WHERE TO GO BIRDING??

Opportunities for Birding are abundant in our area.  Email us with your favorite!!

     ABRAMS CREEK WETLANDS PRESERVE

     

 Every other Saturday thru Spring & Summer, noted local educator & devoted birder Jim Smith conducts tours of the Abrams Creek wetlands.  Easy access & a paved path allows groups an enjoyable walk while viewing a remarkable diversity of native & wetlands birds.  The spring fed stream flows into 20-acre White's Lake (private!!) and continues on to form Abram's Creek which flows through Winchester.

 

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JIM SMITH LEADS A GROUP OF YOUNG BIRDERS
A TUNDRA SWAN GETS A BUFFLEHEAD ESCORT ON WHITE'S LAKE
Get Directions To:
Jubal Early dr and Handley ave
winchester virginia 22601
USA

Conveniently located in the city limits of Winchester, Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve is easily accessible with a 3/4 mile flat, paved walkway.  The trail starts near the intersection of Meadow Branch Ave and Hanley Ave.
A MERLIN LOOKS OVER WHITE'S LAKE

 

 

                      BLANDY FARM: 

Blandy Experimental Farm is the home of the Virginia State Arboretum http://www.virginia.edu/blandy/  and offers 700 acres of diverse birding habitats. Recent bird sightings are listed by the Quarters library. The open fields are home to a large number of Eastern Bluebirds, while the low lying ephemeral pond area ("Lake Arnold") has a resident Purple Martin colony.  Over 200 species of birds have been documented here.  Directions:  The farm is on US Rt 50 six miles East of Winchester from the I-81 intersection.  Proceed from Winchester East until you cross Rt. 340  ("Sheetz") and continue one mile;  the stone entrance is well marked. 

The antebellum Quarters at Blandy Farm
Japanese Pavillion overlooks RattleSnake Spring
The American Chesnut project will someday restore this iconic tree to our forests
THE EPHEMERAL POND HAS 3 FEET OF WATER IN A WET SPRING
A REDTAILED HAWK SURVEYS THE WINTER LANDSCAPE AT BLANDY
BREATHTAKINGLY RARE!! --A PEREGRINE FALCON AT BLANDY FARM

               THOMPSON WILDLIFE AREA: 

Thompson Wildlife Area is located on Va Rt 688= Leeds Manor Road --off of I-66 22.5 miles east of the

 I-66 I-81 intersection. 

The GPS coordinates for the parking area are:  N 38.95742  W077.98892

 

From I-81 take I-66  18.5 miles (it would be 11.7 miles from the intersection of Rt 522 & I-66) to the Markham exit, exit 18.  You’ll see signs to Naked Mountain Winery on the exit. Turn north on Leeds Manor Road SR 688 and proceed 1.3 miles to the lower parking area.  The lower parking area has a path that’s a five-minute walk to a brook and some open woodland;  this is one of my favorite birding spots for Common Yellowthroat warbler, Hooded warbler and- if you are lucky-  you may see or hear a Blue-winged Warbler (Beee-Buzzz!!).  The path goes up the hillside and is primarily for hunter access;  bring a pair of pruning shears to clip the thorns wandering into the path.

 

At about 1.7 miles you will pass the Naked Mountain Winery and after two steep hills (past a private pond) you’ll come down to a sharp turnoff into the parking lot at 4.0 miles from the interstate.  Bring a leash for your dog.  The lake is just 200 yards uphill from the parking area.  A path runs up the hillside from the edge of the dam into typical Appalachian woodland with Ovenbirds, Hooded & Yellow-rumped warblers, American Redstart and -in the canopies- Cerulean warblers.  The trail connecting the head of the lake to the lower parking area is a flat, stony walk with Kinglets, sparrows & typical woodland diversity.  Have Fun!!

 

NOTE:  After Jan 1, 2012 all visitors to Virginia WMA's will need a facility use permit as described on the VGIF website http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/wmarules.pdf

If you are under 16 or have a hunting, fishing, or boating license the facility use permit (it's $4) is waived.

The lake is only half full here
There are several good trails

           THIRD WINCHESTER BATTLEFIELD:

The 3rd Winchester Battlefield offers hundreds of acres of relaxed walking (or bicycling) along 2.75 miles of graveled bike path which winds through fields, down to the riparian zone along Redbud Run, and under the tall hardwoods of mature Appalachian forest (listen for the Ck!-Brrr! call of Scarlet Tanagers in June).  Bluebirds, Meadowlarks, Purple Martins and Northern Rough-winged Swallows compete with Orioles, Hooded and Common Yellowthroat Warblers, and Kingfishers for your attention.  Directions:  From the exit of I-81 North onto Rt 11 north of Winchester (as if you were going to the new Lowe’s north of town) take an immediate right turn at the light onto Redbud Road.  Proceed about 7/8 mile, over the RR tracks to the well marked, paved parking area.  Pets should be leashed.  Enjoy your outing and you can also admire our nesting box project there.

Parking Area adjacent to open fields
Redbud Run from the footbridge
    SHENANDOAH UNIVERSITY'S RETREAT AT COOL SPRINGS 


Once a secluded golf course, Cool Springs is a great day trip to beautuful riverside habitat along the Shenandoah River.  Take Rt. 7 east of Winchester and take the first left turnoff IMMEDIATELY after crossing the river.

Easy walking will bring you to a remarkable Great Blue Heron rookery about a quarter mile downstream;  just a little further and you may be able to see an active Bald Eagle nest!!



