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 visit 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 during a fall Field Trip.

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. Some of the trips are walking trails once you meet. Any questions you have regarding the trips can be answered by the field-trip coordinators or by the volunteer leader of that specific trip.

In addition to Burroughs Field Trips, other nature walks and bird walks are available around the Kansas City Area. Below is a list of locations offering additional trips for your consideration. If you would like your field-trips page listed below please contact Burroughs.

 

Upcoming Trips

 

Check back here for updates on winter trips if the weather is a concern. The website will contain the most up-to-date information.

 

March 2019

 

Friday, March 22nd – Sunday, March 24th – Grand Island, Nebraska (Weather dependent)

Join us as we travel to Grand Island, Nebraska to witness one of the top nature spectacles in the world on March 22 to the 24th. Each year hundreds of thousands of Sandhill Cranes migrate through an 80-mile corridor of the Platte River on their journey north.

We will meet Friday afternoon to travel the Platte River Road looking for cranes as they feed and interact. At dusk, we will stop along the Platte River as the birds come to roost in the river for the evening. Saturday morning we will visit the Platte River looking for more flocks in the fields along the roads and parks. In the afternoon we will visit several of the conservation areas looking for migrating waterfowl, raptors, and a possible Northern Shrike. If any other crane (Whooping or Common) are in the area we may look for them. At dusk, we will again return to the river for the spectacle of the cranes coming to the river to roost.

Very early Sunday we may travel to the Taylor Ranch looking for Greater Prairie Chicken. Then a possible stop at Loess Bluffs NWR on the way home.

You may join us at any time Friday afternoon to Saturday morning. We will select a meeting site and time along I-80 for Friday afternoon.

This trip is very weather dependent. We will cancel in plenty of time to cancel reservations if necessary. You are on your own for lodging (We are staying at the Sleep Inn in the city of Grand Island), food, gas, etc. Be aware that this is also the weekend of the Crane Festival. We will need to carpool as much as possible as it will be difficult to keep track of too many cars in unfamiliar territory.

Bring the usual gear (Binoculars, scopes, radios, cameras, etc.) and be prepared for the possibility of cold weather. We have been there when it is in the 50s and also with a wind chill in the teens.

Your leader for this trip is Mark Land (markeland@kc.rr.com) 816-590-9814. If you have any questions please leave a message and he will contact you.

 

April 2019

 

Wednesday, April 3rd – Spring Morning Walk at KCP&L Wetlands

We will walk the approximately one-mile long trail and look for shorebirds, waterfowl, and early migrants.

Your leader for this trip is Malcolm Gold.  Meet at the west parking lot off of Waverly at 7 am. For more information, contact Malcolm at malcolmgold@gmail.com or 608-807-6086.

 

Wednesday, April 10th – Spring Morning Walk at location TBA

 

Wednesday, April 17th – Spring Morning Walk at location TBA

 

Wednesday, April 24th – Spring Morning Walk at location TBA

 

Sunday, April 28th – Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge joint with Midland Empire Audubon

Join us on this mostly driving trip along the Refuge’s 10-mile auto loop. We’ll stop and search for waterfowl, shorebirds, and early songbird migrants. Bring binoculars, scopes, FRS radios, snacks, drinks, as well as lunch. We will complete the auto loop before returning to the Welcome Center to each lunch at the picnic tables and for a restroom break. After lunch, the group may complete the loop again or focus on areas of the refuge that were missed in the morning.

Your leader for this trip is Mike Stoakes. For carpooling meet at 7:45 am at Platte City commuter lot or alternatively meet at the Loess Bluffs Welcome Center at 9 am. For more information, contact Mike at Mike at mstoakes@juno.com or 816-554-1956.

 

May 2019

 

Wednesday, May 1st – Spring Morning Walk at location TBA

 

Friday, May 3rd – Sunday, May 5thSpring ASM Meetings – Mountain View, Missouri

 

Thursday, May 9th – Jerry Smith Park Spring Migration Bird Census

Join us as we visit this restored prairie and city park to conduct a migratory bird census. We will walk the trails in search of migrating Warblers, Vireos, Flycatchers, Thrushes and whatever else is there. This census assists KC WildLands and their ongoing mission toward land stewardship around the Kansas City Metro region. Counting birds at this park counts toward volunteer hours for Master Naturalists.

Your leader for this trip is Sherry Leonardo. Meet at 7:30 am at the Jerry Smith Trailhead Parking lot at the top of the ridge. Dress for walking along the 1.25-mile-long trails. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages in addition to your binoculars. For more information, contact Sherry at home172@aol.com.

 

Friday, May 10th – Blue River Parkway Spring Migration Bird Census

Join us as we visit Blue River Parkway and Minor Park to conduct a spring migration bird census. We will walk the trails in search of migrating passerines such as warblers, flycatchers, vireos, and thrushes. In addition, we expect to find year-round residents that use this habitat. Last year the weather didn’t cooperate very well, but the bird diversity during this walk was impressive with the number of different warblers observed on the walk through this Kansas City park! This census assists KC WildLands as part of a grant and their ongoing mission toward land stewardship around the Kansas City Metro region. Counting birds at this park counts toward volunteer hours for Master Naturalists.

