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Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

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  • Seasons: All
  • Site Contact: (757) 385-5104 mreed@vbgov.com
  • Site Access: Free, Daily Tues - Sun
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Site CSY04: Francis Land House, Great Neck, Beach Garden Parks

Description

This site marks the remnants of a 1,000-acre plantation. The park is interpreted with an elevated boardwalk that provides views of moist woodlands, a creek, and ephemeral ponds. Freshwater and saltwater species such as fiddler crab, turtles, and muskrats can be seen here. Cottonwood/pine woodland provides habitat for woodpeckers, flycatchers, and numerous other species. At least three species of swallowtail butterflies, including the elegant zebra swallowtail, occur here. Other Area Parks to Visit along the way: Great Neck Park From Francis Land House on US-58/Virginia Beach Boulevard, travel east for 1.8 miles, Turn left on North Great Neck Road and proceed north for 3.4 miles. Turn left on Shorehaven Drive and go west for 80 feet, then continue on Shorehaven Drive. Proceed west for 0.3 miles to 2513 Shorehaven Drive. This multi-use park has pinewoods along one side that attract songbirds like brown-headed nuthatch and pine warblers. An observation deck serves as a covered picnic area or as a place to view the extensive marsh that borders the park's rear where ospreys and wintering bald eagles can often be seen. At low tide, the killifish and fiddler crabs provide food for wading birds that also frequent the wetland. Beach Garden Park From Great Neck Park, travel east for 0.3 miles and turn right on North Great Neck Road. Proceed south for 3.6 miles. Turn left on Virginia Beach Boulevard and follow the signs for US 58 East/Laskin Road. Drive 3.5 miles to Baltic Avenue and turn right. Continue approximately 0.2 miles and turn right on Holly Road. The park is almost at the end of the road. This park is slated for renovation in the near future. Wildlife habitats currently consist of extensive mowed fields surrounded by thickets, a small amount of salt marsh, and several ponds. The wetlands and ponds serve to attract shorebirds and puddle ducks during the migrations and Mulberry trees around the perimeter provide forage for songbirds. Weed margins along the walkways provide habitat for many types of butterflies, including hordes of broad-winged skippers. Low-flying military aircraft notwithstanding, the site is worth checking because it provides habitats that are likely to produce interesting songbirds and shorebirds. To continue on to the Virginia Marine Science Museum, return to US 58/Laskin Road and turn right. Follow this to the end and turn right on Pacific Avenue. Follow Pacific Avenue south and bear right onto General Booth Boulevard. Travel 1.0 mile south; the Museum will be on your right

Directions

From Fort Story return to US 60 along Atlantic Avenue; continue east on US 60 for 3.4 miles to Laskin Road/US 58. Travel west on Laskin Road, passing Birdneck Road, First Colonial Road, and Regency Drive. Continue over the overpass following signs for US 58; Laskin Road becomes Virginia Beach Boulevard. Pass Great Neck Road and Lynnhaven Parkway. After about 0.9 miles, turn left onto Kings Grant Road. At the dead end, turn right onto Francis Land Lane. Park in the Francis Land House parking lot on the right before the Rose Hall Apartments. The trailhead is located by the small brick building across the street. Fee: $4, Francis Land House.

Loop Map