Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

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  • Site Contact: (434) 525-7522
  • Site Access: Daily. Hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or access permit required.
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Site PJR03: James River Wildlife Management Area


The James River WMA runs for just over a mile along the north shore of the James River, and encompasses more than a thousand acres of prolific habitat. Along the entry road, check the numerous dead snags for perched raptors along with the more numerous American crows. Red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks regularly occur, as do sharp-shinned hawks and American kestrels. Ospreys prefer the area next to the river. Just upstream from the boat landing parking area, lies a freshwater marsh managed for waterfowl. Anytime during the fall and winter, visitors can encounter northern pintail, blue-winged and green-winged teal and northern shovelers here, and during the summer wood ducks. Check the vegetation nearby for common yellowthroats, which can be very numerous during migration. The river itself is worth checking for waterfowl with diving ducks, especially mergansers, joining the resident wood ducks. The river also supports monstrous eastern river cooters, which are often seen sunning along the banks. Another reptile to be on the lookout for is the rough-green snake, which can be found almost anywhere in the area. Spring and summer are the best times to search for butterflies, with monarchs passing through on their way south in the fall. The colorful American rubyspots can be seen dancing along the river, while Halloween pennants play in the fields.


From James River State Park, return to Rt. 606 and follow it back to Rt. 604 and SR 56. Turn left onto SR 56 and continue back across the James River to Rt. 626/Howardsville Road. Turn right onto Rt. 626/Howardsville Road and follow it for approximately 1.0 miles to Rt. 743/Midway Mills Road. Turn right and go 0.3 miles then veer left and continue 0.8 miles into the James River WMA.

Loop Map