Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Seasons: Spring, Fall, Winter
- Site Contact: (757) 442-3049 sparker@TNC.org
- Site Access: Free, Daily
Site CES11: Wachapreague Interpreted Marsh View
On your way to Wachapreague, you'll cross the Machipongo River Bridge, where birding is tidally dependent. Grassy flats border the edges of the channel, and when the tide goes out, these become mudflats that provide optimum habitat for migrant shorebirds searching for a quick meal and a place to rest. The Marsh is a former Phragmites filled dredge spoil site, owned by The Nature Conservancy. It was converted into an interpretive natural area in partnership with the Town of Wachapreague, which maintains the area for public use. This marsh front viewing area is a great place for birding in this “Little City by the Sea,” once also known as the “Flounder Capital of the World.” In winter, diving ducks, mergansers, loons, snow geese and brant can be seen in Bradford Bay. Spring and fall can provide glimpses of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. In summer, swallows and purple martins visit the area while oystercatchers, terns and three species of gulls can be seen along tidal creeks and bays. In the adjacent marshes you might hear several clapper rails, even if you never see one. The nearby Quinby harbor provides some aquatic access for those wanting to view the local marsh flora and fauna while cruising in a canoe or kayak.
From Willis Wharf, continue north on Rt. 603/Willis Wharf Road to Rt. 600/Seaside Road. Turn right on Rt. 600 and travel 7.0 miles to SR 182/Quinby Bridge Road. Go 2.3 miles on SR 182 to Rt. 605/Bradfords Neck Road. Turn left on Rt. 605 and proceed 4.0 miles to SR 180/Wachapreague Road. Turn right on SR 180, proceed 0.4 miles, and turn right onto Atlantic Avenue. The saltmarsh overlook is 0.3 miles past the intersection on the left.