Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Seasons: Spring, Fall, Winter
- Site Contact: (757) 331-2483
- Site Access: Free, Daily
Other Trails Nearby
Site CES05: Cape Charles
A plethora of birdwatching opportunities are available in the vicinity of Cape Charles. From the intersection of SR 184/Stone Road and US Highway 13, turn west onto SR 184 toward the town of Cape Charles. After 1.8 miles you'll find the Cape Charles Museum, where there is an interpretive center and bird feeding stations. County bird checklists may be obtained here. From the Museum, turn left onto the Stone Road and, after two blocks (0.1 miles), turn right onto Fig Street. Go five blocks (0.4 miles) to the lake on your left at Washington Avenue. Migrant waterfowl and gulls can often be seen here. Continue north on Fig Street for 0.2 miles to Kings Creek Marina, where clapper rails and shorebirds can be found in season. During winter storms, many species of waterfowl take refuge here. Return to the Washington Avenue Lake, turning right onto Washington Avenue. Go two blocks to Bay Avenue. Turn left onto Bay Avenue and park along the shore of Chesapeake Bay. To your right are pilings, the remains of an old seaside restaurant, now used by many roosting gulls and terns in the evening. A short walk up the boardwalk, wooden overlooks offer a vista scanning the flats at low tide for shorebirds, gulls, and terns. About eighteen species of shorebird have been recorded here. On higher tides, look for bay and sea duck species in the cooler months. Bay Avenue ends in 0.1 miles at Mason Avenue, where a fishing jetty and fun pier at the harbor's mouth offers a walk for oldsquaw and purple sandpiper among other species. Gulls, including the very occasional lesser black-backed, roost here through the day, being most numerous in morning and late afternoon. In mid-March, migrating brant appear on the flats. There are restrooms available at the base of the pier. Watch all swallows here. In addition to a few pairs of northern rough-winged swallows nesting around the harbor, there are many tree and barn swallows, and purple martins also nesting nearby. From Bay Avenue, turn left onto Mason Avenue, and, at 0.6 miles, bear right onto Rt. 642/Old Cape Charles Road. After passing over the “Hump” overpass (0.3 mile), turn right onto Bayshore Road (here Rt. 1108). In 0.2 miles, Rt. 1108 becomes Marina Road, which forks to the right. Turn right here and continue 0.4 miles to the Harbor, where gulls, loons, and diving ducks often abound, including sometimes oldsquaw in small numbers. Nearby, the Sustainable Technology Industrial Park's trails can be very productive for warblers and vireos during fall migration. Backtrack and turn right onto Rt. 642. In 0.2 miles, you'll see the Bay Creek Golf Course on your right, which is an Audubon Signature Series course, designed with wildlife in mind. Several interesting bird species have been noted here.
From Kiptopeke State Park, return to US 13N. Drive 6.5 miles and turn left onto SR 184W/Stone Road.