Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

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  • Site Contact: John B. Bazuin, Jr.; (703) 305-7381,
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Site PGS06: Lake Anna - Dike 3


Lake Anna is the largest freshwater body in the Central Piedmont. This massive reservoir was impounded in 1971 as a cooling lake for the North Anna Nuclear Power Facility and has been attracting interesting wildlife ever since. Due to the warming effects of the power plant and the reservoir's large size, it is usually the last freshwater reservoir to freeze in the winter. This results in high concentrations of waterfowl which could include a few unusual species looking for a place to stop. Species to be on the lookout for in winter include common loon, red-necked and horned grebes, tundra swan and diving ducks such as redhead, ring-necked duck and greater and lesser scaup. In shallower waters look for dabblers such as American black duck, American widgeon and green-winged teal. The riprap along the dike is a good spot to search for snow buntings and sometimes Lapland longspurs in the depths of winter. Bald eagles keep watch over the lake year-round. During periods of drought the reservoir recedes, exposing muddy, sandy and rocky shores, a favored habitat for least, spotted and pectoral sandpipers, American golden and black-bellied plovers, Wilson's phalaropes and American avocet, especially during spring and fall migrations. The open waters can also attract more coastal species such as laughing and Bonaparte's gulls and Caspian and Forster's terns. The lake is especially worth checking after a hurricane since more pelagic species such as bridled and sooty terns often blow inshore, and other coastal species, such as royal and sandwich terns and black skimmers, may also appear. During the summer months the lake is less productive for birds but holds a good variety of dragonflies with slaty skimmers and eastern amberwings skirting the surface and damselflies such as Rambur's forktail hiding in the reed beds. Butterflies concentrate in the moist muddy areas sometimes producing clouds of eastern tiger swallowtails, pearl crescents and American snouts.


Leaving Buckner-Bumpass Park turn right (northeast) on Rt. 601/Bumpass Road and follow it for 2.1 miles through Bumpass to Greenes Corner. Turn left on Rt. 601 which becomes Greenes Corner Road. After another 2.1 miles turn left onto Eastham Road and continue 0.7 miles to Moody Town Road. Turn right and drive 0.7 miles to the parking area on the right.

Loop Map