Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: Michael Campbell; (804) 492-9523 email@example.com
- Site Access: Fee, open daily 8am to sunset
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Site PHP03: Bear Creek Lake State Park
Bear Creek Lake State Park serves as the centerpiece for Cumberland State Forest. An extensive network of trails and excellent camping facilities ring this manmade lake, providing numerous opportunities to explore nature and watch wildlife. A visit to the deciduous forest along the lakeshore is often rewarded with feeding flocks, sometimes containing dozens of birds. These are usually filled with Carolina chickadees and tufted titmice, but sometimes attract less common or migrant species including northern parula and pine warblers, yellow-billed cuckoo, eastern wood-pewee or red-eyed vireos. Other species to look for in the area include hairy woodpeckers and white-breasted nuthatches, which can be seen displaying their amazing acrobatic skills as they clamber over dead limbs. Also keep an eye open for fruiting bushes and trees that can support hoards of birds, especially during migration when large flocks of American robins join resident northern cardinals to gorge. In fall this could also turn up wood, Swainson's, and gray-cheeked thrushes for those interested in challenging their identification skills. The lake itself is a magnet for wildlife with dozens of eastern painted turtles soaking up the sunshine along its banks while green herons stalk the shallows. In winter an assortment of ducks can be found, in addition to the more regular wood ducks that nest nearby. Bald eagles have even been seen briefly passing overhead.
From Ampthill Plantation return to SR 45. Turn right on SR 45 and continue south for approximately 12 miles to US 60. Turn right on US 60 and continue west for 1.8 miles to Rt. 622//Trents Mill Road. Turn right onto Trent's Mill Road and follow it north for 2.5 miles and turn left onto Rt. 629/Oak Hill Road. Follow this a short distance to Rt. 666/Bear Creek Lake Road. Turn left and head south briefly to Bear Creek Lake State Park.