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

 

December 2018

 

Saturday, December 8th – Lyon, Coffey, and Osage Counties

This trip consists of birding by car with stops around Melvern Reservoir, a short bit of walking around Lyon County State Fishing Lake, and stops around 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. Individuals of all skill levels are welcome to attend.

Your leader for this trip is Matt Gearheart. Meet at 7 am in the parking lot in front of PetSmart near I-35 and 119th in Overland Park to carpool and caravan for this all-day trip. For more information, contact Matt at gearheart.matt@gmail.com or 913-568-4678.

 

December 14th through January 5thChristmas Bird Counts!

Please contact the compilers for all details pertaining to the individual events.  Local CBCs are listed below but you may also want to consider other more distant Kansas CBCsMissouri CBCs, or across the Americas.

 

Saturday, December 15th – Trimble – contact Kristi Mayo at writebirds@gmail.com.

Saturday, December 15th – Lawrence – contact Galen Pittman at galenpitt@gmail.com or 785-760-3572.

Sunday, December 16th – Bonner Springs – contact John Bollin at bollinj@umkc.edu or 816.289.5554.

Monday, December 17th – Baldwin City – contact Roger Boyd at roger.boyd@bakeru.edu or 785.424.0595.

Friday, December 21st – Linn County – contact Roger Boyd at roger.boyd@bakeru.edu or 785.424.0595.

Saturday, December 29th – Olathe – contact Jeff Witter at bioguy.witters@gmail.com or 785.840.4484.

Sunday, December 30th – Kansas City/Unity Village – contact Mike Stoakes at mstoakes@juno.com or 816-554-1956.

Saturday, January 5th – Benedictine Bottoms – contact John Bollin at bollinj@umkc.edu or 816.289.5554.

 

January 2019

 

Tuesday, January 1st – Fleming Park/Lakes Jacomo and Blue Springs with Mike and Elizabeth Stoakes – Details will be added soon

 

Wednesday, January 23rd – Jerry Smith Park Winter Bird Census

Join us as we visit this restored prairie and city park to conduct a winter bird census. We will walk the trails in search of winter residents that might include both species of Kinglets, the diverse family of Sparrows, Brown Creepers, Hermit Thrushes and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. In addition, we expect to find year-round residents that use this habitat at this Kansas City park. 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 8:00 am at the Jerry Smith Trailhead Parking lot at the top of the ridge . Dress for the weather and walking along the trails outside. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages in addition to your binoculars and warm clothes. For more information, contact Sherry at home172@aol.com.

 

Saturday, January 26th – Blue River Parkway Winter Bird Census

Join us as we visit Blue River Parkway and Minor Park to conduct a winter bird census. We will walk the trails in search of winter residents that might include both species of Kinglets, the diverse family of Sparrows, Brown Creepers, Hermit Thrushes and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. In addition, we expect to find year-round residents that use this habitat at 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 8:00 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 and warm clothes. For more information, contact Don at 816-931-8536 or 22sora@gmail.com.

 

 

February 2019

 

Saturday, February 9th – Shawnee SFL and Banner Creek joint with Topeka Audubon – Details will be added soon

 

Saturday, February 23rd – Clinton Reservoir and Perry Lake

Join us as we scan Clinton Reservoir and Perry Lake for waterfowl, gulls, and raptors and check other locations for sparrows, shrikes, finches, and whatever else is around. Bring all the usual items, including binoculars, scopes, FRS radios, drinks, snacks, cold weather gear (lakes are always windy places and it’s still February). We will bird Clinton in the morning, then stop for lunch at a local venue(usually Jason’s Deli). We will continue to Perry for an afternoon of birding. There is a $5 daily Vehicle Entry Fee for Clinton State Park if you don’t have a pass. And remember it is always nice to chip in for gas if you are carpooling. This is an all day trip but you’re welcome to participate as long as you like.

