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Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

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Site MFS04: Fairy Stone State Park

Description

Elevation: 1003 ft. Opening in 1936, Fairy Stone State Park is one of the largest and oldest state parks in Virginia. The park gets its name from the numerous staurolite crystals that are found in the area. These unique crystals were formed by applying extreme heat and pressure to iron aluminum silicate resulting in the formation of hexagonal crystals. At times, two of these crystals intersect each other, forming small crosses. Legend has it that these crosses were originally the tears of fairies when they heard of Christ's crucifixion. Fairy stones can still be found in an area off SR 57. Visitors can search for and collect these crystals. They are also available at several gift shops in the region. In addition to its unique geology, Fairy Stone State Park has a great deal to offer the wildlife watcher. Mixed deciduous forests around the park complement Fairy Stone Lake as well as the adjacent Philpott Lake. Numerous open areas around the visitor center and camping areas provide habitat for a variety of species including ruby-throated hummingbird, a variety of woodpeckers, eastern wood-pewee, eastern phoebe, white-breasted nuthatch, Carolina wren, blue-gray gnatcatcher, wood thrush, gray catbird, brown thrasher, three species of vireo, numerous warbler species, scarlet tanager, eastern towhee, and red-winged blackbird. Waterfowl can also be found around both lakes in winter, while warblers, vireos and other passerines are found in greater numbers during migration. Pay close attention to the banks of Fairy Stone Lake for black-shouldered spinyleg and slaty and widow skimmers. Butterflies also frequent the park with large showy spicebush and eastern tiger swallowtails joining the more subtle skippers, azures and hairstreaks.

Directions

From Philpott Lake-Goose Point, return south on Rt. 822 to SR 57A. Turn right and continue west 2.0 miles to SR 346. Turn right and follow SR 346 1.0 mile to entry gate.

Loop Map