Birding at Glen Alton

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Elevation: 2563 ft.

Walk along trails that meander through wetlands, riparian woodlands, hardwood forests, open meadows, pond habitats, and coniferous stands. This site is unique in that birds typical of higher elevations can be found among these lower elevation woods. The average elevation of this site is around 2400 feet, but black-throated blue warbler, veery, scarlet tanager and even Blackburnian warbler have been found within the confines of this site during breeding season. Though some trails are still in the process of being developed, many trails are already in place, and well traveled. Northern parula, red-eyed vireo, and pileated woodpecker call from the woodlands. Green heron and belted kingfisher survey ponds as the numerous barn swallows circle above. Wood duck breed in these woodland ponds, and in fall and winter, are joined by bufflehead and great blue heron. Common yellowthroat can be heard in weedy marsh edges.

Open meadows dance with blooming wildflowers in the spring and summer, attracting color butterflies such as harvester, eastern tiger swallowtail, spring/summer and Appalachian azures, American snout, red admiral, and even Diana fritillary. Appalachian brown and common wood-nymph skirt the woodland edges. Bright dragonflies such as slaty and widow skimmers, common green darner, and calico pennant patrol ponds. Tall grasses and logs that line pond banks serve as perches for damselflies such as blue-fronted dancer, Rambur's forktail, familiar bluet, and the dazzling elegant spreadwings. Mammalian denizens of this area include beaver, woodchuck, red fox, coyote, and red bat. Though this area has recently been acquired, it has quickly become an interest to local birders and nature enthusiasts.

Information provided by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Birds listed here are currently breeding and raising young at Glen Alton

  • Blackburnian Warbler – Abundant breeding warbler found all along the wooded trail out to the wetland and around the trees that edge the upper pond.
  • Golden-winged Warbler – possibly breeding here.
  • Red-shouldered Hawk – We believe that they are breeding on the property but have not yet found their nest. This is a fairly common raptor in Glen Alton but not as common in western VA as a whole.
  • Ovenbird – Abundant breeding warbler singing from perches and foraging on the ground along the woodland trail.
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler – A breeding warbler found along the fence row at the gate and on the far side of the wet area.
  • Eastern Bluebird – Common nesters in the area around the buildings and in boxes.
  • Scarlet Tanager – Breeding birds can be heard singing in all wooded areas.
  • Tree Swallow – Abundant flying over all open areas and regularly nests in the box to the left as you enter through the gate.
  • Cedar Waxwing – Flocks frequently seen flying about, especially in the area around the buildings and at the wet area.
  • Blue-headed Vireo – Breeding birds seen and heard along the wooded trail.
  • Brown Creeper – Breeding bird that is usually associated with higher elevations or more northern latitudes. Found around the wet area.
  • Wood Duck – Young wood ducks were reported on the beaver pond in 2012. They are seen frequently flying along Stony Creek.
  • Great Crested Flycatcher – Heard and seen regularly along the wooded trail.
  • Hermit Thrush –Nests have been seen for several years along the wooded trail.
  • Least Flycatcher –This species is typically not found at elevations lower than Glen Alton.

Other Bird Species Seen at Glen Alton

Below is a list of common migrants and wintering birds as well as summer/breeding birds.

Acadian Flycatcher
American Crow
American Goldfinch
American Kestrel
American Redstart
American Robin
Baltimore Oriole
Barn Swallow
Belted Kingfisher
Black Vulture
Black-and-White Warbler
Black-capped Chickadee
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blue Jay
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Broad-winged Hawk
Brown Thrasher
Brown-headed Cowbird
Canada Goose
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Wren

Chimney Swift
Chipping Sparrow
Common Grackle
Common Yellowthroat
Coopers Hawk
Dark-eyed Junco
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Wood-Pewee
European Starling
Field Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Gray Catbird
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Green winged teal
Hairy Woodpecker
Hooded Warbler
House Finch

House Sparrow
Indigo Bunting
Louisiana Waterthrush
Magnolia Warbler
Mourning Dove
Northern Cardinal
Northern Flicker
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Parula
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Orchard Oriole
Pileated Woodpecker
Pine Warbler
Purple Finch
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red Crossbill
Red-eyed Vireo
Red-tailed Hawk

Red-winged Blackbird
Rock Pigeon
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruffed Grouse
Rufous-sided Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Song Sparrow
Spotted Sandpiper
Tufted Titmouse
Turkey Vulture
White-breasted Nuthatch
White-throated Sparrow
Wild Turkey
Wood Thrush
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-throated Warble