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.

 

Additional fall, winter, and spring field trips will be added to the website once they are finalized with trip leaders. We appreciate your excitement for upcoming field trips and ask for patience as we get the new ones planned.

 

February 2020

 

Saturday, February 8th – Shawnee SFL and Banner Creek joint with Topeka Audubon

Join us as we check the area around Shawnee State Fishing Lake for waterfowl, raptors, and wintering sparrows before heading north to Holton Kansas in Jackson County. We’ll stop at Burger King, but alternative fast food locations exist in town or you can bring a packed lunch. After lunch, we’ll check Banner Creek Lake which has a $3 daily Vehicle Entry Fee. Depending on timing of the morning portion of the trip, the return trip toward KC may stop at locations around Perry Lake. Feel free to join us for all or part of this all-day trip. Dress in layers for this trip that will include walking, scoping, and time in a vehicle driving. And remember it is always nice to chip in for gas if you are carpooling. 

Your trip leader is Debby McKee. Mike Stoakes is coordinating the morning caravan from KC. Meet at 6:45 am at Wendy’s north of K-10 on Woodland Drive in Lenexa for carpooling and to caravan north-west or meet on the east side, south end near the dam of Shawnee State Fishing Lake at 8:30. To arrange an alternative meeting point or for more information, contact Debby at grmasmurf@gmail.com or 785-220-6515 or Mike at mstoakes@juno.com or 816-283-6258.

 

Saturday, February 29th – 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. For more information, contact Mark at markeland@kc.rr.com or 816-590- 9814.

 

March 2020

 

Thursday, March 5th– American Woodcocks at Jerry Smith Park

Join us as we meet just before sunset in search of American Woodcock! Woodcocks generally display near the parking lot and along the trails of the prairie near the parking lot. The temperature tends to fall rapidly at dark, please dress for the weather and bring a flashlight as a short walk along the trail is possible.

Your leader of this trip is Sherry Leonardo. Meet at 6:00 pm at the Jerry Smith Trailhead Parking lot at the top of the ridge. Sherry gives a short presentation before we wait to observe the birds at dusk. For more information, contact Sherry at 816-718-5888 or home172@aol.com. In the case of poor weather, the rain date for this trip is Tuesday March 10th and meet at 7:00 pm which is an hour later due to daylight savings time going into effect between the dates.

 

April 2020

 

Saturday April 11th – Four Rivers Conservation Area

Join us as we visit this Audubon Missouri designated Important Bird Area in western Missouri. We will search diverse habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds, overwintering sparrows, early northbound passerines, and year-round residents. This trip is mostly spent in the car but wear hiking boots and appropriate clothing for short walks.

Your leader of this trip is Sherry Leonardo. Bring binoculars, scopes, insect repellent, FRS radios if you have them, snacks, drinks, and lunch for this all-day trip. Meet at 6:45 am at the McDonald’s on MO 58 just west of I-49/US 71 in Belton. For more information, contact Sherry at 816-718-5888 or home172@aol.com.

 

May 2020

 

Friday, May 1st – 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. 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 7:00 am at the Blue River Parkway Trailhead and Minor Park Tennis Courts parking lot. Dress for the weather and be prepared to walk a couple miles of trails. 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 1st through Sunday May 3rd – KOS Spring Meeting in Concordia, KS (Registration details will be linked here when they are available.) 

 

Friday, May 1st through Sunday May 3rd – MBS Spring Meeting in Cape Girardeau, MO (Registration details will be linked here when they are available.) 

 

Tuesday, May 5th – Tomahawk Creek Park

Join us as we walk the multi-use paved trails of Tomahawk Streamway in search of migrant warblers, thrushes, vireos, and all other feathered friends.

Your leader for this trip is Malcolm Gold. Meet at the parking lot of Tomahawk Creek Park on the south side of 119th Street between Roe and Mission at 6:30 am. For more information, contact Malcolm at malcolmgold@gmail.com or 608-807-6086.

 

Wednesday, May 6th – Hillsdale Lake 

Join us as we visit various locations around Hillsdale Lake in Miami County Kansas. Depending on water levels we will visit Brown Wetlands and Antioch Marsh for shorebirds or walk the trails and explore the surrounding woods at these locations for warblers, flycatchers, and thrushes. The trails are often not well kept and footwear your are comfortable wearing through mud and tall wet grass is advised. 

Your leader for this trip is Malcolm Gold. Meet at 6:00 am at the PetSmart Parking lot off I-35 and 119th to carpool. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages in addition to binoculars and scope. Plan on being back between noon and one. For more information, contact Malcolm at 608-807-6086 or malcolmgold@gmail.com.

