Much has been written over the years about Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas. These wetlands fall square in the middle of the Central Flyway and are two of the most important stopover sites for migrating shorebirds in the world. Up to 250,000 waterfowl and nearly half of all North American shorebirds migrating east of the Rockies stop in the area to rest and refuel during migration. Of the 460+ bird species known to Kansas, more than 310 species have been observed at Quivira and more than 340 at the Bottoms. Flocks of Sandhill Cranes pass through in the spring and fall, with an occasional group of Whooping Cranes. Where there are waterfowl and shorebirds, there will be birds of prey.
In addition to birding at Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira, we’ll visit two different prairie-chicken leks – one morning at a private ranch with resident Greater Prairie-Chickens and a second morning in the heart of Kansas’ Lesser Prairie-Chicken habitat. The raucous displays of prairie-chickens include stomping, booming, whooping, and sparring. With exposed tail coverts and colorful balloon-like air sacs flashing, few performances in the bird world are more memorable than the dawn dance of prairie-chickens.
We’ll spend four days exploring Kansas’ birding and wildlife hotspots. We have strategically selected areas away from crowds so that we have the time and space to truly enjoy these wildlife spectacles in true Reefs to Rockies style. We’ll travel along scenic and historic byways in a custom American safari van with a conversion pop-top and spacious seating. This is not the traditional passenger van you may have traveled in on past trips. This one-of-a-kind vehicle has been specially designed by two wildlife biologists to allow for optimal viewing. It makes a perfect ‘blind’ and there’s ample room for everyone to view at the same time.
Join Reefs to Rockies Co-founder Sheridan Samano for an unforgettable spring migration trip to The Middle Of It All.
The Southern Plains Land Trust (SPLT), founded in 1998, creates and protects a network of shortgrass prairie preserves, ensuring a future for native flora and fauna. A donation to SPLT to aid in their land acquisition efforts will be made on behalf of all participants.
Morning departure from Denver. As we work our way east to Phillipsburg, we’ll stop at Nicodemus National Historic Site and in the Maxwell area to search for migrating waterfowl. Late afternoon arrival to Phillipsburg. We’ll have time to check in at our hotel before our Welcome Dinner in town.
Accommodations: Econo Lodge
Meals: Lunch and Dinner
Estimated drive time today: Denver to Phillipsburg – 5 hrs