations and are discussing possible modifications to our original planned route. It's quite a challenge to piece together a plan that is efficient but allows the best chance to maximize the number of species seen. But that what makes birding the Bay Area so fun with all the different habitats to bird. Shall we skip trying for a Roadrunner on Mines and focus more on seeing a Brandt's Cormorant on the bay???? Only time will tell. Stay tuned.

Derek Heins

1 yr. ago

The East Bay Scrub Jays met last night to get to know each other a little, review the April 1 Bay Challenge rules and then discuss of plan for the day. We're all excited and ready to start scouting some of our intended destinations. Stay tuned!

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