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Mission Trails Regional Park | Bird walk + incredible Merlin sighting

Today I woke up early-ish (actually late for me if I'm being honest, but early for you) and dragged myself down to Mission Trails Park on this Saturday morning for what almost turned out to be no good reason at all. I had planned to attend a guided bird walk at 8am, but instead of meeting at the stated rendez-vous point, which apparently was Gate 9 (wherever that is?), I just drove to the Visitor's Center.  
I swear I've been to Mission Trails a bunch of times for different things and I'm discovering that things ALWAYS start at some new location there that I didn't know about. How big is this park? It's confusing when you've planned poorly and you realize that you're late for the hike. 

By 8:18 I parked my car at the right spot (Gate 9?), which was a perfect four-way intersection with no indication of which way the group had gone. I literally had to just randomly pick a direction to walk, figuring that there was no way I'd catch up with a group tha…

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