Between the edges of the North Lawrence neighborhood and the Lawrence airport, the open fields, sloughs, and a gravel pit lake provide habitat for a mix of open country and water birds.
Agricultural, wetland, lake
Waterfowl, shorebirds, sparrows
Hooded Merganser, Horned Lark, Clay-colored Sparrow, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper
Photo: Upland Sandpiper Credit: Nick Varvel/Flickr CC BY 2.0
Best Time to Go:
The sloughs on both sides of Highway 24/40 by the airport are good for shorebirds, especially in the spring, when water levels tend to be higher. The gravel pit lake (Bismarck Lake) has two distinct parts. The shallow portion can attract dabbling ducks in migration and many ducks and geese spend the winter on the deeper portion, as the deep water keeps the lake from freezing over. In years that sod is a major crop, shorebirds including Buff-breasted, Upland, and Pectoral Sandpipers use the grassy fields as a migratory stopover. Look for these species in August on the sod.
To get to Bismarck Lake, drive east on 24/40 past the airport and turn south on E 1600 Road, passing under I-70. The public can only view the lake from E 1600 Road as the road leading to the west side of the lake is a private road with a gate. The amount and location of sod fields varies from year to year so birders will have to explore the area around the airport and the fields just east of North Lawrence to know current conditions.