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Due to exceptionally dry conditions, the Department of Wildlife Resources has implemented a complete ban on any open burning (e.g., campfires, grills) on all DWR properties west of Interstate 95, effective immediately and lasting until further notice.

Bush Mill Stream Natural Area Preserve


This preserve is one of the Northern Neck’s many hidden gems. From the parking area, a well-marked trail descends from dry ridge forests to an observation deck overlooking Bush Mill Stream. The platform offers viewing opportunities of the rich, freshwater tidal marsh below. The marsh is alive year-round with great blue herons, other wading birds, bald eagles, osprey, and waterfowl such as wood ducks. Careful observation may reveal a river otter. The preserve is rarely crowded, creating an ideal wildlife-watching experience. A diversity of dragonflies, spring and fall migrant songbirds, wild turkey, and white-tailed deer can all be enjoyed here. If fungi interest you, this is certainly the place to be; the amount and variety inhabiting this area can only be described as a mycologist’s dream.

Please remember that Bush Mill Stream is a Natural Area Preserve and, as such, contains sensitive natural communities. Respect this area by staying on designated paths, leaving pets at home, and not removing anything from the area.


Location Coordinates: 37.870692, -76.449503

From Kilmarnock, go north on VA 200 towards Burgess. In Wicomico Church, turn left onto VA 609. Turn right onto VA 610, and then left onto VA 642. Follow VA 642 until you see the sign for Bush Mill Stream. (Note: Look carefully for the entrance; the entrance sign may be slightly hidden at times from vegetation and the access road is a dirt lane running between hedgerows that can be easily overlooked.)

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: Chesapeake Bay Region Steward: 804-225-2303,
  • Website
  • Access: Free, Daily (sunrise-sunset)

Birds Recently Seen at Bush Mill Stream Natural Area Preserve (as reported to eBird)

  • Great Blue Heron
  • Bald Eagle
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Northern Flicker
  • American Crow
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Hermit Thrush
  • White-throated Sparrow

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Hiking Trails
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Parking
  • Observation Platform