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

 

April 2018

 

Saturday April 21st – Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge

Join us on this mostly driving trip along the Refuge’s 10-mile auto loop. We’ll search for waterfowl, early shorebirds, and songbird migrants. Bring binoculars, scopes, FRS radios, and lunch or snacks and drinks.

Your leader for this trip is Malcolm Gold. For carpooling, meet at 6:15 am at PetSmart in Olathe, 7 am in the Platte City commuter lot, or at the Squaw Creek visitor center around 8:15 am. For more information, contact Malcolm at malcolmgold@gmail.com.

 

Tuesday, April 24th – Mornings with Mark at Shawnee Mission Park

Meet Mark Land at the parking lot near Shelter 7 at Shawnee Mission Park at 6:30 am. Bring scope to scan the lake if you like, but the scope will be left in the car for this walk. Bring your binoculars as you walk the trails searching for migrating passerines. This trip will last approximately two hours.

 

Thursday April 26th – Mornings with Malcolm at Tomahawk Creek Park

Meet Malcolm Gold at Tomahawk Creek Park parking lot south of 119th just west of Mission Road at 6:30 am. Bring binoculars as you walk the paved trails along Tomahawk Creek Trailway searching for migrating passerines. This trip will last approximately two hours.

 

Saturday April 28th – Neosho Wildlife Area

Join us as we explore the bird-rich and diverse habitat of Neosho Wildlife Area in southeastern Kansas. We will check the woods, riparian habitat, and wetlands for early migrants, lingering waterfowl, and shorebirds. This trip will be focused around the Wildlife Area and may include a moderate hike depending on location of shorebirds as well as scanning of the wetlands. Bring binoculars, scopes, and mud boots for this half-day trip.

Your leader for this trip is Andrew Burnett. Meet at the north edge of Neosho Wildlife Area, just south of 47 approximately a mile and half east of St. Paul Kansas. Early birds meet at 6:30am for migratory passerine dawn chorus. The early birds will return to the same meeting location at 8:30am to meet up with other participants. Contact Andrew at aburnett9180@gmail.com if you have any questions regarding this trip. Contact Malcolm Gold at malcolmgold@gmail.com if you are willing to navigate and lead the caravan leaving KC at 6:30 to meet Andrew at 8:30.

 

May 2018

 

Thursday May 3rd – Mornings with Malcolm at Shannon Valley Park

Meet Malcolm Gold at the parking lot south of College off of Grant at Shannon Valley Park (address is 11100 Grant Dr Overland Park) at 6:30 am. Bring binoculars as you walk the paved trails along Indian Creek Trailway and Corporate Woods searching for migrating passerines. This trip will last approximately two hours. 

 

May 4th – 6th – Spring 2018 ASM Meeting

 

May 4th – 6th – Spring 2018 KOS Meeting

 

Sunday May 6th – 1 pm to 4 pm – Smithville Lake with Mark McKellar

Hoping to continue the success of “Second Sundays” at Smithville last fall, Backyard Bird Center will visit a favorite large lake for spring water birding. Spring is a great time 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 this season.

The leader for this trip is Mark McKellar. Meet at the Jerry Litton Visitor Center at 1 p.m. Mark asks that you sign up for the specific trip, in case of cancelation, on the Backyard Bird Center calendar page.

 

Tuesday May 8th – Jerry Smith Park Spring Migration Bird Census

We will meet at 7:30 am at the Jerry Smith Trailhead Parking lot at the top of the ridge and search this largely undeveloped city park for migrating Warblers, Vireos, Flycatchers, Thrushes and whatever else is there. To get to the Parking lot drive east on 139th St from Holmes Avenue and go approximately 0.75 mile; take the 2nd left on Prospect Ave up the hill to the small gravel parking lot. The observations from this census assists KC Wildlands and are part of their ongoing monitoring and mission toward land stewardship around the Kansas City Metro region. Dress for the weather and walking along the trails outside, feel free to bring snacks and beverages. Moderate walking along a mile and half trail should be expected for this trip.

The leader of this trip is Sherry Leonardo. For more information, contact Sherry at home172@aol.com.

 

Tuesday May 8th – Mornings with Mark at Antioch Park

Meet Mark Land at the south parking lot near the tennis courts of Antioch Park at 6:30 am. Bring your binoculars as you walk the trails searching for migrating passerines. This trip will last approximately two hours.

