Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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- Site Access: Free, open daily
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Site PMR10: Fluvanna Heritage Trail - East
Step out onto the bluffs along the eastern end of the Fluvanna Heritage Trail for a scenic panorama of the Rivanna River below and its sandy shoreline. Starting from the parking lot, the trail leads through open meadows loaded with indigo buntings, in the spring and summer, and sparrows in fall and winter. White-tailed deer may be seen, at any time, venturing out from under the cover of the adjacent forest to graze in the meadow. Along the meadow's edges, northern mockingbirds can be heard imitating everyone in the forest, while northern cardinals and Carolina chickadees chatter nearby. Continue through the open meadows to the mature deciduous forest and catch a glimpse of the massive pileated woodpeckers flashing overhead, or whittling a dead limb into a piece of art. Further inspection of the canopy could produce red-eyed vireos or eastern wood-pewees. As the trail meanders down from the bluff to the banks of the river, scan the trees for an eastern phoebe perched in the undergrowth quietly wagging its tail. The river itself is often alive with cacophonous belted kingfishers and families of wood ducks. While exploring the trail, visitors should watch for the numerous butterflies like the bold hackberry emperors which often perch on you in search of moisture. Don't forget to also check for the subtle pattern of pearl crescents that flitter in the shadows.
From the Fluvanna Heritage Trail-West, return to SR 53. Turn left and proceed 1.3 miles to a break in the fencerow. Turn left onto a dirt road, which leads to the East Trailhead of Heritage Trail. To return to I-64, return to SR 53, turn right, and follow this state scenic highway west to SR 20. Turn right on SR 20 and I-64 is straight ahead. From here you can follow I-64 west to US 29. Turn south onto US 29 and begin the James River Loop.