Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: (276) 835-9544, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Site Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset; admission free
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Site MLP04: John W. Flanagan Reservoir
Elevation: 1414 ft., 1469 ft., The Lower Twin Area is one of the many recreational areas within the Flanagan Reservoir area. Here, outdoor lovers will find picnicking, camping, fishing, hiking, parking, and amphitheatre facilities. This is an excellent area to look for birds typical of riparian habitats, such as eastern phoebe, belted kingfisher, green heron, common yellowthroat, and northern parula. Other woodland birds, such as black-and-white warbler, wood thrush, and indigo bunting, can be found in the surrounding woodlands. Larger predatory birds, such as broad-winged and red-shouldered hawk, nest in these woodlands. Barred and great horned owls are common and are often heard calling at night. Familiar dragon- and damselflies, such as bluet, fragile and rambur's forktails, and blue-ringed dancer, line the banks of Lower Twin Branch. Slaty skimmer, prince baskettail, and unicorn clubtail can be found darting above these waters. Northern water snakes patrol this waterway from within, but occasionally can be found basking in the vegetated banks. Red-spotted newt can easily be seen in the shallow ends of the branch, on both the sandy floors and the rocky shores of the boat ramp. The area by the dam is probably best for viewing migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Some access to woodland edges allows for glimpses of eastern towhee, cedar waxwing, and gray catbird. Great blue heron is a common hunter of critters within these waters and should be easy found in the summer.
To access the Dam Area: From Breaks Interstate Park, go south on SR 80 for 8.2 miles to SR 63. Turn right on SR 63, heading west 3.7 miles to Davis Ridge. Turn right and travel west on Davis Ridge for 0.5 miles to Rt. 739. Turn right and follow Rt. 739 for 1.3 miles to the dam on the left. To access the Lower Twin Area: Continue north on Rt. 739 for 1.9 miles to Rt. 611. Turn left on Rt. 611 and follow it west for 2.5 miles to the Lower Twin Area.