Your leader for this trip is Mark Land. Meet at 7:30 am at Wendy’s north of K-10 on Woodland Drive for carpooling and to caravan west. If coming from other areas, we will meet at the Corp of Engineers office at the Clinton State Park entrance shortly after 8 am. In case of cancellation, the backup date is Saturday, March 2nd and the cancellation notice will be posted here on the Burroughs Website and Friends of Burroughs Audubon Facebook Page. For more information, contact Mark at markeland@kc.rr.com or 816-590- 9814.

 

May 2019

 

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

 

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 Linn County, Kansas

 

June 2019

 

Saturday, June 15th – 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

 

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.

 

12/1/2018 – Overcast conditions with rain shortened this trip to a few hours with few birds. A dozen individuals from Topeka and the Kansas City area scanned the Water Treatment Ponds surprisingly absent of gulls and had a short walk before rain began at Kill Creek Park.

11/24/2018 – Twenty people enjoyed the views and sounds of large flocks of Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swans at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge through a leisurely drive around the auto-loop with many stops. 

11/17/2018 – Twenty-five individuals spent most of the day together in Miami and Linn County Kansas searching for waterfowl and scoping the ponds and lakes. Over 80 species were seen throughout the day, with nearly 65 in both counties. Highlights included the cooperative Bonaparte’s Gulls that approached close to the group due to chumming, a very inquisitive Red-Breasted Nuthatch, an American Black Duck x Mallard Hybrid, and a Rough-legged Hawk.  

11/03/2018 – In a joint trip with Midland Empire Audubon Society and Grand River Audubon Society, sixteen individuals scanned Smithville Lake from multiple vantage points. A Pacific Loon that was seen the day before and then again the day after, seem to tease the group with a distant appearance only to elude them in the end.

10/27/2018 – Eighteen individuals enjoyed a calm morning at the Model Airport Field below Clinton Reservoir.  LeConte’s and Nelson’s Sparrows were life birds for a handful of the group and a couple of LeConte’s sat close to the group as photography models. Franklin’s Gulls were still quite numerous at Clinton Reservoir and a single California Gull and Red-breasted Nuthatch were pleasant surprises.

10/20/2018 – An overnight weekend trip to Hitcock Nature Area in Iowa offered individuals the chance to see hawk banding up close and experience a hawk watch tower. Northern Saw-whet Owls were a species of interest that are usually seen during nocturnal banding on this trip but the Owls had not arrived at this location yet. Sunday morning the group was treated to views of a Red-necked Grebe and Western Grebe at Lake Manawa.

10//17/2018 – Six birders conducted the Jerry Smith Park fall bird census. Bluebirds, robins, sparrows, and finches were well represented with hundreds of individuals observed feeding on the natural abundance of small insects, fruit and grass and aster seeds. The survey wrapped up with a little group of Ruby-crowned Kinglets in the trees near the parking lot.

10/13/2018 – A nice sized group experienced the mass migration of Franklin’s Gulls at Hillsdale Reservoir and enjoyed a leisurely walk around Brown Wetlands. The 70+ species included a nice mixture of sparrows, warblers, nuthatches, waterfowl, gulls, and raptors. 

9/20/2018 – Fifteen individuals enjoyed first light over a calm Longview Lake and enjoyed views of Caspian Terns and both expected Accipters among 30+ species.

9/8/2018 – Eight individuals dodged morning showers in a fall morning walk at Prairie Center in Olathe. Forty species were observed including an early fall Merlin. The laid-back morning walk included discussions on plants and other regional native topics. 

8/24 through 8/26 – Thirty-five individuals from Kansas and Missouri enjoyed birds at Cheyenne Bottoms, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, and the Larned area in central Kansas. Over a hundred species were observed and the owls and hummingbirds were life views for many in the group.

7/14/2018 – A dozen individuals participated in the first annual Grandview NABA Butterfly count. The group ended up with 38 different butterfly species between Jerry Smith Park and Meadowmere Park. In addition to the amazing count of butterflies, the group observed over 30 different species of summer breeding resident bird species.