Your leader for this trip is Don Arney. Meet at 7:30 am at the Blue River Parkway Trailhead and Minor Park Tennis Courts parking lot. Dress for the weather and walking along the trails outside. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages in addition to your binoculars. For more information, contact Don at 816-931-8536 or 22sora@gmail.com.

 

Friday, May 10th – Sunday, May 12th – Spring KOS Meetings – Details to come – Likely around Fort Scott, Kansas

 

Saturday, May 11th – Bluffwoods Conservation Area joint with Midland Empire Audubon

Details for this trip will be added as they are finalized.

 

June 2019

 

Saturday, June 8th – Blue River Parkway Breeding Bird Census

Join us as we visit Blue River Parkway and Minor Park to conduct a breeding bird census. We will walk the trails in search of bird species that utilize this habitat during the breeding season to raise young and species that use this habitat year-round.  We expect to find vireos, woodpeckers, tanagers, warblers, flycatchers and more on this stroll through this Kansas City park. This census assists KC WildLands as part of a grant and their ongoing mission toward land stewardship around the Kansas City Metro region. Counting birds at this park counts toward volunteer hours for Master Naturalists. 

Your leader for this trip is Don Arney. Meet at 7:30 am at the Blue River Parkway Trailhead and Minor Park Tennis Courts parking lot. Dress for the weather and walking along the trails outside. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages in addition to your binoculars. For more information, contact Don at 816-931-8536 or 22sora@gmail.com.

 

Tuesday, June 11th – Jerry Smith Park Breeding Bird Census

Join us as we visit this restored prairie and city park to conduct a breeding bird census. We will walk the trails in search of birds that utilize the park only during the breeding season to raise young as well as species that utilize it year-round. We expect to find swallows, flycatchers, woodpeckers, sparrows and more during this walk. This census assists KC WildLands and their ongoing mission toward land stewardship around the Kansas City Metro region. Counting birds at this park counts toward volunteer hours for Master Naturalists.

Your leader for this trip is Sherry Leonardo. Meet at 7:00 am at the Jerry Smith Trailhead Parking lot at the top of the ridge. Dress for walking along the 1.25-mile-long trails. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages in addition to your binoculars. For more information, contact Sherry at home172@aol.com.

 

Saturday, June 15th through Tuesday, June 18th – Sax-Zim Bog and the Northwoods of Minnesota

We’ll look for summer residents birds and explore the ecological variety of the north woods on this trip. We hope to hear and see many nesting warbler species including Ovenbirds, Mourning, Golden-winged, Blackburnian, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, Canada and if we are fortunate Connecticut.  We expect to see and hear Yellow-bellied Flycatchers and Veerry and hope to find other northern specialties on this trip. This trip is spread out over four-days but the main part of this trip is all-day Sunday at Sax-Zim Bog with naturalist Clinton Nienhaus. Feel free to join us for all or part of the trip. Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging arrangements. There are many options around the area to stay but none close to all of the areas we plan to visit so driving each day is expected. You may want to change lodging locations during this trip depending on planned activities and timing of travel.

A more detailed itinerary of this trip will be worked out based on more recent sightings as well as the target species of people planning to attend. The trips will be intentionally split into smaller portions of the days to allow everyone to pick and choose from the prearranged times, target species, and activities planned.  A tentative schedule is as follows. Saturday, June 15th is likely a travel day for most people. Malcolm will already be in Minnesota visiting family and if you are arriving early we will likely pick a spot for an evening walk.  Sunday, June 16th is at Sax-Zim Bog with Clinton. Each person is expected to contribute $30 toward hiring him for the day. Clinton Nienhaus is a passionate naturalist and full of knowledge that he loves to share. We will have ample opportunity for butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, and plants as we walk and explore the bog looking for year-round residents and summer breeding birds. Monday, June 18th is a flexible date that could include a drive east toward Oberg Mountain in search of Black-throated Blue Warbler, visiting different Black Spruce and Tamarack bogs in search of Boreal Chickadees, a drive north toward Ely and the Superior National Forest for Black-backed Woodpecker, or in search of other targets in Aitkin, Itasca, St. Louis or Lake Counties. Monday evening after supper and into the night we plan to visit McGregor Marsh in search of nesting Nelson’s Sparrows as well as Yellow Rails.  Tuesday, June 19th is likely a travel day for most people but you are invited to return to the bog and for a dragonfly workshop.   Bring your binoculars, camera, and scope. Bring bug spray, suntan, and layers of clothes for the visit to the north woods Individuals of all skill levels are welcome to attend.

If you are planning to attend or have any questions, contact Malcolm Gold at 608-807-6086 or malcolmgold@gmail.com. If you have questions pertaining to what to expect at the bog and what is needed, contact Clinton Nienhaus at naturalist@saxzim.org.