 

Thursday May 10th – Hillsdale Lake

We will meet at 7:00 am at the Hillsdale Lake Corp of Engineers visitor center at the south-east side of the lake. Bring scope and binoculars as you walk the dirt Hidden Springs Trail searching for migrating Warblers, Vireos, Flycatchers, Thrushes and whatever else is there and then drive up to Antioch Marsh to walk the trails for the same species and scope for shorebirds. This is a half-day trip and will finish around lunch. 

The leader for this trip is Malcolm Gold. Malcolm will be going out in the early morning in search of nightjars, contact him directly if you would like to meet for this pre-trip search. For more information, contact Malcolm at (608) 807-6086 and leave a message or at malcolmgold@gmail.com.   

 

Friday May 11th – Blue River Parkway Spring Migration Bird Census

We will meet at 7:30 am at the Blue River Parkway Trailhead and Minor Park Tennis Courts parking lot and search the area for migrating species. We will spend the morning walking the trails looking for Warblers, Vireos, Flycatchers, Thrushes and whatever else is there. Dress for the weather and walking outside, feel free to bring snacks and beverages.

The leader of this trip is Don Arney. For more information, contact Don at 816-931-8536 or 22sora@gmail.com.

 

Saturday May 12th – Fort Leavenworth

Join us for an all-day birding trip to the exceptional forest habitats offered at historic Fort Leavenworth, KS. We’ll start the day with a visit to the upland oak-hickory forests where there are a number of secluded walking trails and gravel roads, break for lunch, and then proceed to the bottomland forest areas along the Missouri River. On this trip some of the area is easily viewed from the gravel road along the dike surrounding the airport, but a full appreciation of this truly unique forest area is obtained by a moderate hike into the old woods. Target species will be what is remaining of the spring migrants, plus the number of breeding species that occur. We’ll be looking for warblers and vireos, but also looking and listening for flycatchers and wrens. Both Summer and Scarlet Tanagers occur, as well as Towhees, Cuckoos, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and others. There will be some moderate hiking. Insect repellent is strongly advised, especially in the Bottoms.

We will meet at the Fort Leavenworth Visitor’s Center Parking Lot: 8 Sherman Ave, Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027. This is 1/4 mile west of the K-92 bridge over the Missouri River, north side of the road at 4th & Metropolitan Streets in Leavenworth. We will be carpooling and leaving the parking lot at 6:30 a.m. Please bring food and drink for lunch, we will have a picnic lunch on the Fort grounds. To gain access to the Fort, it is very important that everyone pre-register with Nancy Leo by April 25, 2018. (See below for instructions!) 

Your leaders for this trip are Nancy Leo and Dave Williams. Due to the tight security screening requirement for visitors, it is very important to pre-register with Nancy by Wednesday, April 25 if you wish to participate. Call 913-205-8847, and leave a message with the following information: (1) Your name, (2) date of birth, (3) driver’s license or ID number and issuing state, (4) Social Security Number, (5) have you had a Fort Leavenworth pass previously, and (6) your phone number in case Nancy need’s to call you back and get more information. If you prefer, you can send the same information to Nancy at ksleonj@gmail.com.

In addition, on the day of the event you must present a photo ID. A Kansas or Missouri driver’s license, passport or passport card, or can contact the Visitor Center directly to determine whether your ID meets the requirements. Missouri is currently working under an extension for Real ID enforcement which allows Federal agencies to accept Driver’s Licenses and ID cards from Missouri at federal facilities until October 10, 2018. Missouri Driver’s Licenses are currently accepted, supplemental information is not required.

 

Tuesday May 15th – Mornings with Mark at Blackhoof Park

Meet Mark Land at the north parking lot near Blackhoof Park – Oak Shelter at 6:30 am. Bring your binoculars as you walk the trails searching for migrating passerines. This trip will last approximately two hours.

 

Thursday May 17th – Mornings with Malcolm at Tomahawk Creek Park

Meet Malcolm Gold at Tomahawk Creek Park parking lot south of 119th just west of Mission Road at 6:30 am. Bring binoculars as you walk the paved trails along Tomahawk Creek Trailway searching for migrating passerines. This trip will last approximately two hours

 

Tuesday May 22nd – Mornings with Mark

Location to be determined at a later date.  This trip will last approximately two hours.