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VISITOR'S CENTEER IS OPEN WEEKDAYS
THE HERON ROOKERY
BALD EAGLE NEAR NEST

                  ANDY GUEST STATE PARK: 

The park is in Warren County, eight miles south of Front Royal and 15 miles north of Luray. It's off Rt. 340 in Bentonville.  Detailed directions from all four compass points can be found on the park's website http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/and.shtml.

If there is a perfect place to go birding, this may be it!!  Drive through the park down to the riverside parking area and scope out the nesting boxes along the way.  Walk down to the kiosk and get a close look at the hundreds of brown bats that have chosen the clear plexiglass kiosk as their 'home'.  Then take a walk upstream along the PawPaw trail.  Listen for warblers, orioles, waterthrushes, and other birds until you come out below the RV park area and scope out the open fields for Meadowlarks and Bluebirds.  Keep your eyes open for ospreys or even perhaps a Bald Eagle!!

Beautiful views of the South Branch. Watch for Eagles!!
Hundreds of Bats just inches away--under glass!!
Those small trees with banna-like leaves are Paw Paws!
The riverside trails can be muddy
THE NEW CAMPGROUND IS STATE OF THE ART!
Also tent camping available
There are cabins of all sizes--Also tent sites
Chief Ranger Brett Clawson bands SawWhets into mid-December
       EDWARD'S RUN (CAPON BRIDGE) 
THE PARKING AREA IS JUST 2 MILES PAST THE TURNOFF!

On Rt 50 just 20 miles west of Winchester is the turnoff to Edward's Run, a pleasant (and flat!) streamside field trip with ponds, woods, and diverse riparian environment.  The streamside trail stays level for about 3/4 mile until it starts to work it's way up into the hillside and become more of a footpath and less jeep trail. In early spring the area is overrun by anglers, but most other times a walk through these woods will lend itself well to a more contemplatve pace of birding!

THIS AREA HAS ONLY THE BAREST AMENITIES!
THE PONDS CAN HOST SOME SUPRISE WATERBIRDS!
BUBBLEGUM LEGS!! LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH
A STREAMSIDE WALK IS WORTH THE NECESSARY TICK CHECK!
ALL EYES TO THE TREETOPS FOR TANAGERS & ORIOLES!
               STAUFFER'S MARSH

Just a few miles northeast of Inwood, WV lies a private sanctuary comprised of 50 acres of wetlands preserved by Dr. Stauffer Miller of Charlottesville. Here over 150 species of marsh birds have been seen along with Eagles and numerous & diverse other species.

Take WV 51 from the interstate at Inwood to Glengary, then take County Rt. 7 north past CR 7-18 and then past CR 7-16.  The marsh is about 3/4 mile south of the village intersection called Shanghai. GPS co-ordinates are: 39.4337 and -78.1365.  There's a gravel parking spot at the north end of the Marsh.

Dr. Miller has graciously given permission for all nature lovers to use & bird on the preserve.

The trails are much improved now that Potomac Audubon has taken over the management of the property.  There are still plenty of gnats & ticks! But the Marsh itself is an outstanding place to see a wide variety of wetlands birds & creatures!
JUDY WANTS A WOOD DUCK!!
A YELLOW WARBLER PARADISE!
STRASBURG RIVERSIDE PARK
NORTH BRANCH OF THE SHENANDOAH AT STRASBURG PARK
ON THE EAST SIDE OF STRASBURG, VA IS THE EASIEST ACCESS TO GREAT BIRDING THAT WE HAVE FOUND! JUST 9/10 MILE PAST THE STRASBURG MUSEUM, TURN OFF RT. 55 ONTO PARK DRIVE AND GO BACK TO THE SWIMMING POOL AREA. PARK IN THE HUGE GRAVEL PARKING LOT AND YOU ARE AT THE BEGINNING OF NEARLY A MILE OF FLAT, GRAVELED RIVERSIDE WALK AND AN OUTSTANDING BIRDING ADVENTURE! (GPS COORDINATES: 38.973459  -78.351287
ENTRANCE TO THE FLAT, GRAVELLED WALKWAY
THIS IS JUST ABOUT THE EASIEST BIRDING ANYWHERE!!
THE BIRDING OPPORTUNITIES HERE ARE FANTASTIC! WHETHER IT'S WARBLERS, KINGFISHERS AND WATERTHRUSHES IN THE RIPARIAN ZONE, OR SPARROWS, TANAGERS AND RAPTORS IN THE ADJACENT FIELDS, YOU ARE SURE TO HAVE A REWARDING EXPERIENCE HERE!!
TAKE A WHILE TO RELAX BY THE RIVER!!
SIGNAL KNOB RISES IN THE EAST
THE SHALLOW WATER IS PERFECT FOR WADING!

SHANNONDALE SPRINGS WMA


Just East of Charles Town, WV lies a woodland/riparian wildlife area of 1,361 acres of prime birding habitat (and hunting- don't forget to wear blaze orange in season!) with miles of trails winding along the Shenandoah River and into the bordering forests and fields. Shannondale is a primitive area- there are no amenities- but the birding there can be absolutely fantastic!

Directions:  from US Rt 340 take Rt 9 (clearly marked) and go over the Shenandoah River bridge, then rise over the hill east of the river and take the Very First right hand turn after you've crested the top of the hill onto Mission road. Now it's just 2 miles (more or less exactly) down to Riverside Drive which will lead you back to the paved parking area and the riverside walking trail.  GPS coordinates for the turnoff are: 39.2204264  -77.81600386.  

PARKING AREA IS A QUARTER MILE FROM THE MAIN ROAD
READY FOR THE RIVER WALK!
TRAILS PENETRATE DEEP MATURE WOODLAND
OPEN AREAS ARE BORDERED BY WOODS
A CORMORANT ON THE RIVER
A BALD EAGLE SOARS HIGH OVERHEAD!