6/12/2018 – Six individuals conducted a summer breeding bird census at Jerry Smith Park. Indigo Buntings, Dickcissels, American Goldfinches, and Field Sparrows were numerous!

6/9/2018 – Seven birders walked the trails along the Blue River near Minor Park and found 38 species on a humid but sunny and windless morning. The highlight was a fair number and variety of warblers.

6/3/2018 – Twenty-four people enjoyed the unique tall-grass prairie at Dunn Ranch and Pawnee Prairie Natural Areas. Bobolinks, Upland Sandpipers and other prairie species highlighted a trip which included a Henslow’s Sparrow and a Greater Prairie Chicken.

5/22/2018 – A short walk around KCP&L Wetlands yielded three different types of flycatchers for the 8 participants among the 50 species. Overall there was a low diversity of shorebirds but the group had excellent views of Bell’s Vireos.

5/18/2018 – A leisurely walk below the dam at Shawnee Mission Park and stop near the Boy Scout Camp 1 yielded a few species and Chuck-will’s-widows for the 22 participants. The group was unsuccessful in hearing Eastern Whip-poor-wills at Blackhoof Park. 

5/17/2018 – A large group commandeered the multi-use trail at Tomahawk Park to enjoy both breeding birds and migrants. Blackburnian Warblers and a nest-building Ruby-throated Hummingbird were the highlights from this morning walk.

5/15/2018 – Ten individuals walked the paved trails of Blackhoof Park and enjoyed 75 species. Many warblers were heard but few were seen well. An Olive-sided Flycatcher provided nice views for everyone.

5/12/2018 – Nineteen individuals surveyed Fort Leavenworth. A total of 94 species, including 14 Warblers, and a wonderful mixture of migrant and summer residents of grassland, riparian, and hardwood forest floodplain were observed. This is a unique habitat and the sheer number of American Redstarts and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks observed on the lowlands makes this a trip everyone should experience. 

5/11/2018 – Three participants enjoyed a variety of waders, waterfowl, raptors, and passerines on the Blue River Parkway Spring Migration Census. Highlights included a flyover by a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, two Green Herons flying together, and a Broad-winged Hawk. A male Wood Duck perching in a large Sycamore tree, a number of first-of-season Yellow-billed Cuckoos and 14 different warbler species were observed! Join us again at this site on Saturday, June 9 for the Breeding Bird Census.

5/10/2018 – A group of five people observed 99 species around Hillsdale Lake. A singing Pine Warbler was observed by one person who arrived a bit early while others were out listening to Chuck-will’s-widows.

5/8/2018 – Fifty-three species of migrants and resident songbirds were observed by 10 individuals at Antioch Park.

5/8/2018 – Forty-seven species of mostly migrant and resident songbirds were observed by 5 individuals on the Jerry Smith Park Spring Migration Census. Good looks (and vocalizations) at Least Flycatcher and House Wren. Join us again at this site on Tuesday, June 12 for the Breeding Bird Census.

5/3/2018 – Approximately 50 species of diverse migrant Warblers, Vireos, lingering sparrows and summer residents were observed by 11 individuals at Shannon Valley Park in Overland Park. 

4/28/2018 – Twelve individuals searched Neosho Wildlife Area and found 98 different species!  Included in the species included a Neotropic Cormorant and many shorebirds.

4/26/2018 – Eight individuals enjoyed the calm, but brisk, morning at Tomahawk Park. Only a handful of migrant passerines were found among the 38 species.

4/24/2018 – Five individuals enjoyed a nice hike around Shawnee Mission Park, finding a male Lesser Goldfinch among 45 other species!

4/21/2018 – Twelve individuals the autoloop at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge and ended with 95 species for the day.  A Piping Plover among many shorebirds, a hybrid Cinnamon Teal among the waterfowl, sparrows, and a Broad-Winged Hawk to start the day were the highlights.

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.