 

June 2018

 

Sunday June 3rd – Dunn Ranch and Pawnee Prairie Natural Area

Join us as we search for species such as Upland Sandpiper, Black-billed Cuckoo, Sedge Wren, Henslow’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, and Bobolinks. Meet at 6:00 a.m. in the Liberty commuter lot at I-35 and U.S. 69 Hwy. (Excelsior Springs exit) for carpooling. This will be an all-day trip with moderate walking. Bring insect repellent, lunch, snacks, and beverages. Also, bring FRS radios, if you have them.

The leaders for this trip are Mark McKellar and Ruth Simmons. Contact Mike Stoakes for more information (mstoakes@juno.com or 816-554-1956).

 

Saturday June 9th – Blue River Parkway Breeding Bird Census

We will meet at 7:30 am at the Blue River Parkway Trailhead and Minor Park Tennis Courts parking lot and search the Blue River looking for summer residents that breed in Jackson County. We will spend the morning walking the trails searching for Vireos, Woodpeckers, Tanagers and whatever else is there. Dress for the weather and walking along the trails outside. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages.

The leader of this trip is Don Arney. For more information, contact Don at 816-931-8536 or 22sora@gmail.com.

 

Tuesday June 12th – Jerry Smith Park Breeding Bird Census

We will meet at 7:30 am at the Jerry Smith Trailhead Parking lot at the top of the ridge and search this largely undeveloped city park for summer residents that breed around Jackson County. To get to the Parking lot drive east on 139th St from Holmes Avenue and go approximately 0.75 mile; take the 2nd left on Prospect Ave up the hill to the small gravel parking lot. The observations from this census assists KC Wildlands and are part of their ongoing monitoring and mission toward land stewardship around the Kansas City Metro region. Dress for the weather and walking along the trails outside, feel free to bring snacks and beverages. Moderate walking along a mile and half trail should be expected for this trip.

The leader of this trip is Sherry Leonardo. For more information, contact Sherry at home172@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.

 

4/17/2018 – A cold morning walk at KCP&L Wetlands in Gardner yielded 37 species for the seven participants. If the habitat remains as nice as it is now we expect a good variety of shorebirds to show up here, but future morning walks this year will be at various other locations.  A Yellow-headed Blackbird and variety of shorebirds highlighted this trip.

4/15/2018 – A group of four hardy souls drove through snow to arrive at Four Rivers Conservation Area and occasionally left the warmth cars to scan the amazing habitat with scopes. A Peregrine Falcon hunting the flats at the headquarters, numerous shorebirds at Presidents Marsh, and a surprise Long-tailed Duck highlighted the 72 species trip.

3/17/2018 – Nine people gathered for a windy and overcast St. Patrick’s Day field trip through the Osage Plains of Cass and Henry Counties in western MO. Migratory waterfowl were well represented in nearly all areas visited, but the highlights of day involved perusing grassy areas of recent managed and unplanned burns. Many birds are attracted to such landscapes by the killed invertebrates, small vertebrates, and seeds that are readily accessible in the immediate aftermath of a fire. Species observed utilizing burned areas on Saturday included Killdeer, Northern Flicker, Horned Lark, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, American Pipit, American Tree Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, Harris’s Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Brown-headed Cowbird, and Rusty Blackbird.

3/9/2018 – 16 people gathered at Prairie Center in Olathe to view American Woodcocks. For six high school students and three others this was the first time seeing that species!

3/7/2018 – On a cool but relatively calm night 9 individuals enjoyed the calling, flight displays, and observations of American Woodcocks and Jerry Smith Park.

2/24/2018 – Overcast skies, a light drizzle, and fog were made it challenging to find gulls at Clinton Lake. A group of 14 people were unable to relocate the juvenile Black-Legged Kittiwake that has been around but did find a pair of Glaucous Gulls and a White-Winged Scoter among the almost 60 species.

2/17/2018 – Nineteen people enjoyed this joint trip to Shawnee State Fishing Lake and Banner Creek, areas. Rough-Legged Hawks, waterfowl, and sparrows were found across many locations.

1/23/2018 – Three participants conducted a winter survey of Jerry Smith park and found 24 species during a couple hour walk.  A beautiful photo of an overwintering Hermit Thrush is included in this checklist.

1/21/2018 – Fifteen people spent the morning scoping Wyandotte County lake and walking a few trails finding over 40 species and a nice diversity of waterfowl.

1/20/2018 On icy and muddy trails, six folks joining the Blue River Parkway Winter Bird Census found 31 species along a 1.6-mile stretch of the Blue River corridor, including Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Winter Wren, and Hermit Thrush.

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.