Here is my report on my trip to the Eleven Point River/Greer Crossing area.

 

Once in the area (a mile or so before crossing into Oregon County on Hwy. 19) I got an unexpected surprise: A Black Bear ran across the road only about 40-50 yards ahead of me. It was a young bear, chocolate color- and definitely a bear! That was cool!

 

I arrived at Greer Crossing Recreation Area Monday a little before noon. My target bird was the Swainson’s Warbler, as I did not see or hear it on my trip here the last week of April. So I spent part of Monday searching for it. There was no sign of it despite 3 different times searching the area on Monday- both around the picnic area and campground. Also, no sign of it on “Cemetery Road” (the 1-mile gravel road that leads to “Graveyard Hollow”- the entrance to that road is about 50 yards north of the Greer Crossing Rec Area). There was a half hour window mid-evening when the birds seemed to be singing as if it were morning. It seemed every bird was singing, except the Swainson’s. So, I tried again first thing in the early morning Tuesday after getting up from camp. Still no Swainson’s. I figured it was not here this year.

 

However, after arriving back from my birding "Cemetery Road" on Tuesday morning, I thought I’d give the Swainson’s yet another try around the picnic area. Then, almost unexpectedly, I heard it sing once near the boat ramp. Did my ears deceive me? I waited about 10 minutes hoping to hear it again, but nothing. Well, I had been patient enough. Too patient even. I played the Swainson’s Warbler song recording found on the "Song Sleuth" app. Almost magically, a bird came rushing towards my direction in a rapid flight, perching only briefly on a few branches before flying off deeper into the woods. Then, just a minute or two later, it sang its song. Ah yes, the Swainson’s Warbler was here! Then, another minute, another song. Hoping it would sing again so I can get a recording, I waited another 10 minutes or so, but nothing. It was time to pack up my camp anyway. About an hour later, after breaking down my camp, I returned to the picnic area and heard him sing only once again near the bathrooms. Not a big singer. Unfortunately, I wasn’t patient enough to get a recording, and I didn’t want to coax him out by playing the song again, as it wasn’t necessary. I had my Swainson’s Warbler back where he belongs in the hills of the Ozarks along the Eleven Point River at Greer Crossing.

 

 

Another thing on note: Traveling on “Cemetery Road” (maybe I should start calling it “Graveyard Hollow Road”) I heard 5 Hooded Warblers - #1 near entrance,#2, #3 singing back and forth to each other at first valley, #4 further on the trail near cedar tree just past the second valley, and #5 at the cemetery in Graveyard Hollow. There are some Sycamore trees there at the end there where there was a Yellow-throated Warbler singing. I have marked it as a “hotspot” on eBird as “Graveyard Hollow 36.797573,-90.329847”. I don’t know if it will show up as a marked spot on eBird, though.

 

I always travel the Greer Spring Trail, which I did on Monday early evening. There was the ever-present Worm-eating Warbler and Hooded Warbler, as well as Ovenbird and, of course, the Pine Warbler. I also posted my observations there on eBird.

 

Finally, there is the ever-present Prairie Warbler the road just a couple hundred yards north of the Oregon County line at Hurrican Creek. It’s listed as Rd. 4227 on Google Maps, but there is a road sign that shows it as Shannon Co. 29-A. If you ever decide to check this spot out, beware of the danger here. When pulling back onto Hwy. 19, there is a serious blind spot from the south. Either listen carefully that there is no oncoming vehicles or count to 10 before pulling back on the highway. There is a cross marker on the west side of 19 there.

 

I managed 17 out of 18 warbler species that breed in Missouri (if you’re willing to count the Yellow-breasted Chat for tradition’s sake), missing out only on the Yellow Warbler. I had at least two, and possibly three, Prothonotary Warblers in the boat ramp area, as well as the Yellow-throated Warbler and the Louisiana Waterthrush. Note that the Swainson’s, Yellow-throated, and Louisiana Waterthrush all have the descending notes that are the first half on their songs, so if you’re birding by ear, you have to be careful not to confuse them. Since all three species were found in the boat ramp area, I thought it was worth mentioning.

 

On my eBird report for Greer Crossing, I included what I observed on “Cemetery Road.” All birds observed on Cemetery Road were also observed at the Greer Crossing Recreation Area. I have since submitted “Graveyard Hollow” as a birding hotspot for eBird. If, in the future, that becomes an established hotspot on eBird, I will use a different check list for that spot.

 

Happy Birding!



Bob Bailey St. Louis, MO [log in to unmask]


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