Wildlife In The W&OD RR Regional Park

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Wildlife Guide

A good place to see deer is west of Vienna but east of Hunter Mill Rd. at dusk.

A good place to see burrowing mammals (ground hogs, etc.) is west of Hunter Mill Road, but east of Reston.

From "The Birds of Loudoun" by John Chambliss

The W&OD Trail, which extends from the Fairfax County line in the east through Leesburg to Purcellville in the west, winds through almost every kind of local habitat and offers the chance of seeing most of Loudoun's resident, breeding and winter birds. Getting there early, always a good idea with birds, is especially important on the trail to avoid bicycle traffic, which is often heavy.

The open areas in eastern Loudoun off the trail are good for shore birds during migration. A Eurasian Plover was seen not far from the trail on Route 703 in early September 1996, along with Pectoral Sandpipers and Lesser Golden Plovers.

The best portion of the trail I know of is west of Leesburg, between mile marker 36.5 and the entry to the 4-H Fairgrounds, which is about a quarter mile beyond the 37 mile marker. During the 10 years I have birded that area, I have seen over 125 species, 27 of which were warblers, including a Mourning Warbler in early May 1995 and Tennessee Warblers two years ago about the same time (for years, there have been reports of a few Mourning Warblers in the nearby Clark's Gap area). Yellow-breasted Chats and Common Yellowthroats breed in denser areas along the trail. The White-throated Vireo is another common breeder, and a Philadelphia Vireo was present in mid-May in 1995. Wild Turkey are residents in the woods to the east of the trail, and are regularly seen in spring from the trail in the vicinity of the 37.5 mile marker. Grasshopper Sparrows usually arrive in mid-May and breed in the open pastures on both sides of the trail. A flock of around 20 Bobolinks migrate through the area during May, and can be seen and heard on the fences along a road that intersects the trail just north of mile marker 36.5. Eastern Kingbirds breed in that same area and along Dry Mill Road to the west. Loggerhead Shrikes formerly nested in the area west of the trail near the 36.5 mile marker, but none has been seen recently. Both Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks breed in the area, and in March a pair of Cooper's Hawks were nest building just south of mile market 37.0.

Magnolia Warblers and Black-throated Green Warblers are common mid-September migrants. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers usually winter along the trail, and one to two pairs of Hairy Woodpeckers are resident. Red-shouldered Hawks sometimes winter in the general area, and a Rough-legged Hawk was seen briefly in the winter of 1995-96. A flock of up to 12 Common Redpolls frequented my feeder in January 1994, which is located near the trail just south of the 37.5 mile marker, and an Olive-sided Flycatcher was seen near there in September 1988. Evening Grosbeaks are regular fall migrants through this area.


This page most recently updated on Feb. 14, 2007.

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