Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site PCT06: Southside Virginia Community College, Hiking Trail at Christanna Campus
The campus of the Southside Virginia Community College is blessed with a beautiful natural setting in their backyard. Here, a well-designed nature trail winds its way through the woods showing visitors a variety of habitats and their associated wildlife. The woods themselves can be quiet at times but careful listening and searching will turn up some exciting surprises. Listen for the thin chipping of distant chickadees and titmice to find less regular species that join these denizens during migration. A red-eyed or yellow-throated vireo may join them high overhead or perhaps a passing hooded warbler may follow in their path down in the undergrowth. Listen carefully for the subtle difference between the calls of downy and hairy woodpeckers, which are both regular to these woods. Moving out onto the more manicured parts of the campus, check the large pond for colorful eastern painted turtles basking in the sun. The leaf litter along the forest edge holds the five-lined skink, which scurries for cover as you approach. Notice the bright blue tails of the young that fade in adult males but remain a blue-gray color in females. The pond is also home to deep blue slaty skimmers, tiny blue dashers, numerous eastern pondhawks, and several other species of dragonflies.
From Lake Gordon return briefly on Rt. 799 to Union Level Road. Turn left and go 0.5 miles to US 1. Turn left (southeast) on US 1/N. Mecklenburg Avenue and follow it 4.6 miles to US 58/E. Atlantic Street, continue 1.2 miles to I-85. Go north on I-85 for 14.3 miles to Exit #27. Go southeast on SR 46 for 0.2 miles to Campus Drive. Turn right (west) on Campus Drive and follow it to Southside Virginia Community College.