 

Sunday, May 10th – Flint Hills Nature Trail

Join us as we visit the Flint Hills Nature Trail in Miami and Franklin County. We will walk approximately 4 miles of this multi-use rail-trail along the Marais des Cygnes River through mature hardwood forest and riparian habitat. We will be searching for migrating warblers, vireos, flycatchers, thrushes, and other species. We will drop off at least one vehicle near Rantoul and then drive east to another trail access point to start our walk. The dropped off cars will allow us to walk east to west along the trail with the sun at our back and not have to backtrack. The trail is generally in great condition, but wear footwear appropriate to mud and water if recent rains or flooding have occurred. 

Your leaders for this trip are Malcolm Gold and Dan Broers. Meet at 5:30 am at the PetSmart Parking lot off I-35 and 119th in Olathe or 6:00am at Casey’s in Wellsville to carpool. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages in addition to binoculars and plan for the walk and trip to last until late morning/early afternoon. For more information, contact Malcolm at 608-807-6086 or malcolmgold@gmail.com.

 

Tuesday, May 12th – 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 the year-round residents that use the habitat of 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 7:00 am at the Jerry Smith Trailhead Parking lot at the top of the ridge. Dress for walking along the 1.5 mile long trails. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages in addition to your binoculars. For more information, contact Sherry at 816-718-5888 or home172@aol.com.

 

Wednesday, May 13th – Rocky Point Glades & Swope Park Migration Bird Census

Join us as we visit this restored limestone glad and oak savanna to conduct a migratory bird census. We will walk the trails in search of migrating birds including warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and thrushes as well as year-round residents that use this Kansas City park habitat. 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 Steven Johnson. Meet at 7:00 am at the Lake Lodge. Dress for walking approximately 2 miles of dirt trails. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages in addition to your binoculars. For more information, contact Steven at stevenrjohnson89@gmail.com.

 

June 2020

 

Thursday, 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 this Kansas City park 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 816-718-5888 or home172@aol.com.

 

Saturday, June 13th – 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 be prepared to walk a couple miles of trails. 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.

 

Thursday, June 18th – Rocky Point Glades & Swope Park Breeding Bird Census

Join us as we visit this restored limestone glad and oak savanna to conduct a breeding bird census. We will walk the trails in search of birds that use this Kansas City park habitat during the breeding season to raise young as well as the year-round resident species. 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 Steven Johnson. Meet at 7:00 am at the Lake Lodge. Dress for walking approximately 2 miles of dirt trails. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages in addition to your binoculars. For more information, contact Steven at stevenrjohnson89@gmail.com.

 

October 2020

 

Friday, October 2nd through Sunday October 4th – KOS Fall Meeting (Registration details will be linked here when they are available.) 

 

 

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.

1/25/20 – Recent snow resulted in a beautiful 2.5 mile walk at the Overland Park Arboretum for nine individuals.  A Spotted Towhee and Purple Finch were at the feeder station and numerous Golden Crowned Kinglets were along the west trail.

1/19/20 – Cold temperatures caused the group of five birders to spend less time walking and scoping the lake than expected. Hermit Thursh, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and a variety of waterfowl were present around Wyandotte County Lake.

1/15/20 – Three volunteers joined Sherry Leonardo in this winter bird census of Jerry Smith Park. Highlights included a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Pileated Woodpecker, a couple of Fox Sparrows, and a Swamp Sparrow. These seasonal censuses assist KC WildLands in its ongoing mission to preserve habitat around the Kansas City Metro area, and participating with Burroughs counts as volunteer hours for both KS and MO Master Naturalists.

1/8/20 – Thirteen volunteers joined Steve Johnson in this winter season bird census of the Rocky Point Glades in Swope Park. Highlights included an adult Bald Eagle, a young Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and hundreds of American Robins (with a few Cedar Waxwings mixed in) feasting on abundant Hackberry tree fruit.

1/1/20 – Five birders joined in a New Years Day walk on a beautiful first day of 2020. Highlights included a number of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and a nice variety of waterfowl. Wonderful photos by J.C. Avena included with eBird list.

12/7/19 – Twenty-two people, including birders from Hays and Topeka, birded multiple locations in Lyon and Osage Counties in Kansas. Our target bird near Lyon State Fishing Lake (LSFL), Smith’s Longspur, proved elusive and few (two birds), but most folks were able to hear and see a bird in flight. Another highlight of LSFL was a cooperative Bewick’s Wren. On earlier reports of a Pacific Loon and White-winged Scoter at Pamona Lake, the group relocated and had great looks at the loon, but not the scoter. A busy guild of songbirds was located in the park below the Pamona Lake outlet, delighting all who witnessed the large mixed flock.

 

2019 Trip Reports and Year Totals

2019 Extended Trip Report from Sax-Zim Bog and MN Northwoods

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.