Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: (276) 783-4860
- Site Access: Often inaccessible in winter. Hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or access permit required.
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Site MCM04: Laurel Bed Lake
Elevation: 3674 feet Laurel Bed Lake is a manmade lake created by the damming of Big Tumbling Creek. The lake and the surrounding area is a popular venue for bird-watching. Migratory waterfowl and shorebirds can be found on this lake. Wood duck and pied-billed grebe have been known to breed here, but are not regular nesters. In the fall, bald eagle may be seen hunting over the lake. Great blue heron is an often-elusive resident. During the summer, an observant and diligent birder may find spotted or solitary sandpiper along lake edges. Intensive programs crafted by local management to ease nesting habits of tree swallow have resulted in the placement of numerous nest boxes around the lake. The surrounding woodlands can be accessed by trails, or well-traveled, worn footpaths of previous birders. These woodlands are excellent for finding migrant and nesting songbirds. Magnolia, black-throated blue, and black-throated green warblers can often be spied within the woodlands south of the upper boat ramp.
From Clinch Mountain WMA headquarters continue north on Rt. 747/Tumbling Creek Road for another 3.0 miles to the fork in the road. Veer left onto a wooden bridge and travel 2.2 miles to reach the road to the dam.