Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Seasons: All
- Site Contact: (757) 357-5224, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Site Access: Daily. Hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or access permit required.
- Visit Website
Site CTW04: Hog Island Wildlife Management Area
Hog Island is actually a 3,908-acre peninsula that juts into the brackish waters of the James River, creating a mosaic of tidewater habitats that include marsh, tidal channels, swamp, and beach. Agricultural fields and loblolly pine forests surround freshwater sources such as Lawnes Neck and Lower Chippokes Creek. This diversity of habitats, including the large shallow impoundments of Fishhouse Bay and Homewood Creek, attract a vast number of birds, and an exploration of the area will produce a large number of species at any time of the year. Birding the area effectively requires leaving the main road and striking off on foot along the trails that separate the peninsula's major impoundments. Over 30 species of waterfowl and 35 species of shorebirds have been recorded at Hog Island, largely from the wetlands at the northern end of the peninsula. Birding the Carlisle Tract, south of the power plants, gives access to upland communities absent further north. Winter, perhaps the most interesting time to bird this site, brings an assortment of different birds including snow buntings, flocks of snow geese, bufflehead, mergansers, ring-necked and ruddy ducks, and large numbers of bald eagles. Be aware of hunting closures and call ahead to see about blaze orange requirements. Insect repellant is a good idea during most of the year.
From Fort Huger return to SR 10/Old Stage Hwy and turn right (West). Continue for 2.6 miles and turn right on Rt. 650/Hog Island Road. Continue 4.0 miles and turn right on Landing Road. Drive 0.1 miles to the parking lot on the left. Continue north approximately 2.0 miles, passing the Virginia Power Surry Nuclear Power Plant, to the main entrance gate. You will need to stop at the security checkpoint and have photo identification ready. During times of high security, vehicles may be searched or access to this site may be restricted. When the road turns to gravel, you are in the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Hog Island Wildlife Management Area.