Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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- Site Access: Free, Check website for winter availability
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Site MTJ07: Royal Oaks
Elevation: 2727 ft. Royal Oaks provides a perfect getaway along the Blue Ridge. Situated in Love, Virginia, the cabins and country store can provide a great place to stay or an easy side trip for a rest stop. The grounds of Royal Oaks hold a short trail that takes the visitor through a patch of hardwood forest filled with birds associated with the Blue Ridge. As you walk the trail search for eastern wood-pewee, white-breasted nuthatch, red-eyed vireo, wood thrush, black-and-white, hooded and worm-eating warblers, scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak and eastern towhee. The open area around the cabin can provide views of migrating raptors passing south in the fall. Look for sharp-shined, Cooper's, red-tailed and broad-winged hawks as well as the occasional peregrine falcon or bald eagle. The wildflowers in the area attract a variety of butterflies including pipevine, black and spicebush swallowtails, great spangled fritillary, red-spotted purple and eastern tailed blue. Other wildlife to look for around the property includes white-tailed deer, which are numerous, as well as less common species such as red fox, bobcat and the occasional black bear. Timber rattlesnakes are also reportedly common in the area.
From Montebello, continue west approximately 2.0 miles on SR 56 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Turn right on the Parkway and continue 11.0 miles to Rt. 814.Turn left onto Rt. 814 and continue 0.2 miles to the entrance to Royal Oaks on the left. Continue another 0.1 miles and park at the Love, Virginia Country Store.