Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Seasons: All
- Site Contact: (757) 412-2300, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Site Access: Fee, Daily
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Site CSY02: First Landing State Park
This 2900-acre venue is the most popular state park in Virginia and for good reason. The park features beach, back dunes, upland forest, tidal marsh, and cypress swamp, and contains one of the most endangered habitat types in the world, the maritime forest community. The Park's habitat serves as the farthest northern limit for many semi-tropical species, and the southern limit for many temperate-zone species. During migrations, especially in late April/May, there can be lovely fallouts of neotropical migrants. In the winter, feeding flocks of chickadees, titmice, and warblers, including the uncommon orange-crowned warbler, as well as, the blue-headed vireo can be seen. Nesting species include many warblers, songbirds, and several species of woodpecker. Marine species add to the diversity of animals that occur here. In fact, humpback whales are sometimes seen from shore in winter, as are harbor porpoises (on calm winter days), and bottlenose dolphins during the warm months. Interpretive trails, an excellent visitor center, and excellent venues for photography make this a premier wildlife viewing destination. Several miles of trails that include a bike trail and a boardwalk trail through the cypress swamp, provide access to much of the park. The site also hosts the highest natural points in Southeast Virginia–massive dunes that reach up to 75 feet, and, as the name implies, this park is the first landing site of the permanent English settlers on the American continent.
From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, turn left onto Shore Drive/US 60 and follow it about 6.0 miles to the park entrance on both sides of Shore Drive. For trails, turn right; for the Chesapeake Bay, turn left. Fee: $3 weekdays, $4 weekends.