It's amazing that you can go bird watching in an urban setting but it's possible to do just that in Oakland's Lake Merritt. When I went there, I chanced upon a group of cormorants who got fascinated with a rope in their "island". I really enjoyed watching them because it looked like they were playing tug o' war.
"Lake Merritt, home to large breeding populations of herons, egrets, geese and ducks, is the oldest wildlife refuge on North America. Countless migratory birds make the lake their home during the winter months. The birds get so accustomed to people that you often can see them at close range."- www.oaklandnet.com/parks