Shorebirds following the broad ribbon of the Missouri River south to their winter haunts stop to rest and eat at high-quality wetland areas, such as Diana Bend Conservation Area west of Rocheport. The Conservation Department has returned much of this 1,016-acre area adjacent to the Missouri River to its former, wet condition. When holding water, these wetlands draw the attention of migrating birds, including pectoral sandpipers, semi-palmated sandpipers, least sandpipers and lesser yellowlegs. Less common but still possible sightings include American avocets, black-necked stilts and black-bellied plovers. You also have a good chance of spotting green-winged and blue-winged teal, wood ducks, northern harriers, ospreys and bald eagles. Take along a field guide to birds to help identify different species and binoculars to help you see distinguishing marks. A spotting scope is useful for getting a good look at shy birds.
Hunters in Wayne County have a great resource in Flatwoods Conservation Area. This 907-acre area three miles east of Piedmont has firearms and archery ranges that are made to order for sighting in rifles, sharpening shotgun skills, and tuning up bows and muscles for upcoming hunting seasons. The firearms range is wheelchair accessible. This wooded area also has good squirrel, turkey and deer hunting. There are no designated trails, but nearly 2 miles of unimproved trail provides access to the area’s interior. For more information, call (573) 223-4525.
Sept. 27 is National Hunting and Fishing Day, and Missourians who want to learn new outdoor skills or prepare for hunting season have their choice of five modern, supervised shooting ranges operated by the Conservation Department. Each range has facilities for rifle, pistol, shotgun and archery shooting and offers ongoing outdoor skills classes. Persons with mobility impairments will find provisions for their needs, too. Special events will vary at these ranges Sept. 27, but might include free instruction in archery, muzzle-loading rifle, pistol, and canoeing, fishing clinics, fly-tying and fly-fishing instruction, tree identification, deer, turkey and small-game management workshops, cave tours, backpacking, trapping, outdoor cooking demonstrations and more. For details, contact: Andy Dalton Shooting Range, Bois D’arc, (417) 742-4361; Lake City Range, Grain Valley, (816) 229-4448; Parma Woods Shooting Range, Parkville, (816) 891-9941; Busch Memorial Range, Defiance, (636) 300-1953 ext. 251; or Jay Henges Shooting Range, High Ridge, (636) 938-9548, or visit online.
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