Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

Site Information

  • Seasons: All
  • Site Contact: (757) 253-7072
  • Site Access: Daily. Hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or access permit required.
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Site CES03: GATR Tract, Mockhorn Island Wildlife Management Area


The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Mockhorn Island Wildlife Management Area is an Atlantic coastal island of over 7,000 acres of prime tidal marsh. Access to the island's expansive cordgrass saltmarsh and loblolly pine, red cedar, and wax myrtle dominated hummocks is by boat only. The GATR tract, located on the mainland, is the only area of Mockhorn Island WMA accessible by car. The 356-acre GATR Tract consists of dense woodlands of pine, oak, and hackberry and some marsh habitat. Spring and fall bring a good selection of migrating wood warblers and shorebirds, and winter produces good numbers of waterfowl. Summer butterflies and dragonflies also add diversity to this site. The woodland trail requires viewing up into the canopy and access into the thicker stands is limited. During the summer though, the woods can be alive with the songs of breeding birds. Large numbers of wintering waterfowl, migrating shorebirds, and songbirds occur at this site, and migrating raptors can be seen along the coast. Wildlife viewing at this site is predictable and not particularly contingent on any one season, although summer is the least productive time of the year.


From the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, exit and go 0.2 miles east, then turn left at the intersection with Rt. 600/Seaside Road. After 1.7 miles, turn east on Jones Cove Road/Rt. 730. The Wildlife Management Area turnoff is 0.7 miles ahead and is marked with a small sign.

Loop Map