Field Trips

There’s nothing we enjoy more than introducing you to birds or helping you find things in nature. Our volunteers who lead these field trips work hard to make sure we’re exposing you to a diverse amount of habitats throughout the entire greater Kansas City area and beyond. Field trips include a diverse selection of locations from city parks, state parks, conservation areas, wildlife areas, and national wildlife refuges. We also expose you to all the habitats that our birds rely on for their survival – wetlands, woodlands, prairies and grasslands, agriculture, urban, and savannah.

Photo of a field trip enjoying sunrise at Hillsdale Lake

Sunrise at Hillsdale Lake

For all field trips, we recommend that you dress for the weather, in layers, and bring water, snacks and insect repellent. In the details, we’ll let you know if you need to bring lunch or lunch money. Almost everything that Burroughs Audubon offers is free, even to non-members.  

Some field trips are low-impact and are spent in the car, so if you own any FRS radios, we encourage you to bring them so that bird sightings can be shared between vehicles.

 

Upcoming Trips

 

SEPTEMBER 2017

 

Thursday mornings – Various Locations – September 14th through October 26th

Join Mark McKellar for a morning walk at various locations around the Greater Kansas City Area. Sign up on the Backyard Bird Center’s calendar for communications regarding changes to the program.

 

Saturday September 30th – Location yet to be determined

Mark Land and Malcolm Gold will co-lead a field trip to a location yet to be determined. They will pick a location within driving distance of Kansas City and plan to meet at 7 am for carpooling and caravanning to the area of interest. The location for this trip will be chosen based on birding reports on the Missouri and Kansas listservs, eBird reports, and other bird reports that week. Look for updates regarding specific locations and the estimated length of the trip on the Burroughs website and the Friends of Burroughs Facebook page the morning of September 29th. As usual Burroughs trips are open to all. Bring your binoculars, scopes and radios, snacks, (possible lunch), water, and dress for the weather. 

For more information, contact Malcolm at 608-807-6086 or malcolmgold@gmail.com. Leave a message and he will return your call if needed.

 

OCTOBER 2017

 

Wednesday October 4th – Jerry Smith Park fall Bird Census with Sherry Leonardo

This is one of four seasonal bird censuses that we perform for KC WildLands.  Meet at 8 am in the small lot at the top of the ridge.  Bring water and snacks as we hike the approximately 1.5 mile trail. Contact Sherry Leonardo at home172@aol.com if you have any questions. 

 

Sunday October 8th – Smithville Lake 1 pm to 4pm 

Because fall and early winter are such great times for waterfowl migration, we will be visiting Smithville Lake each month to keep tabs on what is coming and going.  We should see great diversity as the gulls, loons, grebes, ducks, geese and raptor populations constantly change during the course of this season.

The leaders for this joint trip with Backyard Bird Center are Mark McKellar and Mary Nemecek.  Meet at the Jerry Litton Visitor Center at 1 pm. There is a $5 daily Vehicle Entry Fee if you don’t have a pass. For more information, contact Mary at msnemecek@aol.com.

 

Saturday October 21st and Sunday October 22nd – Hawks and Owls at Hitchcock Nature Center

Hitchcock Nature Center is one of the premier fall hawk watch locations in the Midwest and is located approximately 15 miles north east of Council Bluffs Iowa. As an official hawk watch location it has a counter on top of a 45 foot tower in addition to a banding station and hiking trails. We divide into 2 groups upon arrival with 1 group going up on the tower and the other going to the banding station. The banding station can only accommodate 6 people at a time and the trip size is limited to 12 people total, who must RSVP to Sherry Leonardo via email at home172@aol.com. After lunch the two groups will switch locations.

Participants are responsible for arranging their own accommodations in Council Bluffs. We will meet at the Platte City McDonald’s at 6 am to caravan together. Carpooling is strongly encouraged but must be arranged ahead of time because cars CANNOT be left overnight in the lot.

We should arrive around 9:30 am where we’ll divide our time between the hawk watch tower/trails and the hawk banding station. Participants need to bring their lunch as there aren’t any eating places near the Nature Center.  We’ll depart Hitchcock around 3:30 pm to check into lodging and meet at 6 pm for dinner at Cracker Barrel.  Afterwards there’s an option to go back to Hitchcock for Saw-Whet Owl banding.  Participants are on their own for breakfast Sunday morning and we’ll meet around 8 to bird Lake Manawa in Council Bluffs before heading home.

For additional info or help with carpooling and lodging recommendations please contact Sherry Leonardo at home172@aol.com.

 

Saturday October 28th – Clinton Lake Outlet Park and surrounding area with Rodney Wright

For carpooling meet at Wendy’s located northeast of the Woodland Drive and K-10 intersection in Lenexa Kansas at 6:30 am. Alternatively meet at the Clinton International Model Airport shortly after 7 am. We hope trails will be mowed but expect wet walking conditions through tall grass and advise rubber boots and rain pants if you have them. We will search for Le Conte’s Sparrow, Nelson’s Sparrow, Marsh Wren, and Sedge Wren. The half-day trip will continue to Bake Wetlands, Clinton Lake, or another neighboring location in mid morning and end by lunch. People of all skill levels are welcome to attend.  

