Field Trips

  LIMITED TRIPS with MASKS, DISTANCING, AND/OR NO CARPOOLING EXPECTATIONS AS NOTED

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 trips if the weather is a concern. The website will contain the most up-to-date information. Additional field trips will be added to the website once they are finalized with trip leaders. We appreciate your excitement for upcoming field trips and appreciate that you check this website for more information as fall and winter trips are added.

 

December

Saturday, December 3rd – 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, Long-eared Owl and Short-eared Owls. Bring food, beverages, and FRS radios for this all-day trip. If interested, some participants traditionally 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.

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

 

  LIMITED TRIPS with MASKS, DISTANCING, AND/OR NO CARPOOLING EXPECTATIONS AS NOTED

 

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.

11/26/22 – Twenty-one birders explored the pools and moist soil grassy areas around the Loess Bluffs NWR automobile tour route on Saturday. Standing water was unfrozen because of the week’s warmer overnight temps. In addition to waterfowl, highlights included great looks at several raptors including Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Rough-legged Hawk, Short-eared Owl, and a very cooperative Taiga race Merlin. 

11/5/22 – A handful of individuals spent the day scoping water in Miami and Linn Counties. After waiting for snow and rain to subside and the morning fog to lift over Hillsdale, the group found many waterfowl had arrived with the cold front and ended with nearly 90 species for the day.

10/29/22 – Twelve birders enjoyed a beautiful fall day of birding with David Easterla. Waterfowl were few, as mild weather in and few cold fronts from the upper Midwest have yet to deliver many birds to our latitude. Highlights included two active Osprey, a Common Loon and a Forster’s Tern at Mozingo Lake, a pair of Dunlin at the Maryville Sewage Lagoons, and a tree full of Harris’s and White-crowned Sparrows at Bilby Ranch Lake Conservation Area. 

10/15/22 – Sixteen individuals gathered below the dam at Clinton Lake amid a calm chilly morning. Fifty five species included looks at Nelson’s Sparrows and a single flighty Sprague’s Pipit as lifers for many in the group. 

10/14/22 – Winds were a challenge, but the fall bird census at Jerry Smith Park included 47 species including an amazing amount of Eastern Bluebirds over the recently burned prairie.

10/13/22 – Due to water conditions, a group of eleven gathered at Blue Springs Wetlands rather than Cooley Lake. Just over 50 species were observed in the morning with a decent number of migrating hawks keeping out eyes to the skies when winds made it tough to get sparrows out in the open.

9/21/22 – Very few migrants were observed among the roughly 30 species on this morning walk at Tomahawk Park, but a calm morning enjoying nature with friends is still a great start of the day. 

9/11/22 – The group found a few southbound migrants along Tomahawk Creek Trailway and enjoyed the cool fall morning together. 

6/15/22 – Nine individuals surveyed Jerry Smith for a breeding bird census and found 153 individual birds present across 32 species.

6/11/22 – Five individuals completed the Blue River breeding bird census. Forty four species and nearly two hundred birds were observed over a couple hours and four mile hike.

5/18/22 – A half dozen individuals walked the rain soaked trails at Black Hoof Park and observed nearly 50 species.  A cooperative female Magnolia Warbler was a fun sighting among those species.

5/13/22 – Between the group that started at 6:30, those that came and went as we waited out the rain, and those that arrived at 8:30 with the weather delay there were thirteen individuals that met at Antioch Park as a cold front came through and dropped the temperature and rain.  49 species were observed with most passerines in one mixed flock.

5/12/22 – A dozen individuals gathered to complete the spring census at Minor Park and tallied 50 species.

5/11/22 – Nine individuals walked the trails of Mill Creek Streamway at Midland Access and had seventeen warbler species with a mixture of migrants and breeding species on territory.

5/10/22 – Ten birders, including one from Minnesota and one from Belize, helped conduct the annual spring census at Jerry Smith Park and tallied 64 species. This is the highest count for any census done at the park. Highlights were Mississippi Kite, Blue-headed Vireo, Alder and Olive-sided Flycatchers and 2 Canada Warblers- the latter clearly heard by all, but not seen.

5/6/22 – Ten individuals walked the trails at Burr Oak Woods and found over 50 species that included a dozen warbler species. 

5/5/22 – A half dozen individuals birded the Blue Springs wetlands this morning. 66 species were seen and/or heard. The bird of the day everyone agreed were watching the Wilson’s Phalaropes putting on a show for us at a close distance.

5/4/22 – A small group of people walked around the trails at KCPL Wetlands in Gardner. A few shorebirds, ducks, swallows and other migrants were around which included a handful of Marsh Wrens. 

4/27/22 – A large group gathered to search for birds at Black hoof Park and Lake Lenexa. Over sixty species were observed, including a variety of wintering birds, migrants, and summer residents.

4/23/22 – A large group walked the paved trails of Tomahawk Park in Leawood enjoying many first of year northbound migrants.  A good variety of warblers and vireos were mixed in among the many White-throated Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Yellow-rumped Warblers. 

4/20/22 – A half dozen individuals met at Cedar Lake to scan the lake and nearby trees for early passerines. A small flock of Cattle Egrets and Bonaparte’s Gulls were among the species observed before the group went to New Century Fieldhouse to scan a pond of shorebirds. Over 50 species were observed this morning. 

4/16/22 – A dozen individuals walked the paved trail along Wilderness Wetlands on a windy cold April morning but enjoyed 50 species including a large flock of Cedar Waxwings right next to the trail and a dark morph Broad-winged Hawk that briefly perched in the trees long enough to get a scope on it. 

4/15/22 – Eleven individuals along the dam on the north end of Blue Springs lake to look through the waterfowl and gulls before walking the wetlands on the north side of the dam. Sixty-seven species were observed on the two walks including both eared and horned grebes. 

3/8/22 – Twelve people attended the walk. They were first entertained by a Barred Owl hunting in a tree line. Near dusk they enjoyed a rare treat when a woodcock landed nearby in enough light for great looks. Several woodcocks were observed in flight and then seen on the ground.

3/5/22 – Nine individuals conducted the winter survey at Minor Park and found a wonderful mix or winter visitors and year-round residents. Winter Wrens, Juncos, a plethora of woodpeckers and a Bald Eagle with nesting material were all among the species observed on this walk.

3/3/22 – Twenty-six people gathered this evening to share in the Timberdoodles dance and display at Jerry Smith Park.  They peented and landed in the trail for the group. 

2/26/22 – Sixteen individuals scoped Hillsdale Lake and La Cygnes lake on a relatively calm but cool day. Gulls at Hillsdale, a Red-throated Loon at La Cygnes Lake, and waterfowl in the energy discharge pond highlighted this trip.

1/28/22 – Eleven hearty souls braved single-digit wind chills (despite my best efforts to avoid them) to conduct the 10th annual winter bird census at Jerry Smith Park. We tallied 28 species, which is the 2nd highest winter count to 29 in 2015. Highlights included Pileated Woodpecker, Barred Owl, Red-breasted Nuthatches and Purple Finches.

1/16/22 – A handful of individuals enjoyed the calm morning with recent snow to see roughly 50 species of birds among the lake and flocked trees. Having American White Pelicans on Wyandotte County Lake is not a regular occurrence and they mixed in with a large group of other waterfowl and swans. 

 

Trip Reports and Year Totals – 2021, 202020192018, 2017, and 2019 Trip to Sax-Zim Bog and MN Northwoods

 

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.