Birding Guide to
Red Rock Landing Conservation Area
Allen Gathman, Fall 2021
559.6 Acres, Perry Co. DeLorme 58, A-3
GPS: 37.7459, -89.6719
MDC owned: for additional information call (573)
290-5730 or see web site at
From I-55, take exit 135 at Brewer, following State Highway M ½ mile east to US-61. Take US-61 south through Perryville to State Hwy P. Drive east on highway P to the intersection with State Highway C at Crosstown; turn left (north) on C, then right (east) on Perry County Road 350. Follow PCR 350 about 4 miles, where it ends at the entrance to the conservation area.
to Visit/Species to Expect: The
area offers considerable diversity. During spring and fall migration, warblers can be plentiful, and 23
species have been reported to date. In
winter, numerous sparrow species have been reported. Waders, some shorebirds, and some migrating
waterfowl can be found on the river and in the wetland area.
of Interest to Birders: This area can be birded in ways
ranging from the sedentary to the adventurous, depending on individual preference.
The majority of the area is hardwood forest, but other habitats include an
intermittent wetland, several ponds including some natural sinkholes, a rocky
glade, a mile of Mississippi River frontage, and half mile on Cinque Hommes
Creek. The MDC maintains some mowed
upland grass fields and some wildlife food plots. This site and nearby Seventy-six Conservation
Area are notable breeding sites for woodland warblers, particularly American
Approaching on PCR 350, there is a low-water
crossing of Omete Creek; while this is private land, a stop beside the county
road can yield Belted Kingfisher, occasional waders, and frequently some
roosting vultures. The road climbs
steeply uphill into the conservation area, and near the welcome sign there is a
wide spot where it is possible to pull over. The steep hillsides in this area provide good habitat for Worm-eating
Warbler, as well as other woodland species. To the northeast, the road ends in a loop and a small primitive
campground. There is a picnic table, along
with some convenient flat rocks for a “little sit” at this point.
From the campground it is possible to walk across
the railroad tracks and descend into a bottomland area (about 60 acres), with a
willow thicket and a shallow pond and wetland. Water levels here depend on the river level and rainfall. The trail leading northeast about 200 yards
through the bottoms to the river is usually mowed. This bottomland can be a good spot for passerines
as well as waders, occasional shorebirds, and waterfowl. In the summer Prothonotary Warblers are
assured. Waterfowl, raptors, and gulls
are possible on the river. Sometimes a
path is mowed leading northwest to Cinque Hommes Creek, but this route is often
overgrown and impassable.
From a parking area 200 yards southwest of the
campground a rather strenuous service road/trail leads east. The path climbs about 150 feet in elevation onto
a ridge paralleling the river; after about a mile in the woods, it opens into a
small natural rock amphitheater and a rocky glade, home to specialized plants
such as native prickly pear cactus and hoary puccoon. For the birder intrepid enough to reach this
spot, it’s worthwhile to continue as the trail curves southwest and down to a small
sinkhole pond lined with cattails and willows. This little oasis is often home to various warblers, vireos, and
thrushes in appropriate seasons. As the
trail curves around to the north, it passes through some wildlife food crops and
mowed grassland, and by a dam that forms a sizeable pond. It then loops back southeast and climbs the
ridge again, returning to the amphitheater glade.
Other trails lead further south from the glade to
the highest elevation in the conservation area, providing exercise and a
striking view but not much more diversity of habitat for birders.
campground, a single site.
Typical hunting uses; wear orange during
seasons. When the Chester Power river
gauge is above 20 feet, road access is closed.
Red Rock Landing CA, Apple Creek CA, Perry County