28 Kansas Official Travel Guide TravelKS.com Milford Reservoir near Junction City, Tuttle Creek near Manhattan and Clin- ton Reservoir near Lawrencejust a sampling of the states many lakesare each encompassed within a state park and offer camping, hiking and exploring opportunities year-round. January, however, is a fantastic time for wildlife watchers to make a trip to these locations. That is when the res- ervoirs are home to Eagle Day events when American bald eagles are passing the winter months in Kansas. Each year the number of eagles visiting the state grows a little larger, with more and more They named the area Marais des Cygnes, or Marsh of the Swans. See more stunning Kansas nature and outdoors images on our Pinterest page: pinterest.com/travelks. Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge It is presumed that when early French explorers discovered this combination of wetlands and hardwood bottomlands, they were amazed at the trumpeter swans that frequented the area. So they named the marshes and the river that passes through this area Marais des Cygnes, or Marsh of the Swans. Today this region, located about an hour south of Kansas City on the Kansas- Missouri border, has become a National Wildlife Refuge, with 5,000 acres open to the public. Visitors can hike through the area and catch sight of native mammals like deer, foxes, badgers and even beaver. The most popular attraction, however, given the abundant wetlands, is the water- fowl. More than 300 species of birds can be found in Marais des Cygnes at one time or another, and more than 100 species nest in the area. Birding lists include herons, ducks, geese, sand- pipers, rails, coots, pelicans, grebes, sandhill cranes, eagles, hawks and more. Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area Quivira National Wildlife Refuge The birding jewel of the Kansas plains is found just east of Great Bend in two of the most prestigious wetland refuges in the country. Cheyenne Bottoms offers nearly 20,000 acres of marsh and wetlands that attract migratory birds of every species imaginable. As the largest marsh area within the continental United States, this reserve is considered one of the most important points for shorebird migra- tion on the continent. Visitors can drive around the many marshlands on the site and enjoy some serious bird-watching right from their vehicles. Located to the south of Cheyenne Bot- toms, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is another must-see spot for both the serious and casual birder. Because of local geology, many of the marshes in Quiviras 22,000 acres are naturally salty. Like Cheyenne Bottoms, visitors can drive through the refuge and easily spot hundreds of species of shorebirds, waterfowl and predatory birds. Each spring, elusive whooping cranes make a stop at one or both refuges during their migratory ight. Maxwell Wildlife Refuge Once, bison and elk roamed majestically over the plains. Today visitors can get a glimpse of that vanishing past with a stop at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, located in central Kansas. Whether from the sites viewing tower or on a guided tour of the refuge, visitors can get a taste of what the rst settlers experienced in the 1850s as they watch the herds of elk and bison that are maintained at the refuge roam across the range. Winter is the best time to see the elk, while the bison can easily be sighted year- round. The refuge provides one of the best opportunities in the country to see one of the few remaining wild bison herds. Clinton, Milford Tuttle Creek Reservoirs Many visitors are surprised to learn Kansas is home to large bodies of water. Glimpse the unique wildlife of the plainspronghorn antelopes, jackrabbits, mule deer and swift foxes.