Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site MPO12: Harvey's Knob Overlook
Elevation: 2571 ft. Harvey's Knob Overlook is a popular hawk-watch site along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Located at 2524 feet, this site is heavily visited in the fall by local birders enraptured by migratory raptors. In addition to large numbers of broad-winged hawks that are in greatest density during mid-September, look for osprey and bald eagle. Accipiters, such as sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks, peak in numbers during the month of October. Falcons such as peregrine falcon and merlin are seen in smaller numbers during this time. Later in October and into November, look for red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks, with a possibility of seeing an occasional golden eagle or northern goshawk. Non-raptor species, such as common nighthawk, tundra swan, common loon, and several species of swallow can also be seen during fall migration. A trailhead into the surrounding woodlands can be productive for additional wildlife-viewing. Dark-eyed junco, indigo bunting, scarlet tanager, and wood thrush nest within these woods. During September and October, migrating passerines can sometimes be seen in spectacular numbers, especially warblers. White-tailed deer are abundant, some with little caution, approach strangers with curiosity. This site also offers interpretive signage on hawk-watching and provides identification tips to novice hawk-watchers.
From Johnson’s Orchards turn left on Rt. 680 Sheep Creek Road and continue for 1.1 miles to Rt. 680 Murrells Gap Road. Turn left onto Rt. 680 Murrells Gap Road and travel 3.7 mles to Rt. 695 Goose Creek Valley Road. Turn right on Rt. 695 Goose Creek Valley Road and follow it for 3.9 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Turn left on to the Blue Ridge Parkway South and continue for 3.0 miles to the Harvey’s Knob Overlook. To get to I-81, follow the Blue Ridge Parkway south approximately 9.5 miles and turn right on US 460 West. Follow this road approximately 3.0 miles to ALT US 220 North. Turn right on ALT US 220 North and follow it for approximately 5.0 miles to I-81. From here, travel south on I-81 to begin the Roanoke Valley or Star City Loops.