Escapes: Yuba County migrating birds

Tours that feature tundra swans that migrate through Yuba County are scheduled.
Tours that feature tundra swans that migrate through Yuba County are scheduled.

Yuba County

Swan tours in the rice fields

Around this time of year, more than 100,000 tundra swans migrate to California for the winter. Tundra swans weigh more than 20 pounds and have a 5.6-foot wingspan – a true sight to behold.

And in particular, tundra swans come to California’s rice-growing region. Local rice farmers have teamed up with naturalists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to offer free swan tours to the public on Saturdays through January in an area just north of Marysville. The district is home to 23,000 acres of rice fields.

Tours will focus on tundra swans in particular, but ducks, geese, herons, shorebirds, egrets and raptors will likely also be spotted. Don’t worry about wading through wetlands – groups will drive together down county roads, stopping at prime viewing spots.

Advanced registration is required, and a maximum of 30 people are allowed for each session. Tours take place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. The exact meeting location will be sent to attendees after registration. Learn more at


Film festival

What: The fourth annual Napa Valley Film Festival screens more than 100 new independent films in 12 different venues over five days. It spans four walkable centers – Calistoga, St. Helena, Yountville, Napa – and also celebrates wine and food with panel discussions, tastings, galas and more.

When: Wednesday through Nov. 16

Where: Various locations, Napa County

Cost: $95 single day, $295 full festival



Festival of Black Dolls

What: American Black Beauty Doll Artists, the oldest black doll organization in California, holds an annual show and sale featuring handcrafted dolls. Admire local talent and learn how to create your own dolls.

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday

Where: African American Museum & Library, 659 14th St., Oakland

Cost: Free



Wine discovery

What: More than 50 Santa Cruz Mountains winemakers will open their wineries and pour tastes during Passport Day. Purchase a passport online or at a winery and receive a guide and map to all participating locations.

When: Saturday

Where: Various locations, Santa Cruz

Cost: $45



History hike

What: Let guides walk you through history on a leisurely 5-mile trip. Stop at historical sites, such as a 19th century inn where John Muir once ate an interesting breakfast. Bring lunch and plenty of liquids. Reservations are required.

When: 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Nov. 16

Where: Sunset picnic area in Mount Diablo State Park, 96 Mitchell Canyon Road, Clayton

Cost: $10 per vehicle

Information: Ken Lavin at;


Tea festival

What: Taste hundreds of different teas at the third annual SF International Tea Festival. Both local and global producers will pour samples in a lively market, and renowned tea makers and educators will deliver talks.

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 16

Where: Ferry Building, S.F.

Cost: $25


Bee Staff