County Seat: Ottawa
County Size: 577 square miles
County Checklist: 235 species
DeLorme pages: 52 & 53
Google Maps of Franklin County
Franklin County is one of the toughest counties to bird in eastern Kansas, reminiscent of some of the counties in western Kansas. This is mainly due to an absence of public land, and an overall lack of high quality habitat. Almost the entire county is farmland, so finding prairie species can be tough. Perhaps the best spots for woodland birds are crossings over the Marais des Cygnes River found throughout the county. K-68, U.S. Routes 50 and 59, and Interstate 35 all cross Franklin County, and all pass through the large town of Ottawa.
Hope Cemetery and Ottawa Water Treatment Ponds - Hope Cemetery, located in the northwest corner of Ottawa, provides the best woodland birding in Franklin County. The actual cemetery has an abundance of very large pine trees, which have been productive for winter residents such as Red-breasted Nuthatch and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. The elevated trail on the north side of the cemetery (which is part of the length Flint Hills Nature Trail) has excellent deciduous woodland, and crosses over the Marais des Cygnes River, providing habitat for migratory and breeding songbirds, particularly warblers which can be hard to come by in this county. The cemetery can be reached by following K-68 to the west side of Ottawa, and getting off on W 2nd Street, which goes in front of the cemetery after about .3 miles. The Water Treatment Plant is located just south of the cemetery, and is often difficult to see. The best vantage point is offered from K-68, just east of the ponds. These ponds often have a good number of ducks on them in winter months.
Richmond City Lake - Located on the southern border of Franklin County, Richmond Lake is the only public lake in Franklin County. It is pretty bare of trees, except below the dam, where woodland is thick. The lake itself is on the small side, and waterfowl arenít often seen here in numbers. There is farm and prairie to the northwest of the lake that is often productive for species such as Grasshopper Sparrow and Upland Sandpiper. The lake can be reached by getting off U.S. 59 at W 2500 Rd, and following that road east for 1.2 miles, and turning left into the lake.
Pomona Water Treatment Ponds - Ducks are hard to come by in Franklin County, but the Pomona Water Treatment Plant is the best location for them. Located at the Southeast corner of the town of Pomona, these ponds can easily be viewed from public roads, making them the most accessible sewage ponds in the county. Along with ducks, this is among the best locations in Franklin County for shorebirds.
Updated April 2016 - NV
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