Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site MRV02: Carvins Cove Recreation Area
Elevation: 1174 ft. Carvins Cove Recreation Area is a 13,000-acre watershed with a 600-acre reservoir. In addition to being a popular birding and boating spot among the local members of the community, this site also possesses great potential as a venue for wildlife watching. Several trails can be accessed from the main entrance so be sure to ask for a trail map at the office that you can also use at site 4 on the upper side of the reservoir. The open waters and surrounding mudflats can provide excellent views of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, including gulls and terns. In the summer, belted kingfisher, green heron, double-crested cormorant, spotted sandpiper, and fly-over barn swallow patrol this reservoir and its edges. In the winter, look for bufflehead, common loon, occasionally common merganser, and even bald eagle. The surrounding woodlands are comprised of hardwood forests, pine stands, and mixed hardwoods. Within these wooded areas, look for resident great horned owl, wild turkey, and red-tailed hawk. In the summer, look for nesting species such as scarlet tanager, worm-eating warbler, yellow-breasted chat, great crested flycatcher, and whip-poor-will. Dragonfly diversity can be spectacular on a hot summer day. Look for widow and slaty skimmers, black saddlebags, prince baskettail, common green darner, and eastern amberwing. Butterflies flit among blooming wildflowers in colorful array; look for eastern tiger swallowtail, red-spotted purple, silver-spotted skipper, and great spangled fritillary.
From Woodpecker Ridge Nature Center, return to US 11 South and follow it 5.6 miles to just north of Hollins. Turn right on Rt. 648/Reservoir Road and continue 2.6 miles to Carvins Cove.