Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

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  • Seasons: Spring, Summer
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Site CTW09: Bellyache Swamp


Prior to reaching the site, visitors should scan the extensive loblolly pine clear-cut along both sides of the road. The section adjacent to the road is in its infancy, providing a mix of young pines and warm season grasses. This early successional habitat is excellent for prairie warblers that can be heard singing their buzzy, up-spiraling song. Further along, visiting naturalists can park on the grassy shoulder and scan the bald cypress/hardwood swamp on the east side of the road. With quite a bit of open water, this area is prime habitat for wood ducks. Other waterfowl will also utilize the open water due to its small patches of shrubby vegetation and stumps, which provide cover from potential predators. Woodpeckers can be seen actively seeking grubs and other insect larvae under the bark of the dead standing timber in the swamp. Barred owls may be heard in the distance where the swamp becomes more densely vegetated with mature trees.


From the Airfield 4-H Conference Center, return to SR 729/Turkey Pen Rd and make a right turn. Follow SR 729 to SR 628/ Courtland Rd and make a right turn. Continue on SR 628 for 12 miles (it will change names from Courtland Rd to Wakefield Rd). Turn left onto VA-35 S/Plank Rd. Travel about 3.5 miles. VA-35 S will become US-58 BUS W/Main St. Continue on US-58 for just over 2 miles. Turn right onto US-58 W/Southampton Pkwy and travel about 17 miles (approximately 2 miles past Drewryville). Turn left onto Rt. 652/Barhams Hill Rd and follow it south for about 3 miles to Rt. 661/ Old Church Road. Turn left onto Rt. 661 and continue for 0.8 miles to the swamp.

Loop Map