Away from the bustle of the Beltway and the imposing monuments of American history rests a part of Virginia where things happen more slowly, and for the better. Here the beautiful birds indigenous to northern Virginia flutter and frolic without a care in the world; the pilated Woodpeckers beat a rhythmic tattoo in search of food, the goldfinches dance in the air, and the majestic eagle soars over land settled by the early fathers. Northern Virginia is a birdwatcher's paradise, literally and figuratively.
For a relaxing vacation in the great outdoors, nothing beats a serene morning of nature at play. In the Stafford area of northern Virginia, there are a number of spots away from the usual tourist traps where one can enjoy the show of beautiful summer plumage and birdsong.
A public beach in Northern Virginia? True, this area might not have the beachy feel of towns on the southern shore, but Aquia Landing offers visitors a peaceful atmosphere and ample opportunity for birdwatching.
There's more than fish biting at this popular picnic spot. If the idea of sitting in a boat for hours in this fully-stocked lake holds no appeal, take a hike along the many trails bordering the water. Abel Reservoir is one of the most beautiful, natural spots in the county, home to many flying friends.
Washington's Ferry Farm
The former home of a great founding father has hosted nearly 100 known species of birds! So popular is this area that the farm hosts regular birding tours. This informative morning will teach you everything you want to know about the mating and living habits of these creatures.
Stroll through the gardens of this famous Virginia manse and you might spy a few finches among the flowers. The beauty of Chatham mansion is enhanced daily by the many species of birds that flutter among the grounds.
From public beachs to living museums, northern Virginia provides a home to many species of birds. Grab your binoculars and zoom lens camera and be ready, because you never know what to expect when you go birding in Virginia.
Kathryn Lively writes travel articles for many websites, including the Stafford County Department of Economic Development and Tourism (http://www.gostaffordva.com ).