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TEN MILE POND CONSERVATION AREA

Mark Haas, July 2017

3,755 acres, Mississippi Co., DeLorme 69, F-6

GPS: 36.738801, -89.310550

MDC owned. For information, call 573-290-5730

Ten Mile Pond CA is within Audubon’s Southeast Missouri Bottomlands Important Bird Area and in MDC’s River Bends (bottomland forest) Priority Geography. This area is on the Great Missouri Birding Trail.

Directions: From East Prairie, go about one mile east on Highway 80 and then turn right on Highway 102, which takes you 5.25 miles to the west side of the area. Turn left on County Road 518 for 1.7 miles and then left on Highway VV for two miles to reach the area headquarters. 

ADA Information: The best birding by vehicle, especially for waterfowl, is at the three parking lots along Highway 102. One of these has an ADA accessible observation platform. For more good birding by vehicle, slowly drive County Roads 518 and 516 and Highway VV, paying attention to the brushy /grassy roadsides. Pull into one of seven parking lots along the way to view various wet or dry fields. There are no ADA accessible trails.

When to visit/species to expect: Fall and winter are prime time at this wetland area. Mostly shallow water covers the wetlands, so any species of dabbling duck might be found here. Still, there’s a good possibility for diving ducks, especially Canvasbacks, Ring-necked Ducks, Redheads, Ruddy Ducks, and Buffleheads. And countless thousands of Snow Geese and White-fronted Geese will be here. Watch the brushy areas for the surprising variety of wintering sparrows, such as Fox Sparrow and Swamp Sparrow. Raptor viewing is also best at this time, with Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers in abundance.

A wide variety of shorebirds (25 species) have stopped here during spring and fall migration. Black-necked Stilts are a good possibility in spring and even into summer. If you are looking for Least Tern, Snowy Egret, or Little Blue Heron, summer is also your best time to visit. No matter the season, be sure to check the power lines for Loggerhead Shrikes.

Features of interest to birders: This entire area was crop land when purchased in 1982 for the purpose of re-establishing wetland habitat. It is comprised of 2100 acres of crop land for geese and ducks; 1400 acres of restored wetlands for waterfowl, shorebirds, waders, and other wetland wildlife; and only 100 acres of forest and woodland. If you only drive the roads and bird from the ten parking lots, you will get a good feel for the area.

Although conditions can change as water levels are manipulated, here are some general guidelines for birding. Pools C, D, and E are best for viewing ducks. All have parking lots good for scanning, but you may be rewarded if walk the levees around the pools. Snow Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese often use the refuge fields west of Highway VV.

For shorebirds, Fields F, P, and R1 can be good. Also, don’t overlook Pools A, B, and the northwest corner of Pool C. Waders can be found almost anywhere there is water.

The area supports a nice variety of wintering sparrows. Look for them along brushy roadsides and in Fields Q, N, and S. Also check out the roadside north of Field G1 and the old home site in the corner of Field O. If you are trying for woodland birds, walk the perimeter of Pool 1, which is surrounded by private forest land.  

Picnic Areas: none

Toilets: A portable privy is maintained at the headquarters.

Camping: prohibited

Hazards/Limitations: During the 2016-17 hunting season, the hunting units were closed to all but hunters October 15-February 6. The designated refuge areas were closed to everyone October 15-April 30. Also, there is an early teal season each September when access may be restricted for a part of the month. Be sure to check regulations for the latest update on all hunting seasons.

Regardless of the time of year, birding is allowed at any time from public roads and parking lots. Fortunately, these provide some of the best birding on the area.

Nearby Birding Sites: Seven Island CA, Big Oak Tree State Park, Delaney (Robert G.) Lake CA.