Especially with Eagle Bluffs inaccessible, I know that many of us in Mid-Missouri and beyond are seeking locations to observe fall shorebirds. I think we will find extensive shorebird habitat in Missouri River-bottom flats now emerging from severe flooding that began in May and intensified again last month. Numerous long-legged waders, gulls, and waterfowl may appear in these areas as well.

Mokane Road
About 1.5 miles is now passable traveling east from Hibernia Road. You will notice a new and massive hole in the levee to the south, as well as a large emergent flat between the road and the airport north of the road. There is now a wide swath of potential shorebird habitat south of the road, as well as an expanse of water with a sizable mud-bar breaking the surface. The passable stretch of road ends in floodwaters east of the water treatment plant but still west of Fischer Farms (the white and red farmhouse). It seems likely to me that more of this stretch of road will dry up in coming days.

You can then return to Hibernia Road, drive north, and take Wehmeyer Dr. to MO-94 East. All three of those roads now border potential shorebird habitat in the region of the airport and east of the airport, although it’s difficult to observe such areas from MO-94, and I don’t recommend doing so. After 3.5 miles of driving east on 94, turn right onto CR 4035. This county road ends at CR 4038, which is the same as Mokane Road. East of 4035 on 4038, about 1.5 miles of roadway is rough but passable with care before ending in water. You will notice a large expanse of floodwaters remaining south of the road, as well as a vast new mudflat north of the road, to the east of the lone trailer. The depression north of the barge-loading area is entirely full of water, and the stretch of passable road ends shortly after the intersection with CR 4037, which is itself still submerged. Definitely use your best judgment when driving this part of CR 4038.

West of CR 4035 on CR 4038, the road is passable for only a short distance before becoming washed-out in places. I don’t recommend travel in that direction, although this might be tempting, given the habitat. The roadway I describe here is badly damaged and unlikely to be drivable in the near future. I worry that it offers a picture of conditions on the four miles of Mokane Road that aren’t currently accessible.

SelecTurf Sod Farm
Access roads on both sides of US-63 are passable. Owing to continuous pumping,  grass remaining on the bluff side may yet attract Buff-breasted Sandpipers this fall. This grass is east of the office and machine sheds; west of those, an impressive mudflat is emerging. The same is true on the river side of the highway: the turf plots there are becoming huge fields of mud. Heading northwest on the river-side access road, the gravel eventually stops, and the two-track road ending near the US-63 bridge over Cedar Creek may in time offer access to further shorebird habitat. Right now, this two-track road seems too muddy to drive safely.

Capitol View Access
Enough of the access road is passable that you can use it to view the large emerging mudflat to the southwest. In June, people were kayaking in floodwaters here.

Renz Farm Road/Cedar City Road
These roads, closed until this week, offer a lot of potential shorebird viewing on both sides. East of the old work farm, however, the floodwaters are still deep and extend to the eastern end of the Jeff City sports fields.

Carl R. Noren Access
is still strikingly flooded. In time, a large mudflat should open up here. If you’re crossing the US-63/54 bridge into Jefferson City any time soon, check out the Martin hotels poking out of floodwaters to the west (this area is Noren Access). Purple Martins have continued there despite their homes becoming surrounded by water on all sides.

Turkey Creek Golf Course
A mudflat has opened up south of it. Use Oilwell Rd. to reach the area from Cedar City Rd. South of US-63, Oilwell Rd. now borders mudflats on both sides.

Katy Road north to the North JC Trailhead
was being cleared of additional debris this afternoon. Take a look at wide puddles and flats on both sides of the road.

Jefferson City Agricultural Fields
This is the only area I’m mentioning that’s west of the River. To reach it, take MO-179 to Cole Junction Road, which at this time is only passable for a short distance before becoming overrun by Grey’s Creek. As soon as the creek falls a little more, this extensive river bottom will become accessible.

It’s difficult to describe the extreme changes in landscape that have occurred over the past several weeks. I expect to visit these transforming areas multiple times in the late summer and fall, and I hope that many other birders do too.

Good birding everyone,

Pete Monacell,
Jefferson City

Sent from my iPad

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