For additional information, contact Rodney at (913) 548-1486.

 

NOVEMBER 2017

Sunday November 12th – Smithville Lake 1pm to 4pm 

Because fall and early winter are such great times for waterfowl migration, we will be visiting Smithville Lake each month to keep tabs on what is coming and going.  We should see great diversity as the gulls, loons, grebes, ducks, geese and raptor populations constantly change during the course of this season.

The leaders for this joint trip with Backyard Bird Center are Mark McKellar and Mary Nemecek. Meet at the Jerry Litton Visitor Center at 1pm. There is a $5 daily Vehicle Entry Fee if you don’t have a pass. For more information, contact Mary at msnemecek@aol.com.

 

Saturday November 25th – Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City, MO

We’ll witness multitudes of Snow Geese and waterfowl, as well as dozens of Bald Eagles. We’ll gather at the Loess Bluffs visitor center around 8:45 a.m., and begin our first trip around the refuge’s 10-mile auto tour loop at 9:00-ish. We’ll return to the visitor center around 12:30 p.m. for lunch and restrooms before making a second pass around the loop in the afternoon. Bring a sack lunch, snacks, optics, field guides, and FRS radios. Dress in layers, as conditions are often cold and windy at this time of year.

The leader of this trip is Mike Stoakes. For carpooling, meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Platte City commuter lot. For more information, contact Mike at mstoakes@juno.com or 816-554-1956.

 

DECEMBER 2017

 

Saturday December 2nd – Lyon, Coffey, and Osage Counties with Matt Gearheart

We’ll meet at 7 am in the parking lot in front of PetSmart near I-35 and 119th St in Olathe to carpool and caravan for this all day trip.  Matt will lead us on a great day of birding with stops around Melvern Reservoir, Lyon County State Fishing Lake, and John Redmond Reservoir in search of winter species such as Smith’s Longspurs, grebes, loons, scoters, gulls, shrikes, sparrows, and Long-eared Owls.

Bring food, beverages, and FRS radios for this all day trip.  If participants are interested, traditionally some stop at Guy and Mae’s Tavern in Williamsburg afterwards for BBQ ribs and to compile a trip total.  For more information, contact Matt at gearheart.matt@gmail.com or (913) 568-4678.

 

 

Sunday December 10th – Smithville Lake 1 pm to 4 pm

Because fall and early winter are such great times for waterfowl migration, we will be visiting Smithville Lake each month to keep tabs on what is coming and going.  We should see great diversity as the gulls, loons, grebes, ducks, geese and raptor populations constantly change during the course of this season.

The leaders for this joint trip with Backyard Bird Center are Mark McKellar and Mary Nemecek.  Meet at the Jerry Litton Visitor Center at 1 pm.  There is a $5 daily Vehicle Entry Fee if you don’t have a pass. For more information, contact Mary at msnemecek@aol.com.

 

Brief reports from past Field Trips 

 

We encourage you to share your experience with others. Add your photos to the trip list within eBird, share them on social media, and invite your friends to an upcoming trip. 

 

9/10/2017 – Participants enjoyed the wonderful weather, a couple of gull species, and fishing Osprey at Smithville Lake.

8/15/2017 to 8/17/2017 – A total of 26 different people participated in half day trips spread over three days around Cheyenne Bottoms WA, Quivira NWR, and central Kansas and found 120+ species. Highlights from the trip included 5 owl species, King Rails, and Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks.  

8/12/2017 – An Olive-sided Flycatcher was among the 39 species seen at Prairie Center by 9 people in Olathe, Kansas.

7/7/2017 – Ten people enjoyed the prairie flowers of the flint hills; they saw 30 species at Mt Mitchell and many more along Skyline drive in Wabaunsee County, Kansas.

6/17/2017 – Summer resident species were counted by 7 people at Blue River Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri. They tallied 39 species in the couple hour walk.

6/14/2017 – During the summer census at Jerry Smith Park in Kansas City, Missouri 5 people found 34 species.

6/4/2017 – Twenty-One people enjoyed the prairie habitat around Dunn Ranch in Harrison County, Missouri. They found a Black-billed Cuckoo, Henslow’s Sparrows, Bobolinks, and others among 54 species.

 

Have ideas? Please share them with us.

 

If you love getting out in nature and are interested in leading or co-leading a trip, if you have ideas of where a group could visit, or perhaps if you have a specific species in mind that you would like to see then please contact Burroughs. Direct your inquiry toward the field trip coordinators and they will get in contact with you to see what can be done.

Picture of field trip coordinators; Rodney Wright, Mike Stoakes, and Malcolm Gold

(L to R) Rodney Wright, Mike Stoakes, and Malcolm Gold

Alternatively feel free share your ideas with the coordinators the next time you see them in the field.  The coordinators are Rodney Wright, Mike Stoakes, and Malcolm Gold.