Fri, May 24, 2013 • Cloudy, and 59 ° F.
Scott County contains two sections of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail as well as many opportunities to hunt down brilliant warblers and soaring raptors along our scenic roads. 162 species of birds have been reported from the county --- visit our checklist for more information.
When should I visit?
Every season of the year offers a unique birding experience in Scott County. Start your your birdwatching in the winter, by checking out our lakes and rivers for visiting waterfowl and shorebirds. The beginning birder will also find winter to be an easier time to start their education, since far fewer species are present in our area at this time.
Spring migration starts in late March but peaks in May when the blooming oak flowers provide stopover habitat for hundreds of brilliantly colored warblers and other songbirds who are following the mountains north. Raptors are also migrating through at this time, with up to 15,000 birds per day soaring on rising warm air --- thermals --- that waft along our mountain ridges.
In the summer, you can spend days hunting birds through the rich green foliage. By checking out various habitats --- wetlands, forests, and grasslands, for example --- you can find hundreds of species of birds in a single Scott County summer.
Then comes fall migration in September through November when the raptors and songbirds fly back south to escape the harsh weather. Fall migration suits the more experienced birder since many juvenile songbirds have not yet gained their breeding plumage and can be difficult to tell apart at this time.
Where should I look for birds?
Want to see Dark-eyed Juncos in the summer or listen to the flute-like songs of four species of thrushes in one spot? The Appalachian Wonders Loop of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail highlights the best birding spots in the high country at the peak of High Knob. You'd better have your life list handy to check off the 24 species of breeding warblers! Read about the highlights of the Appalachian Wonders Loop here.
If you don't have time to head to the top of High Knob, you can still see some great birds along the Daniel Boone Trail. Within a few miles of the interstate, you can visit Ruffed Grouse breeding grounds, seek out wintering shorebirds and neotropical summer visitors, and catch soaring raptors during hawk migration. Read about the highlights of the Daniel Boone Trail here.
The serious birder who is interested in a challenge will spend a few days searching for Scott County's two state-listed rare bird species.
State Status: imperiled
The Magnolia Warbler is a northern species which is found only on the tallest mountains in Virginia. Stop by High Knob Lake to hunt for this elusive songbird.
State Status: imperiled
The Loggerhead Shrike appears to be threatened by loss of open farmland habitat. Keep your eyes open as you wind down Scott County's scenic back roads and you may see evidence of shrike presence in the form of its prey --- small birds or large insects --- impaled on barbed wire fences.
Scott County's amazing diversity stems in part from the four main forest communities that can be found within our borders.
162 species of birds can be found in Scott County.
Want to see Dark-eyed Juncos in the summer or listen to the flute-like songs of four species of thrushes in one spot? The Appalachian Wonders Trail highlights the best birding spots in the high country at the peak of High Knob.
Within a few miles of the interstate, you can visit Ruffed Grouse breeding grounds, seek out wintering shorebirds and neotropical summer visitors, and catch soaring raptors during hawk migration.
This remote river offers the choice between a multiple day journey and a short afternoon jaunt. Either way, you'll float on gentle water with trophy smallmouth bass nipping at your line.
The Clinch River offers opportunities for hour long through full day paddling trips along what The Nature Conservancy calls the number one river worth protecting in the United States.
Mendota has a historic past and is also a gateway to the Clinch Mountain's best views of hawk migration.
The Guest River Gorge Trail is one of the area's easiest and most scenic hiking and biking trails and is the best way to explore a State Scenic River on foot.
Natural Tunnel State Park offers a variety of short trails close to the interstate along with picnic areas, visitor's center, campground, playground, swimming pool, chair lift, canoe trips, and much more.
This tranquil lakeside trail winds through cove woods, wetlands, and hemlock forests. Nearly level terrain makes for an easy walk with plenty of opportunities to see kingfishers, herons, and other lake wildlife.
This short but stunning hike gives you sweeping views across Little Stony Creek Gorge.
Devil's Fork Loop Trail is perfect for the true backcountry enthusiasts who are willing to get their feet wet.
This trailhead provides quick and easy access to the majestic Little Stony Falls.
Little Stony Trail was designated a National Recreation Trail because of its majesty and ease of access. This longer trail to the falls is the path less traveled.
Scott County is home to a variety of great events for the whole family. Here are some events that are happening in the near future. Read More
Points Of Interest
Browse from the list below.
- This tranquil lake attracts hikers, campers, paddlers, and birdwatchers.
- This trail winds up the opposite side of Powell Mountain from the Kane Gap Trail and then joins t...
- This informal trail follows a four mile flood channel between open fields, mudflats, and rocky sh...
- This high elevation forested wetland is off the beaten path, but is a must-see for the serious bi...
- One of the area's easiest and most scenic hiking and biking trails, highlighting gorge geology, t...
- Walk 3 miles through lush cove hardwood forest and deep gorges to the stunning Little Stony Falls...
- The highest point in Scott County offers stunning views, the beginning of the lengthy Chief Benge...
- Campground, swimming beach, and rare plants and animals. This is also a trailhead of the Chief B...
- This little-traveled trail allows hikers to climb Powell Mountain through the National Forest. As...
- A half mile jaunt to a 24 foot waterfall crashing through a deep gorge.
- This trailhead of the Chief Benge Scout Trail allows hikers to take shorter day trips through the...
- Stunning views of the natural tunnel, trails, bird watching, campground, swimming pool, chair lif...
- This small, 3 acre woodland is managed by the local school as an outdoor classroom. The well-main...
Browse from the list below. Scott County proudly supports all of our local and surrounding businesses.