Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Virginia’s East Coast is tops for bird-watching

"Still, I hadn’t traveled all the way to Virginia’s Eastern Shore to look at a bunch of ordinary, French-fry-loving seagulls. It was late September, the migratory season was in full swing, and this long finger of land — stretching south from Maryland, with the Chesapeake Bay on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other — is known as one of the country’s top spots for bird-watching."
Tundra Swans enjoying the early morning sun at False Cape State Park
One of the best places to see the winged migration is along Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
Read the entire article here in the NYPOST.

More on False Cape State Park:
No vehicular access. Located in southern Virginia Beach, False Cape State Park is a mile-wide barrier spit between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Access is through the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and is limited to hiking, bicycling or boating. The park features primitive camping and an extensive environmental education program in one of the last undisturbed coastal environments on the East Coast.

In the 1800s, False Cape gained a reputation as a ship’s graveyard. The area got its name because its land mass resembled Cape Henry, luring boats into shallow waters. One of the area’s first communities, Wash Woods, was developed by survivors of such a shipwreck. The village’s church and other structures were built using cypress wood that washed ashore from a wreck.

Vehicular access to False Cape State Park is prohibited because the park is land-locked on the southern end of the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Those wishing to visit the park for the day must either bike or hike through the refuge (via beach or interior trails, and the interior trail is closed from November 1 through March 31), or boat or canoe in down Back Bay. You can also take the Terra Gator, a specially designed vehicle that minimizes impact to this special environment, during this period.

The Back Bay Restoration Foundation operates a tram (PDF) that leaves from the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (4005 S. Sandpiper Rd. in Virginia Beach) and travels through the wildlife refuge. The trek allows visitors to explore the park for two hours in the Barbour Hill contact station area or ride farther to False Cape's Wash Woods area. This area has a church site and cemetery. The tram provides a round trip ride and is not available for overnight guests. Overnight guests must either hike or bike through the refuge, or canoe or boat in. Both day use and overnight visitors are advised to read all warnings regarding visiting the park to learn what is expected and about preparation. All visitors must follow refuge regulations while on refuge property.

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