Birding Site Guide to

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SHAWNEE TRAIL CONSERVATION AREA
3,635 acres  Barton Co.  DeLorme 50, E-1
GPS:  37.4198584367,-94.5732980689
MDC owned; for information call: 417-629-3423
 
Directions:  From the junction of US 71 and US 160 in Lamar, go west on US 160  for 14 miles to Rt. M (east of Mindenmines), then one mile south on M to the northeast boundary.  To access the area beginning on the west side, from US 160 in Mindenmines, turn south on gravel road SW 160 Lane and go one half-mile to the area.
 
When to Visit/Species to Expect:  Winter birding can be especially rewarding.  The shrubby vegetation and the hedgerows offer quite a bit of cover for a variety of wildlife, including Northern Bobwhite, a variety of raptors, and winter sparrows.  Northern Harriers are very common.  Short-eared Owl, Merlin and Prairie Falcon are winter residents.  Look for them in the area three miles south and one mile west of the junction of US 160 and Rt. M.
 
Historically, a Greater Prairie-Chicken lek (booming ground) in the eastern part was a center of activity in early spring.
 
Upland Sandpiper and Bell’s Vireo are regular summer residents in the eastern portion of the area.
 
Features of interest to birders: 17 parking lots (and in some cases the short roads leading to them) provide easy access to the variety of habitats available for birds.  There are no designated hiking trails, but the hiking isn’t difficult except in the strip mined areas.
 
Cropland and non-prairie grassland make up about 90% of the area.  There are 50 acres of native prairie, 120 of old field, 98 of forest and woodland.  Lakes and ponds total nearly 100 acres, and wetlands about 30.
 
Pin Oak Lake is 14 acres.  There are several ponds and strip pits.  Waterfowl, shorebirds and waders may take advantage of these, so many are worth checking in the proper season.  Nine rainfall dependent marshes (about 26 acres) are managed for waterfowl.
 
Toilets:  1 privy at Pin Oak Lake
 
Camping:  Primitive camping is allowed in designated areas at Pin Oak Lake.
 
Hazards/Limitations:  Dog field trials and hunt tests may be in progress.  There is rugged terrain in the old strip mined areas in the western portion that may be treacherous, especially in wet conditions.
 
Nearby Birding Sites:  Prairie State Park, Mon-Shon Prairie CA, Davis Memorial SF, Redwing Prairie CA, Bushwhacker Lake CA.