Thursday, March 22, 2012

Birding and Wildlife Trails near The Claiborne House in Virginia

We have a link on our Sites of Interest page at The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast to Birding and Wildlife Trails here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. 
While we do not have the great migratory fly ways here in these mountains like those on the coast (we do have the Raptors of course and plenty of other beautiful birds) we have woodlands and meadows that birds "flock to!"
We have this guide for our guests at the inn

Click here to view the Mountain Phase Loops of the Birding and Wildlife Trails in Virginia.

A few recommended loops would be:

Peaks of Otter Loop 

Peaks of Otter 


This loop offers venues that are all within sight of the Peaks of Otter, named for the three peaks at the headwaters of the Big Otter River. This is a loop that is sure to satisfy every wildlife-watching aspiration in the mountain region of Virginia, including views of the James River, stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway, historical sites, and large areas of neotropical breeding grounds. Of particular interest to nature enthusiasts may be Warbler Road, known as a great migrant "trap", as well as breeding habitat for songbirds, or the Peaks of Otter, which is home to the endemic Peaks of Otter salamander. For visitors that welcome a rich historical experience to their nature explorations, the Natural Bridge is an imperative must-see.

Fairy stones


The small pinkish-brown Fairy Stones appear everywhere across Virginia in state park gift shops and in souvenir stands along the Blue Ridge, but to find them naturally, the visitor must come to Fairy Stone State Park. Here, among the mighty white pines and massive yellow poplars, just back from the shores of Philpott Lake, is where they originate. These crisscrossed staurolite crystals are found few other places on the planet and never in such abundance as at Fairy Stone State Park. In addition to the unique geology, the Fairy Stone area combines a mix of wildlife known from the western mountains and the central piedmont. Whether searching for brown-headed nuthatches and yellow-throated warblers in the area's pine trees or scanning the reservoir from every available vantage for unusual waterfowl, wildlife watching opportunities abound throughout this loop. As the visitor travels from site to site, the rolling foothills of the Piedmont gradually give way to the Blue Ridge, providing a vantage to look back and survey the path traveled. Even without finding any Fairy Stones, the searching will surely provide wildlife watching experiences long to be remembered.

Sweet Mountain Laurel Loop
Mountain Laurel


The sites on this loop are located on or near the southern portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. The scenery is breath-taking, and each of these sites offers an unusual glimpse into the beauty of the Blue Ridge. Please be aware that while the Parkway may be closed during winter months, during the rest of the year, this area will overwhelm you with its natural beauty. This loop provides a nice amalgam of private and public lands, outdoor recreation, wineries, and bed-and-breakfasts. The drive from site to site is almost as amazing as the sites themselves; the Blue Ridge Parkway offers spectacular vistas, with overlooks stationed every few miles. Many of these sites, such as Mabry Mill and Buffalo Mountain Natural Area Preserve, also have rich historical backgrounds. Colorful historical accounts of this area can be found in Richard David's "The Man Who Moved a Mountain." Be sure to stop and sample the local flavor during your visit.

Smart View is in our Franklin County Virginia. This loop is up on the Blue Ridge Parkway and ends at Mabry Mill the most photographed place on the BRP! That is about 1 hour south on the BRP MP 176. Rocky Knob is great for a hike and a place for Raptor watching in the Fall. Click here.

Book your room any time on our website: or see what other sites of interest may interest you!