We hope that you enjoyed one or more of the many Burrough’s Field Trips and look forward to seeing you on one of the upcoming trips. Field trips include a diverse selection of locations from city parks, state parks, important bird and biodiversity areas, conservation areas, wildlife management areas, and national wildlife refuges. During the 2019 Calendar year, the Burrough’s Field Trips saw many individuals experience new “life” birds, offered exceptional views of rare and tough to see birds, and time with other nature-loving individuals.
Burroughs Field Trips collectively observed 253 species and over 550 thousand individual birds in 2019! Within this total 208 species were observed in Kansas, 183 species were observed in Missouri, and 108 species were observed in Minnesota.
There were 38 trips offered in 2019! These trips included three overnight multiple-day trips to Kearney Nebraska, central Kansas, and northern Minnesota. In addition, there were seven all-day trips and twenty-eight partial day trips. The partial day trips included twenty-five trips in the morning that ranged as short as an hour or last until noon and three trips that started at dusk and went into the night.
Total attendance of all field trips, including the leaders, tallied 486 people! Many individuals are double or triple counted, as each time a person attended a single trip they added one to this total. Amazingly, the trips had fourteen different volunteer trip leaders!! A huge thank-you to all that helped with these trips! Five volunteers led 3 or more trips each, two individuals led trips for Burroughs for the first time, and two individuals from neighboring Audubon chapters led trips as we visited more distant areas. This is job well done and a huge thank-you to all that assist with making these opportunities available for everyone.
Brief reports from past Field Trips
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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.
11/30/19 – Eighteen birders joined this traditional after-Thanksgiving trip to Loess Bluffs NWR. Early morning fog lifted as the winds picked up, and a sunny day made for good looks and great light for photos. Highlights included watching a Pied-billed Grebe trying to swallow a frog (the frog escaped), a nice variety of ducks, and numerous Bald Eagles and Trumpeter Swans. On Mallard Marsh, the sight of three species of swans (Tundra, Trumpeter, and Mute) in close proximity to one another made for a memorable tableau rarely seen in this part of the country. Several nice photos in the link above.
11/9/19 – Eighteen birders visited Lake Quivira in Johnson and Wyandotte Counties. The lake contained a Long-tailed Duck, several mergansers and duck species, a couple of Common Loons, and a few expected Gulls. A walk around the trails was rewarded with good looks at several sparrow and woodpecker species among the 49 total species.
10/19/19 – Twenty-five individuals walked through the tall grasses of the Clinton Lake Model Airplane field for sparrows. LeConte’s and Nelson’s Sparrows were numerous and showed well for almost everyone. A few ducks, loons, and many gulls were found on Clinton Lake late morning before the group dispersed.
10/16/19 – Fourteen birders showed up on a chilly, overcast morning to conduct the fall Jerry Smith Park census for KC Wildlands. Several LeConte’s Sparrows topped the list of 35 species tallied. Other sparrows seen were Song, Swamp, White-crowned, White-throated, Chipping and Field. Raptors included Cooper’s, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks.
10/11/19 –10/13/19 – Twenty-one birders visited central Kansas with a visit to Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area Friday night, a visit to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge Saturday, a visit to a private field (with permission) on Saturday, and back to Cheyenne Bottoms on Sunday morning. Highlights include 5 Sabine’s gulls across Saturday and Sunday, a King Rail on Saturday, Sprague’s Pipits on Saturday, a Rock Wren Friday, and a Clark’s Grebe on Sunday. The group observed 109 species across the 3 days.
9/21/19 – Seven birders visited woodlands and Blackwater River watershed wetlands on a relatively subdued (few migrants) but rain-free day of birding in Johnson and Pettis Counties in western Missouri. Highlights included at least one Red-shouldered Hawk at each stop, Pileated Woodpecker, abundant Red-headed Woodpeckers, and Sandhill Cranes.
9/15/19 – A calm fall morning walk around Roe Park resulted in a few southbound migrants such as Swainson’s Thrush, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Wilson’s Warbler. A highlight was the adult Red-shouldered Hawk that sat in the open while being harassed by four Blue Jays.
9/5/19 – Eight birders enjoyed walking part of Lake Vista Trail in Fleming Park on a beautiful September morning. Highlights include Yellow-bill Cuckoo, Swainson’s Thrush, Yellow-bellied and Least Flycatchers and a nice warbler list of Northern Parula, American Redstart and Prothonotary, Wilson’s, Blackburnian and Chestnut-sided Warblers.
6/15/19 – 6/18/19 – Sax-Zim Bog and MN Northwood Trip Report
6/11/19 – Nine birders joined Sherry Leonardo on the Jerry Smith Park breeding bird census. Highlights on this beautiful, low-humidity morning included nice looks at a family of Pileated Woodpeckers and being teased by one or more singing Henslows Sparrows which remained hidden from view.
6/8/19 – Twelve people participated in the Blue River Parkway breeding bird census with Don Arney. A muddy-in-places trail and a high water crossing made hiking conditions somewhat challenging, but highlights included good looks at a young Barred Owl and a pair of Louisiana Waterthrushes.
6/2/19 – Twenty participants enjoyed beautiful weather and scenery at Dunn Ranch and Pawnee Prairie Natural Area. Bird highlights included Upland Sandpiper, Black-billed Cuckoo, Red-headed Woodpecker, Sedge Wren, Loggerhead Shrike, Grasshopper Sparrow, and many Dickcissels and Bobolinks. We even found a nesting Killdeer and Willow Flycatcher.
