Blandy Experimental Farm and State Arboretum of Virginia
Elevation: 580 ft.
The Blandy Experimental Farm is a field station operated by the University of Virginia. Its 700 acres are a good representation of the habitats found in the Shenandoah Valley, making it an excellent spot to watch birds and other wildlife. The Orland E. White Arboretum sits at the center of the property, providing an excellent opportunity for visitors to familiarize themselves with the local flora. The Virginia Native Plant Trail is not to be missed during spring and early summer when the wildflowers are vibrantly in bloom. The numerous wildflowers on the property attract a high diversity of butterflies, while the various ponds and marshes attract a variety of dragon- and damselflies.
Birds to search for in the woods and meadows of the farm include red-tailed hawk and American kestrel as they patrol the open fields and Cooper’s hawk darting through the woods. Woodpeckers on the farm include red-headed, red-bellied, downy and pileated, as well as northern flicker. The farm’s extensive undisturbed meadowlands provide nesting habitat for several of Virginia’s waning species, which are declining or have disappeared elsewhere in the state. These species include northern bobwhite, loggerhead shrike, dickcissel, and grasshopper and vesper sparrows. Winter on the farm is the best time to search for sparrows and hawks. Even short-eared owl has been reported on the farm.
From Smithfield Farm, return to SR 7 and continue west 2.5 miles to US 340. Turn left and go 8.6 miles to US 50 East/US 17 South. Turn left onto US 50/US 17 and go 1.5 miles to the arboretum on the right. Turn right and proceed 0.4 miles to parking area.