Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: Ron Circe; (703) 669-0316 email@example.com
- Site Access: Free, 8am - 4pm Every Saturday and Sunday
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Site PFF08: Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve
Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve acts as a nature oasis in an ever-growing sea of development. This 695-acre preserve is a reminder of what the northern Virginia Piedmont area once looked like. A series of well-maintained trails take visitors through various preserve habitats and provide ample opportunities for wildlife watching. Just downhill from the Visitor's Center, check the pond for waterfowl, great blue herons and even the occasional bald eagle. The concrete springhouse just above the pond and its small grove of oaks should be checked for eastern phoebes and eastern bluebirds. At times, various small flocks of yellow-rumped and palm warblers can be seen, joined by other warblers in spring and fall. As you start walking through the fields, watch where you step since woodchucks and their burrows are everywhere. Look in the open fields in late fall and winter for numerous sparrows. Species to look for include savannah, vesper and Lincoln's sparrows, while the heavier regrowth near the bottom of the hill holds song, white-crowned and white-throated sparrows as well as eastern towhees. The two retired grain silos on the north side of the field usually host a family of barn owls, which can sometimes be seen at dusk hunting over the open fields. At the bottom of the hill, trails enter the riparian forest along the banks of Goose Creek. This woodline is a great spot to look for perched raptors surveying the fields in search of a potential meal. Pay special attention to red-shouldered, sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks. The woodline is also a good place to watch for white-tailed deer, as they dart to seek cover after being flushed from the meadows. No matter what time of year, a visit to Banshee Reeks is sure to please, whether you see a family of red-headed woodpeckers feeding their newly fledged young or an array of dragonflies zipping across the pond.
From Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, return to Rt. 675/Beulah Road Turn left and go north on Rt. 702/Beulah Road 0.9 miles to Rt. 675/Browns Mill Road Turn left (west) and go 1.6 miles to Rt. 674/Hunter Mill Road Go left (south) on Rt. 674 and follow it for 0.2 miles to SR 267/Dulles Toll Road Merge onto SR 267 and follow it west for 11.0 miles to Exit #6. Go southwest on Rt. 772/Ryan Road and follow this for 4.9 miles to Evergreen Mills Road Turn right (north) and go 2.6 miles to The Woods Road on the left. Go west on The Woods Road and follow it for about 0.9 miles to Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve on the left. Return to Rt. 771/The Woods Road and turn left. Follow this to US 15 South. From here you can follow US 15 south to Haymarket and begin the Culpeper Loop.