A 5.5 mile long auto-tour route winds through both prairie grassland and wetland habitats of the James River Valley on the lower portion. An elevated observation deck along the route provides a view of the James River, several managed wetlands, and abundant wildlife.
Wildlife viewing opportunities along the auto tour route change with the seasons. Numerous species of ducks and other waterbirds can be seen from April through October. The best time for viewing migratory waterfowl is October when the birds congregate during their fall migration. In the uplands, grassland birds are observable throughout the breeding season. Sharp-tailed grouse and white-tailed deer can be seen year-round.
From the concealment of a viewing blind, you can observe dancing sharp-tailed grouse from late March through early May. Two blinds are open to the public and may be reserved by calling the refuge Headquarters.
The Warbler Woodland Watchable Wildlife Area, located on the southeast side of Arrowwood Lake, is a popular wildlife-watching location. Warblers are most abundant in May during spring migration. Over 20 species of warblers and numerous other songbird species have been observed in this woodland. Waterfowl and shorebirds can be observed along the lakeshore in this area.
For questions about recreation, please contact the refuge office.
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Sharp-tailed grouse congregate on their leks every year for courtship and breeding rituals.