Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site PHE01: Scotchtown, Home of Patrick Henry
Scotchtown is one of Virginia's oldest plantation houses. The land was settled in 1717 with the manor house believed to have been built soon after in 1719. Perhaps its most famous resident was Patrick Henry, the first Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of the main forces behind the Bill of Rights and the orator famous for his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech given in nearby Richmond. This house also hosted a young Dolly Madison and her family before she went on to marry James Madison and become the first first lady of the United States. Obviously this great old home has seen many changes since its construction. However, the grounds of this great plantation still house many of the same species from Henry's day. Wild turkey and northern bobwhite still scrape for seeds along the edges of the fields, while flocks of chipping sparrows and American goldfinches fill the hedgerows. When exploring the grounds, check the treetops for northern cardinals and listen for blue jays crying from further in the woods. In the summer, check for chimney swifts as they chatter overhead and near dusk listen for the peenting of common nighthawks. The nearby fields come alive in winter with flocks of sparrows as well as horned larks, which could occur in the least vegetated areas. At this time in the garden, listen for the chipping of yellow-rumped warblers and the thin rattle of ruby-crowned kinglets. These calls are supplemented by the high-pitched squeaks of golden-crowned kinglets emanating from the conifers. Cross your fingers and you could be surprised by a red-breasted nuthatch or brown creeper.
From I-95 in Ashland, take Exit #92-B and go west on SR 54/England Street for 9.2 miles to Rt. 671/Scotchtown Road. Turn right and proceed 0.2 miles to Rt. 685/Scotchtown Road. Turn right and go 1.1 miles to Rt. 740; then turn left and continue 0.1 miles into Scotchtown.