I had done limited research before leaving, but I did find some good tips for San Francisco birding here: http://www.towhee.net/sfspec/index.html
I walked down the corridor of Park Presidio Blvd. (lined with sequoia redwoods) and then I basically spent most of my time around Mountain Lake:
The write-up shown above (taken from the Presidio Park website: http://www.presidio.gov/nature/natural/projects.htm) describes what they have done to improve the Mountain Lake area. It really is a cool area, with wetland sections and dense underbrush. That's where I was scouting for warblers (ID-d a Wilson's Warbler) and was watching the chestnut-backed chickadees. I also enjoyed watching the Anna's Hummingbirds which were very vocal and active. I'll post the pictures in a separate post.
Some funny stories from my day birding in Predisio Park:
1. I happened to be in San Francisco the same day as the Bay to Breakers race. I was talking to my friend living in San Francisco on my cell phone and he asked me if I had seen anyone from Bay to Breakers yet. I had no idea what he was talking about, but literally right before he called someone in a clown wig had just passed me on a bike in the park so I started to put it all together. On my walk back to the hotel from the park I saw lots more people making their way home from the race. Keep in mind that they had been drinking all day and their costumes were not in the greatest shape at that point...it was pretty entertaining. The funniest scene was watching a guy wearing nothing but pink hot pants with silver lips on the cheeks get dropped off at his apartment by two girls. As he scrambled down the sidewalk, barefoot and clutching his jeans the two girls sat giggling in their car before driving away. For a good laugh do a Google Image Search for "bay to breakers."
2. My second funny story is about a woman (40s-ish with long gray hair) and her daughter (about 9) who asked me which way it was to the lake. Obviously I wasn't from there but I could at least tell her how to get there since it was just around the corner from where we were. I continued walking away from the lake and spent some time in an open area up by the golf course.
I decided to head back toward the lake to look for more warblers and ran into the lady and her daughter again. She told me thank you for the directions and started up a conversation with me. She told me (unprompted) that she and her daughter were finalists in an art competition and they were scouting the area for locations for their art exhibit. I thought this was interesting for people who were from out of town (I assumed- since they asked for directions). She said they were building a bird house so I told her I was a birder. She asked her daughter to finish telling me about it, "Did you hear that honey? She's a birder- tell her what kind of bird house we're making." Her daughter, annoyed, told me it was for a great-horned owl, and-get this- they're going to suspend a golf cart from a tree and put the bird house inside!
And, even crazier, it turns out they're from San Francisco! I find it really strange that an artistic/free spirit type like this lady wouldn't know her way around the park.
It was a great day birding, but unfortunately the only day I got out there with my binoculars. I definitely plan on returning so next time I'll need to build in more time for birding.