Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
Site MFR02: G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area
Elevation: 1006 ft. G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area provides several access points to the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This area is primarily forested with a few clearings and the 10-acre Thompson Lake on the eastern side along Rt. 688. The majority of the forest in this area was originally dominated by oak and hickory. Many of the oaks died due to gypsy moth infestation. Currently, pole-sized poplar, red maple and ash are the most prevalent species. The variety of elevations within this management area provide for a greater diversity of bird life. Many of Virginia's woodland birds can be found here with eastern wood-pewee, Carolina wren, red-eyed vireo and eastern towhee calling throughout the day. Several species of warbler nest in the area with worm-eating, black-and-white, hooded, Kentucky and cerulean all being recorded, and being joined by many more species during migration. Thompson Lake is worth checking in the summer months for a variety of dragon- and damselflies, including eastern amberwing, common whitetail, and widow skimmer. Butterflies are also present with eastern tiger and spicebush swallowtails, pearl crescent and eastern comma all congregating along the moist banks of the lake.
From Caledonia Farm, return to Flint Hill and travel north on US 522 for 0.1 miles. Turn right onto Crest Hill Rd./Rt. 647 and follow it 7.6 miles to Leeds Manor Rd./Rt. 688 in Jerry's Shop. Turn left on Rt. 688 and continue north 10.6 miles, crossing I-66, to the G. Richard Thompson WMA parking area on the left. A second parking area is located 2.8 miles north along Rt. 688. The area can also be accessed from Exit #13 off I-66. Exit to the south of the interstate and continue to SR 55 East. Turn left and go 1.3 miles to Rt. 638/Freezeland Road. Continue up the ridge to the top along Rt. 638 for 3.9 miles north of SR 55. Several additioanl parking areas are available along Rt. 638 once it becomes a gravel road; continue for 1.2, 2.0 and 2.6 miles further up the road.