Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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- Site Access: Free, Daily
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Site MPO04: Ruskin Freer Nature Preserve
Elevation: 611 ft. The 115 acres of the Ruskin Freer Nature Preserve nestled along the Blackwater Creek Nature Trail offer hardwood forests and creekside habitats. The woodlands are primarily composed of oak, pine, tulip poplar, sycamore, and hickory trees, with an understory of spicebush, joe-pye weed, wild ginger, and mayapples. These woodlands are summer homes to nesting wood thrush, scarlet and summer tanagers. Spring and fall can bring about a larger diversity of warblers, thrushes, and vireos. Resident species include pileated woodpecker and song sparrow. Interpretive signage throughout the preserve identifies various plant and tree species. Plentiful wildflowers, such as black-eyed Susan, goldenrod, and white lobelia attract eastern tiger and spicebush swallowtails, great spangled fritillary and a variety of skippers. Other wildlife making their homes within this preserve include eastern box turtle, eastern garter snake, wood frog, and eastern chipmunk.
Entry to Ruskin Freer Nature Preserve is accessible via a short walk along the trail at Blackwater Creek Natural Area.