Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

Site Information

  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Fall
  • Site Contact: (757) 253-7072
  • Site Access: Daily. Hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or access permit required.
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Site CES16: Saxis Wildlife Management Area and Related sites


This 5,500 acre Wildlife Management Area (WMA), owned by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, remains one of the regions most pristine marshlands. Michael Marsh, the southern most of the two large tracts that make up the WMA, is managed for waterfowl and is a black duck breeding and wintering ground. A variety of other birds also take advantage of the excellent habitat. Rough-legged hawk and short-eared owl visit the site in the winter, as well as grebes, loons, and migrating gulls such as Bonaparte's. Free School Marsh Free School Marsh, the northern tract of the WMA, is prime habitat for seaside sparrow and marsh wren. Boat-tailed grackles also utilize the site and can be seen displaying from posts, while orchard orioles sing in the scattered trees. Countless fiddler crabs occur in the sloughs that transect the marsh, providing food for large wading birds such as little blue heron and great egret. Saxis Fishing Pier The pier is over open deeper water and may offer opportunities to see ducks, grebes, loons, and migrating gulls.


From Guard Shore, return to the intersection of Rt. 684 and Rt. 779 near Bloxom. Turn left onto Rt. 779 and proceed 3.2 miles north. Turn left onto Rt. 692/Savannah Road. Continue on Rt. 692 for 5.6 miles (Savannah becomes Belinda Road, pay attention to Rt. 692 signs as this road meanders). Turn left on Rt. 695 and travel 0.6 miles. Turn left onto Rt. 788/Hammock Road and drive to end of the road. To get to the fishing pier, return to Rt. 695, turn left and go 3.6 miles. The pier is on the right in the Town of Saxis.

Loop Map