5/16/19 – An early morning walk at Antioch Park found a few migrants including Wilson’s, Nashville, and Tennesee Warblers as well as a Blue-headed Vireo.
5/15/19 – Twenty individuals walked the Mill Creek Streamway near Nelson Island and then checked flooded fields in Shawnee. A dozen shorebirds and a dozen Warblers species were found among the nearly 80 species. Brief appearances by a Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher, a Golden-winged Warbler, a Mourning Warbler, a Western Sandpiper, and a Worm-eating Warbler were seen by few but missed by most.
5/11/19 – A dozen warbler species were observed at Bluffwoods Conservation Area on a joint trip with Midland Empire Audubon.
5/10/19 – A soggy Blue River trail kept the group of 10 near the perimeter of the Minor Park tennis court parking area and on drier upland paths, but many birds were seen in this edge habitat. Some nice looks at a beautiful adult Red-shouldered Hawk, Blue-headed Vireo, and female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. As on the Jerry Smith Trip, east met west in kingbird fashion. After sizing up each other, the Eastern Kingbird seemed to own the rights to the field where both were foraging.
5/9/19 – The group braved November-like temps and wind chills to do a migrating bird census at Jerry Smith Park. Highlights were good looks at a Lark Sparrow, 2 Blue-headed Vireos, 3 Yellow Warblers and 3 Clay-colored Sparrows which included life birds for some. We also saw an Eastern and Western Kingbirds perched close together simultaneously.
5/8/19 – Recent rains eliminated all shorebird habitat at KCPL Wetlands. Calling Willow Flycatcher and Sora highlighted a short walk squeezed between rain in heavy overcast skies.
5/4/19 – A dozen people walked Lake Lenexa and Blackhoof park and Shawnee Mission Park in the evening and into the night to listen for Eastern Whip-poor-will and Chuck-will’s-widow.
5/1/19 – Heavy fog limited visibility and recent rains eliminated shorebird habitat at KCPL Wetlands in Gardner Kansas, yet bird diversity has increased with spring migration. Following up on information from Aaron Batterbee, the group headed north along Waverly after the morning walk and enjoyed views of a male Bobolink.
4/28/19 – Despite a chill breeze, nineteen people enjoyed driving the repaired auto tour loop at Loess Bluffs NWR. Highlights included great views of a mixed flock of swallows on the road and scope views of a perched Peregrine Falcon and two Black-necked Stilts. Also, killer looks at a Great Horned Owl (killer looks at a great killer).
4/26/19 – A few migrants were found along the Tomahawk Creek Trail in Leawood Kansas, but for many on the walk the stars of the walk were the nesting summer residents and their nests which were still visible with trees not fully leafed out.
4/24/19 – Participants enjoyed calm winds and a mixed flock of shorebirds at KCP&L Wetlands. An American Bittern and Sora flewby the group and all 5 expected swallow species were flying over the ponds.
4/17/19 – Strong southerly winds and overcast skies didn’t yield many shorebirds at KCP&L wetlands, but a single Baird’s Sandpiper and singing Brown Thrashers were fun to look at none the less for the sixteen strong.
4/10/19 – A beautiful spring morning at KCP&L Wetlands was enjoyed by 14 people. A couple of migrating sparrows and the return of additional swallow species were different from the previous week, but likely the highlight was watching a beautiful pair of Eastern Bluebirds enter a nesting cavity in one of the dead willows.
4/3/19 – A dozen people walked KCPL Wetlands and enjoyed a few early migrants and the return of summer residents. During the walk a handful of Pectoral Sandpipers flew in, a pair of Green-winged Teal flew in, and the Brown Thrasher sang after we walked past the habitat reminding us the first look doesn’t always reveal the fluid state of what is present.
3/22/19 – 3/24/19 – Seven people enjoyed the Sandhill Crane migration trip to Grand Island, Nebraska from March 22 to March 24. The group enjoyed thousands of Sandhill Cranes feeding, bowing, dancing and roosting along the Platte River Friday. Other birds of note included a Whooping Crane that was seen multiple times. Hundreds of waterfowl of twenty species were found in the flooded fields and ponds in the area. Red-breasted Nuthatch, Oregon Dark-eyed Junco, Pink-sided Dark-eyed Junco, and Yellow-headed Blackbird were found at the Crane Trust Nature Center. A nature art show was also enjoyed at the Crane Trust with painters, photographers and woodcarvers in attendance to talk about their craft. Raptors included numerous Red-tailed Hawks, a Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawk. Saturday night was washed out and it rained all night leaving the trip to Taylor Ranch questionable. But the rains quit just in time and 4 wheel drive allowed us to find and watch Greater Prairie Chickens strutting on the lek to the chorus of numerous Western Meadowlarks early Sunday morning. A grand total of 55 species were seen in Hall County Nebraska. Thanks to everyone who helped us plan and execute this trip that never fails to amaze.
3/20/19 – Sherry Leonardo held an impromptu field trip at dusk for American Woodcocks for individuals that couldn’t attend the field trip on the 15th. Eleven people attended and all were able to see and hear the displays and calls.
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.
Trip Reports and Year Totals – 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2019 Trip to Sax-Zim Bog and MN Northwoods