Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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- Site Access: Free, Daily ALL VISITORS MUST CHECK IN AT THE OFFICE LOCATED ON THE SECOND FLOOR
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Site MSC08: Roanoke Water Pollution Control Plant
Elevation: 883 ft. This site is one of the better spots for viewing waterfowl and shorebirds in western Virginia. Impoundments, sludge ponds, and extensive mudflats provide ideal habitat for many migratory species, as do the riparian woodlands and riverine edges. In spring, look for migrant shorebirds such as least, semipalmated, white-rumped, and pectoral sandpipers, black-bellied plover, and Wilson's phalarope. Songbirds may also be abundant during spring migration, such as white-eyed vireo, bank, tree, northern rough-winged, and cliff swallows, and blue grosbeak. Summering species can be just as impressive as migrants. You may spy black-necked stilt, short-billed dowitcher, solitary, spotted, and Baird's sandpipers, yellow-crowned night heron, green heron, and wood duck. Osprey and great blue heron are often summer residents here, too. In fall, scope the mudflats to find buff-breasted sandpiper, American golden plover, and American pipit. In the woodland edges, look for fox sparrow and rose-breasted grosbeak. American kestrel and the occasional soaring red-tailed hawk patrol the ponds year-round. The surrounding forest echoes with calls of pileated woodpecker and Carolina wren. Other wildlife abounds as northern water- and black rat snakes, bullfrog, and green and pickerel frogs hunt the water's edges. Red fox hides deep within the forest, as does gray fox. Within the river, in addition to muskrat, you may even find river otter or mink.
From Mill Mountain, return to the Mill Mountain Parkway and turn left (downhill). Follow this down the mountain 1.7 miles to Ivy Street. Turn right on Ivy Street and go 1 block; turn right onto SR 116/Riverland Road. Follow this road 1.2 miles to Bennington Street. Turn left and go 0.9 miles to Carlisle Avenue. Turn right and follow Carlisle Avenue 1 block to Kincaid Street. Turn left and proceed 1 block to Brownlee Avenue. Turn left and follow Brownlee Avenue to the plant. ALL VISITORS MUST CHECK IN AT THE OFFICE LOCATED ON THE SECOND FLOOR.