Some real movers and shakers have swooped in on San Francisco’s southern industrial-chic waterfront thanks to the creative work and advocacy of the Golden Gate Audubon Society and other environmental groups. Heron’s Head Park features 24 acres of salt marsh and bayside beach favored by over 100 bird species. It’s quite a remarkable transformation for an area that was once one of the most polluted in San Francisco.
Tranquil trails here meander among rehabilitated and protected marshland that’s essential for bird nesting, resting, and feeding. Residents include double-crested cormorants, snowy egrets, and the great blue heron. Grassy areas are popular with the golden crowned sparrow, and even the harlequin duck has been sighted.
Get up close to the shorebirds with an easy stroll along the park’s primary pathway—a long spit of land jutting out into the bay. Extra amenities include an environmental education center, a contemporary dog park, and several cement picnic tables with grills. Just don’t expect to get invited to the pool party.
TIP: You can download a Field Guide to 100 Birds of Heron’s Head.
Parking for Heron’s Head Park is on Jennings St. at Cargo Way (map). Bring a windbreaker. You can also bike the main path. Outgoing tide brings best shoreline viewing. Dog-friendly!