A long weekend birding and wildlife event created by Myrna Hayes that celebrates the return of more than 1 million shorebirds and thousands of ducks, geese, hawks and songbirds which migrate through or winter in the Bay Area. The Annual Flyway Festival hosted by the nonprofit Mare Island Heritage Trust, is held during the second Saturday in February and boasts numerous guided nature walks throughout the region, including outings suitable for beginning and intermediate birdwatchers, and families and adults of all ages. The event also hosts displays by government and non-governmental organizations, presentations, demonstrations, kids activities, and pop-up marketplace with vendors of binoculars, ecologically oriented books and crafts.
The Friends join this event by hosting a table at the Expo displaying its mission of support for the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge and offering guided outings on refuge sites such as raptor viewing on Skaggs Island and Wetland Interpretative Tours on Cullinan Ranch and at Sears Point on the Sonoma Baylands Trail. Situated along the Pacific Flyway, the region where birds migrate through western United States, San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge and the estuary is an important wintering area for waterfowl, particularly canvasbacks, scaup, and scoters. Shorebirds also use the area to overwinter or as a stopover point during migration.
The Friends newsletter, the Pickleweed Post was developed to highlight the year’s accomplishments and plans and distributed at the Flyway Festival. The Friends sold their two endangered species children’s books: “A Home for Salty” and “Sardis and Stamm”, answered visitors questions, and offered eco-walks, refuge tours, bird watching trips, and presentations such as “Haying the North Bay” about the agricultural history of the area that became refuge lands.