Wildlife Watching Sites in
on the map markers or the names in the list below to learn about
Pratt Sandhills Wildlife Area, a unique sand prairie habitat, is probably best known as the easternmost range of lesser prairie chickens in Kansas. The best time to view the birds is from late March through early May when they gather early in the morning on their booming grounds, or leks, to display. These areas may change from year to year. Drive out before sunrise, shut off the engine, and listen carefully! The area also has a large population of kangaroo rats and predators that depend on them. Watch for badgers, coyotes, and Swainson's hawks. Wild turkeys, black-billed magpies, loggerhead shrikes, and Mississippi kites may also be found. Reptiles include prairie lizards and six-lined racemnners.The sandy roads leading into this area may be impassable at certain times of the year. During dry weather the sand may be so deep that typical automobiles drag and get stuck. At the Texas Lake Wildlife Area, several small lakes and marshy sloughs attract waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wetland species.
No developed trails.
Directions: From Cullison (90 miles west of Wichita), go 4.4 miles west on U.S. 54 to the sign for Texas Lake directing visitors 2.5 miles north. To reach Pratt Sandhills Wildlife Area from Texas Lake Wildlife Area, travel 1 mile west of Texas Lake and 6.5 miles north. For a Google Map of this site, click here. Ownership: The entity responsible for management of these areas is the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism. Contact them at (620) 227-8609 if you have specific questions about use or management of the sites.
You may download the KDWPT brochures on Texas Lake and the Pratt Sandhills Wildlife Area
from their web site.
This 19-mile drive connects the towns of Syracuse and Coolidge, just 2 miles from the Colorado state line. The road runs along the south side of the Arkansas River. To the south lie rolling sand dunes covered with sagebrush, yucca, and grasses. The most visible species of wildlife along the drive is the colorful black-billed magpie. At times, 20 or more can be seen foraging together or flying in loose flocks. Look for their large stick nests, often 3 feet in diameter. Along the river road, visitors encounter large, picturesque stands of stately cottonwoods that provide nesting cavities for red-headed woodpeckers, northern flickers, and American kestrels. The wooded river bottoms also provide good habitat for mule deer, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and coyotes. This is one of the few places in the state where porcupines occur. Watch for them feeding in the cottonwood trees-from a distance a porcupine looks very much like a squirrel nest. The sand dunes support lesser prairie chickens and scaled quail. While in the region, visit Hamilton Wildlife Area. The dry lake bed is a stark reminder of a dwindling water supply. A spring at the north end of the area has several dams constructed by land-locked beaver. The many rodent holes on the edges of the sandy roads are created by Ord's kangaroo rats and thirteen-lined ground squirrels. Their presence explains the coyote tracks in the sand!
No developed trails.
From Syracuse the river road is located 1.4 miles south of U.S.
50 on K-27. Follow the
river road west 17.6 miles to the town of Coolidge.
Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to
Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to Jim Mason