Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: Shawna DeWitt; (540) 668-7640 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Site Access: Free, please check in at the office
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Site PFF01: Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship
The Robert and Dee Leggett Foundation established the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in 1999 to develop, demonstrate and support innovative approaches to environmental stewardship. The center hosts a tremendous variety of activities ranging from community farming to archaeology. Unsurprisingly, with its several miles of trails, this 900-acre tract provides great opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts. A visit to the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship begins with rolling farmland and a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains rising unbroken to the west. The trails gradually move into older and denser deciduous forest and by walking up the powerline, you can access the Appalachian Trail. As you wander through the open fields check the fence lines and areas of dense brush for seed eating birds like indigo buntings or a variety of sparrows such as swamp, Lincoln's and song. Listen as the forest echoes with the tapping of downy, hairy, red-bellied and pileated woodpeckers and the rich flute-like songs of the wood thrush. Small ponds usually hold painted turtles, and occasionally, migrant waterfowl. The thick tangles along the bank can host eastern phoebes and, in the cooler months, numerous white-throated sparrows. As you begin to climb the ridge, magnificent vistas open up behind you, leading out over the forest and farm fields. These areas can ring with the sound of large flocks of American robins in the fall, joined by a few cedar waxwings. This is also a good time to listen and look for yellow-rumped warblers, white-breasted nuthatches and ruby-crowned kinglets as they wander the forest in little groups. Spring along the Blue Ridge is probably the best time of year, since warblers, vireos and tanagers, fresh back from their winter in the Caribbean, sing with all their might.
From the intersection of US 340 and Rt. 671 east of Harpers Ferry, go south on Rt. 671/Harpers Ferry Road for 1.9 miles to the center on the right.