Virginia.gov

Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

Site Information

  • Seasons: Spring, Summer
  • Site Contact: vacanebrake@yahoo.com
  • Site Access: Free, Daily

Facilities

Site CTW09: Bellyache Swamp

Description

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.

Directions

From Cypress Springs Farm, return to US 460 and turn right (east). Proceed 4.3 miles to US 258/Walters Highway. Turn right (west) and continue 12.6 miles. Turn right at the stop sign onto Business 58/258. Go 1.7 miles and turn right on Mechanic Street. Drive 0.1 miles and turn left onto 4th Street, which soon becomes Clay Street. Proceed 4.7 miles on Clay Street and turn right onto US 58 West. Continue approximately 20.0 miles west to Rt. 652 (approximately 2 miles past Drewryville.). Turn left onto Rt. 652 and follow it south for about 3 miles to Rt. 661. Turn left onto Rt. 661/Old Church Road and continue for 0.8 miles to the swamp.

Loop Map