Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site MSH02: Virginia Highlands Community College
Elevation: 2138 ft. The Virginia Highlands Community College campus is a series of large grassy fields, some of which are closely mowed while others are scattered with wildflowers and widely dispersed trees. However, the college has recently completed a long-term master plan, which calls for a landscape makeover. The college hopes to use its growing horticulture program to increase the planting of native plants and target landscape enhancements for birds and other wildlife. Even with the landscape overhaul, the campus habitat offers plenty for the nature enthusiast. These rolling hillsides of approximately 100-acres are great for open country birds and the recent addition of numerous nest boxes makes several of the species easy to approach and photograph. Typical birds of the campus include mourning dove, ruby-throated hummingbird, woodpeckers, northern flicker, eastern phoebe, eastern kingbird, tree swallow, Carolina and house wrens, eastern bluebird, eastern meadowlark, and orchard oriole. In addition, American kestrel and red-tailed hawk can be seen occasionally flying over the campus. Spring and fall migration produce a myriad of transient warblers on campus. In winter, look for northern harrier and a variety of sparrows.
From Damascus, return on US 58 to I-81; go south on I-81 for 4.5 miles to Exit #14/Jonesboro Road. Turn right on Jonesboro Road and travel 0.2 miles to the community college entrance on the right. Go 0.2 miles to the first possible left turn. Turn left and immediately left again into the parking area. The trailhead is just down the hill. Another access point to the trail can be found by continuing straight on the entry road 0.2 miles into a large parking area. Brochures and more information can be found at the administration building. Take the second left after entry.