Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site PHP06: Sandy River Reservoir
Sandy River Reservoir sits just south of US 460 and offers easy access to a large reservoir with plenty of possibilities for wildlife. The open water attracts a variety of waterfowl each fall and winter. Search the deep waters for diving ducks such as lesser scaup and buffleheads. These could be joined by a variety of grebes including pied-billed and horned and even loons from time to time; in shallower waters search for gadwall and American widgeon among the more common mallards. The shoreline is also frequented by ring-billed gulls, which can gather in impressive flocks and are sometimes joined by rarer species. At any time of year an osprey or even bald eagle could turn up overhead. Search the woods along the shoreline for resident species such as red-bellied woodpeckers and white-breasted nuthatches. During migration, warblers and vireos such as northern parula and red-eyed vireos join flocks of Carolina chickadees and tufted titmice. In the more open areas around the reservoir eastern bluebirds are numerous and American kestrels can be seen perched on dead snags and telephone poles.
From Wilck's Lake return to US 460 East and follow it east for 5.5 miles to Rt. 640/Monroe Church Road. Turn right (south) on Rt. 640 and follow it south for 0.7 miles to Rt. 792/Reservoir Road. Turn left (east) onto Rt. 792 and proceed 0.5 miles to the main recreational access of the Sandy River Reservoir.