 

October 2019 

Friday, October 11th through Sunday, October 13th – Cheyenne Bottoms, Quivira, and hopefully Sprague’s Pipits

We’ll predominantly be looking for southbound migrating birds as they stop-over at these two important wetlands and the areas surrounding Central Kansas. We expect to see a wide diversity of Shorebirds and Waterfowl, hope that Burrowing Owls have not left, hope to find some other western species, and are intentionally targeting Sprague’s Pipits with the help of Joseph Miller. This trip is spread out over three-days but the main part of this trip is all-day Saturday. Feel free to join us for all or just part of the trip. Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging arrangements around Great Bend, KS. There are many options around the area to stay, feel free to shop around but Malcolm has been very pleased with the rate and service at the Quality Inn. Rooms are available for individual reservations at the Quality Inn at the rate of $65.99 for 2 queen beds or $64 for 1 queen bed on either or both the 11th and 12th.  There is a 24-hour cancellation policy for any rooms at this rate with the Quality Inn which is pet-friendly, has a tiny pool, and offers breakfast in the morning. In addition, this hotel will be the meeting location for the half-day trip departures. For those who wish to carpool to Great Bend please contact Malcolm to find out who is going or coordinate with others on the Friends of Burroughs Audubon Society Facebook page.

A more detailed itinerary for the trip will be posted in the future so that you may pick and choose from the prearranged dates and times. The tentative schedule is as follows. Friday, October 11th early evening to Cheyenne Bottoms CB for shorebirds and waterfowl before listening for Owls. Saturday, October 12th, sunrise start at Quivira. Meeting Joseph Miller in Reno County to walk fields with hopes of flushing and observing Sprague’s Pipits.  Saturday afternoon and evening is yet to be determined, but it might include a search for Black-billed Magpies. A late evening supper social will be planned back in Great Bend to end the day. On Sunday, October 13th we will plan to start at Cheyenne Bottoms and end by noon. Bring your scope, camera, binoculars, bug spray, suntan, snacks and drinks for a weekend at these great locations. Individuals of all skill levels are welcome to attend. For more information, contact Malcolm Gold at 608-807-6086 or malcolmgold@gmail.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.

 

3/16/19 – Northbound migrants are starting to show up.  A few first of year birds (such as Barn Swallow, Turkey Vulture, and Eastern Phoebe) were observed among the 66 species seen in western Missouri during a beautiful and calm spring day.

3/15/19 – Nearly two dozen people gathered to watch the American Woodcocks peent and display at Jerry Smith Park in Jackson County Missouri. This display is a favorite for many long-time birders and was observed by eleven for the first time this night.

3/2/19 – Fourteen individuals searched areas around Clinton Lake and Perry Lake in Douglas and Jefferson Counties for waterfowl and gulls. The wind coming off the lake with cold temperatures made it a challenge to stay outside too long and a limited diversity of species was observed. Studying through different ages of Herring and Ring-billed Gulls is a wonderful learning opportunity though.   

2/9/19 – Twelve people, including four from BAS, joined Topeka Audubon Society (TAS) on a joint trip to Shawnee State Fishing Lake (SFL) and Banner Creek Lake/Wetlands. With the exception of a bit of open water at Banner Creek Lake in Holton, KS waterfowl numbers were low because of frozen water. A highlight of the trip was a nice dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk at Shawnee SFL. Many thanks to Debbie McKee and Mark Pheasant of TAS for hosting this trip for the second year-in-a-row. A Long-Tailed Duck was observed at Perry Lake on the way home.

2/2/19 – Following up on recent reports of winter gulls and waterfowl, a short-notice field trip was offered to Hillsdale Lake. The trip exceeded attendance expectations with 16 people and another handful joining the group for parts of the beautiful morning.  Waterfowl and gulls were numerous and the female Long-Tailed Duck that has been present for a couple of months was refound.

1/27/19 – Six individuals walked the trails at Jerry Smith Park and conducted the winter bird census for KC WildLands. Among the 27 species, a Sharp-shinned Hawk harassed a flyover Red-tailed hawk and the Eastern Bluebirds serenaded the group throughout the morning. 

1/26/19 – Five people walked the trails at Minor Park and conducted a winter bird census for KC WildLands. A Winter Wren and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker were nice cold-weather visitors from the north.

1/20/19 – Five people scanned Wyandotte County Lake for waterfowl and the surrounding woods and feeder station before part of the group volunteered at Eagle Days.  The number of all five expected geese species was amazing as was having both native Swan species.

1/01/19 – Four people spent a chilly New Years morning around Fleming Park pursuing the first birds of the new year. Highlights included a small flock of Common Mergansers and Cedar Waxwings, a nice look at a Swamp Sparrow after it flew across an arm of Blue Springs Lake to (apparently) have a look at us and a couple of Fox Sparrows at the BAS Library and Nature Center.

 

2018 Trip Reports and Year Totals

2017 Trip Reports and Year Totals

 

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.

Field trip coordinators Mike Stoakes and Malcolm Gold

(L to R) 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 Mike Stoakes and Malcolm Gold.