NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Kauffman Museum’s Earth Day Adventure bird walk on April 19 brought around 40 enthusiastic birders of all ages out for an early-morning ramble on Sand Creek Trail – and there are going to be more like them.
Starting May 3, there will be morning bird walks on the first Saturday of each month, with leadership from local bird experts.
“We had planned to start these walks before the Earth Day activity,” said Andi Schmidt Andres, Kauffman Museum curator of education, “but the good turnout was encouraging and does imply that there’s an interest in the community.”
Dwight Platt of North Newton, Bethel College professor emeritus of biology, will be the leader for the May 3 walk. Gregg Friesen, Newton, one of the state’s foremost birders, will lead many of them.
“Harvey County and Bethel College have a long history of enjoying birds,” Friesen said. “But there have been fewer birders coming out for the winter bird counts.
“There is this wonderful trail – Sand Creek Trail – with a rich diversity of birds. We hope these walks will stimulate more interest in birding there.”
Friesen said that the April 19 birdwatching group saw or heard 27 species of birds.
He also noted that the Cornell University-Audubon Society website eBird.org lists Bethel College/Sand Creek Trail as the #4 birding “hotspot” in Harvey County, after Harvey County West Park, East Lake and Sand Prairie in western Harvey County. (See ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L473947.)
“There are a good variety of woodland birds, and species you don’t see elsewhere in Harvey County,” he said.
First-Saturday bird walk participants should meet in the parking lot of Kauffman Museum, at the corner of 27th and Main Streets on the Bethel College campus in North Newton. Each walk will start at sunrise – as listed in the local paper or online – for that day and go for about an hour.
Walks will be on Sand Creek Trail on Bethel’s campus and in Chisholm Park just north of the museum.
All ages are welcome on the walks. Participants under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars and to be aware that the bird walks are quiet, with attentive lookers and listeners.
The museum will not be open before or after the bird walk (the museum’s Saturday hours are 1:30-4:30 p.m.).
For more information, call the museum at 316-283-1612.