Birding Site Guide to

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GRAVOIS MILLS ACCESS
Edge Wade, summer 2014
63 acres Morgan Co.  DeLorme 45, A-6
GPS:  38.308754, -92.819042
MDC owned; for additional information call 573-346-2210
 
Directions:  On Hwy. 5 at the north end of Gravois Mills a brown MDC sign indicates the road to the east that leads into the access.  A narrow strip of land on both sides of this road is part of the area before the parking lot is reached.  From the water, the access is at the 10.1 mile marker for the Gravois Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks.
 
This is a fairly small site well worth a stop to check anytime of the year.  Migrants seem drawn to it, there is a good selection of summer nesters, and it has a good representation of resident species.
 
When to Visit/Species to Expect:  The limited number of birding visits here has proven productive.  Wood Thrush and Northern Parula nest near the large lot.  It’s a good site for woodpeckers year-round, and flycatchers from spring into fall.  Least Flycatcher has been seen in August; Olive-sided Flycatcher in mid-September.  Listen for Yellow-billed Cuckoo, especially August into October. 
 
Throughout the summer, the parking lot is often guarded by a high-perched male Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  White-eyed, Blue-headed, Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos have been reported.  Martins and swallows may be seen hunting the sky over the area on any summer day.
 
Be sure to check the lake from various points along the shore, no matter what time of year.  If it is not busy with people, ducks, geese, gulls, terns, cormorants, pelicans and herons are likely.  Osprey and Bald Eagles may be present.
 
 
Features of interest to birders:  The area is mostly forested and much of it is not easily accessed due to the steep hills, but birding just by walking the edges of the 5-acre parking lot or very near it is likely to give some fine looks at several species.
 
The boat ramp, small dock and covered fishing dock all provide viewing platforms to peruse the lake, sky or the nearby trees.  The small lawn area with a few trees between the ramp and the parking lot is always worth a few minutes of attention.  Gnatcatchers, Carolina Chickadees, wrens, kinglets and other small birds feed here according to season.
 
Toilet:  1 privy
 
Camping:  No.
 
Hazards/Limitations:  Watch out for pick-ups and boat trailers as boats are being put in and taken out of the water.  On weekends, especially, the shore end of the site can be very active with boaters and dock fishing. 
 
Nearby Birding Sites:  Hite Prairie, Manito Lake CA, Proctor Towersite, Ha Ha Tonka SP.