County Seat: Alma
County Size: 800 square miles
County Checklist: 268 species
DeLorme pages: 37, 38, 50, & 51
Google Maps of Wabaunsee County
Best Birds: Acadian Flycatcher (nesting), Smith's Longspur
Wabaunsee County is located in east central Kansas primarily in the Flint Hills but with a bit of the glaciated physiographic region of northeastern Kansas and the Osage cuestas of southeastern Kansas. While the list of best birds may not seem staggering, Wabaunsee is a beautiful county with many hidden pockets of great beauty and good birding!
Lake Wabaunsee - The largest body of water in Wabaunsee County, this is a residential lake, with only a few vantage points. The best spots to the view the lake are from the dam, whick has no specific parking, and the area near the bait shop on the east arm of the lake, which has a good deal of public parking. There is relatively little habitat besides the water given that the area surrounding the lake is all residential. There is a little bit of wooded area below the dam, as well as a fair of sewage ponds. The lake and the ponds have turned up a pretty good number of rarities over the years.
Echo Cliff Park is a sort of oasis in the mostly prairie and agricultural county. It is located on Echo Cliff road about a mile south of K-4 highway. It has some pretty dense woods and a nice creek running through it, as well as a large cliff face it is named after. The park is relatively small, but it gets a pretty good amount of passerine activity. Acadian flycatchers can be found here in season, and yellow-throated vireos have been found nesting here.
Mt. Mitchell Prairie - Mount Mitchell is a small restored prairie located about 6 miles north of I 70 on K-99 highway. It has public parking at the bottom of the “mountain” which is more like a tall hill. The habitat is mostly prairie, with some scrubby area good for Bell’s Vireos. Overall the habitat here isn’t great, but it is a prairie on land maintained by Audubon of Kansas.
Skyline Road is a scenic drive that cuts through the middle of the county, passing through some of the most scenic Flint Hills vistas. It is also particularly good for grassland birds, such as Upland Sandpiper, Blue Grosbeak, Loggerhead Shrike, and Dickcissel, which can all be found in good numbers along here in season. Mission cemetery is located near here as well and has decent sparrow and Bewick’s Wren habitat. Located on Divide Rd about 1 mile south of Skyline Road.
Alma Water Treatment Ponds and City Lake - Alma WTP is located on the side of K-99 and can be easily seen from the road, despite a lack of any real parking. The City Lake is located off Hessdale Road southeast of the city. It is fairly shallow and doesn’t usually host much waterfowl, but has some wooded area surrounding it.
Updated April 2016 - NV
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