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 MLP07: Pound River: Active Beaver Area and Recreational Area
Elevation: 1538 ft., 1379 ft. These two access points along the Pound River offer nature-lovers abundant wildlife viewing opportunities. The Active Beaver Area is a driving loop that meanders through small communities, US Forest Service lands, and agricultural fields. There are several pull-offs along this loop that allow onlookers a better and closer view of the river and surrounding woodlands. A sizeable beaver population, providing a unique ecosystem and home to diverse wildlife, maintains the river bottom. In addition to beaver, look for other wildlife such as red fox, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, and least weasel. The riparian woodlands are home to a number of nesting birds, including blue-gray gnatcatcher, black-and-white and hooded warblers, downy woodpecker, wood thrush, and ovenbird. Green heron can be found wading in shallow edges of the river, and belted kingfisher, perching from higher perches on tree limbs. The more open and/or shrubby areas behind the river are home to indigo bunting, song sparrow, eastern kingbird, and gray catbird. The Pound Recreation Area offers a 2-3 mile hiking trail along riparian woodlands that surround the river. This wide portion of the river is home to species such as great blue heron, belted kingfisher, and wood duck, and is a good place to find migrating waterfowl in the appropriate season. Access into the woods allows wildlife viewers a closer look at characteristic eastern hardwood forest birds, such as ovenbird, wood thrush, eastern wood-pewee, and yellow-billed cuckoo during the nesting season. Cedar waxwing, great crested flycatcher, and chipping sparrow can be found closer to the campground. Damsel- and dragonflies are also attracted to the wide river. Look for slaty, widow, and great blue skimmers, as well as the ubiquitous blue dasher and eastern pondhawk. Woodland edges are good places to spy both ebony and river jewelwings. Along this trail, keep your eyes open for slow-moving eastern box turtle or the vibrantly-colored red eft, as well as other reptilian treasures such as eastern garter, eastern hognose, and northern water snakes. Be cautious of northern copperhead that may be lurking among the leaf litter.
Pound Recreational Area: From Birch Knob, return via FR 616 to Rt. 611. Turn right, following Rt. 611 west for 2.3 miles. Turn left at Rt. 631/Brush Creek Road and proceed for less than 0.1 miles to the sign for Pound Creek Recreational Area and Rt. 754 at the curve in the road. Turn left into the campground entrance and continue 1.0 mile; turn right and go 0.6 miles to the campground. Active Beaver Area Loop: From Pound Recreational Area, return to Rt. 631/Brush Creek Road and turn right, following Rt. 631 west for 3.2 miles to Rt. 630. Turn right on Rt. 630 and follow it 5.8 miles to the intersection of Rt. 630 and Rt. 666. Turn right, continuing on Rt. 630/South Mountain Road for 4.0 miles to its intersection with US 23 north of Pound.