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Old Plantation Access

Allen Gathman, 2022
70 acres. Cape Girardeau County. DeLorme 58, E-1
GPS: -89.85, 37.47
Owned by MDC. For additional information call (573) 290-5730 or see https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places/old-plantation-access

Directions:
From Jackson, take Highway 72 west through Millersville, then County Road 485 north to the conservation area.

ADA Information:
Almost all of this area can be birded from the road and parking lots. No specifically ADA-designated features.


When to Visit/Species to Expect:

This is a small conservation area with limited habitat diversity; probably not a destination birding site. However, if you’re in the area, it’s worth a stop at any time of the year, as the eBird hotspot records over 100 species. Typical resident woodland and meadow birds can be expected. A fair number of migrant warblers have been reported, and Louisiana Waterthrush is likely all summer. American Woodcock is likely to be displaying at dawn and dusk in the spring. 

Features of interest to birders:

The conservation area is a strip of property along 1.1 miles of County Road 485. On entering, it is usually best to drive slowly with windows down all the way to the northernmost parking lot first; traffic is light, so it’s easy to just stop along the side of the gravel road when you see or hear birds. 

From the north parking lot, a short trail leads to the Whitewater River. Along the path, warblers, woodpeckers, and other woodland birds may be found. The river often hosts swallows, occasional herons or egrets, and Belted Kingfisher. If the weather is hot and you’re daring, there’s a rope swing. 

From the parking lot, walk north along the county road to the low-water bridge at the edge of the conservation area. Large trees here provide more woodland habitat, and under them, native plants such as Virginia Bluebell and both species of Jewelweed (spotted and pale) abound. There is an informal trail or ATV track to the river here. 

Driving back south, make a stop at the other parking area in the middle of the conservation area. There is a good view here of crop and meadow fields with birds expected in such habitat, and open sky to look for flyover raptors. It is possible to walk along the field edges east to the river from here, but no formal path exists. You can walk either direction along the county road from here; again, there is little traffic, and birding along the road is often productive. 

Toilets: None

Camping: None

Hazards/Limitations:  Ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, gnats as are typical in summer in southeast Missouri. Turkey hunting (firearms and archery) and deer hunting (archery only) in season; check the MDC site for dates. 

Nearby Birding sites:  Maintz Wildlife Preserve, Bollinger Mill State Historic Site