Monday, October 28, 2013

One of my favorite conservation areas to visit in Northwest Missouri is Bluff Woods. Located in southend St. Joseph off of 59 Highway it is nearly 2300 acres of pure outdoor exploration. Walking trails, woodland, grassland, old fields, and a small prairie. There is even an old cemetery there to explore should the urge strike you.

This area has been declared an important birding area by the Missouri Audubon Society. Areas designated with this title are unique in their large diversity of bird life that call it home. Many birds that have experienced declines in their populations use Bluff woods as their nesting home range. Still many others pass through Bluff woods on their way to more Northern ranges.
(juvenile Blue Jay)
(Baltimore Oriole)

Do you like trees? Most of us do, after all the forest would be a lonely place without them. Bluff woods will not disappoint. There are Paw Paws, Oaks, Hickories, Maples, Basswood, Black Walnut,
as well as other hardwood trees.

(Paw Paw)

Over hundred species of animals typically associated with woodlands can be found here. The habitat is perfect for raccoons, opossums, white-tail deer, squirrels, flying squirrels, box turtles, snakes, etc. 

(White-tail Deer)

(Red Fox kit)

(Timber Rattlesnake)

(Woodhouse Toad)

The high bluffs over look the Missouri River valley and make for great hiking opportunities. The views from the vantage point of the bluffs is spectacular and well worth the effort to expend the energy that it will take to hike these steep trails. Many wild plants dot the woodlands along your trek, including Jack-in-the-pulpit, green dragon, orchids, wild phlox, ferns, and many others. Please respect the area and take pictures only.


(May Apple)

(Green Dragon)

 Many types of fungus can also be found here. Many morel seekers tromp through these woods during April and May looking for this elusive mushroom. Many more unique and fascinating fungi also call Bluff Woods home. 

(Morel Mushroom)

(Devils Urn Mushroom)

If you live in Northwest Missouri and have never visited this area it is well worth checking out and spending some time there. Anyone passing through St. Joseph and in need of a leg stretch and a scenic view head to this easily accessible conservation area and plan to wile away the hours exploring, bird watching and just enjoying the great outdoors.