Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Seasons: All
- Site Contact: (804)318-8735 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Site Access: Free, Daily
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Site CAP03: Henricus Park/ Dutch Gap Conservation Area
The roadway leading into the park passes Aikens Swamp, where volunteers have constructed two viewing platforms. The snags in the swamp provide roost sites for breeding great blue herons; and perches for may other kinds of birds. Flocks of migrating waterfowl and furbearers like muskrat, beavers, otter and mink can also be observed in the swamp. Once inside the park, continue to the new visitor center. You have two choices of trails to hike from here, the Henricus Park trail and the Dutch Gap Conservation Area's trail. The Dutch Gap trail is a 4-mile, one-way trail beginning behind of the visitor center. This trail provides birders with an opportunity to view a diversity of avian species as they pass through hardwood forest and meadows, with views of old river channels and the tidal lagoon. A little behind the 1/2 mile post, a wildlife observation blind provides views of the tidal freshwater marsh. In the forest, look for typical woodland species including red-headed and pileated woodpeckers. The meadows provide habitat for indigo bunting, blue grosbeak, and orchard oriole, as well as several species of sparrows. Between mileposts 3 and 4, there are many opportunities to view wintering waterfowl. The Henricus Park trail is 1.25 miles long and passes by the reconstructed Henricus settlement. It takes hikers through interesting settings including tall woodlands, a swamp boardwalk, and riparian woodlands. The trail ascends to an overlook of the James River before it forks into two pathways. During spring, both pathways provide views of songbirds, including warblers, thrushes, flycatchers and occasionally yellow-billed cuckoos. In the spring, the swamp boardwalk offers glimpses of yellow and prothonotary warblers. Raptors, including bald eagles, also frequent this area of the park.
Exit Pocahontas State Park via Beach Road; drive to SR 10/Hundred Street and go east/right for 7.4 miles. Cross I-95, turn left at the first stop signal, Old Stage Road, and travel 2.0 miles. Turn right at the stop sign and continue 0.7 miles and turn right into the entrance marked by the Henricus Park sign.