Hog Island is actually a 3,908-acre peninsula that juts into the brackish waters of the James River, creating a mosaic of tidewater habitats that include marsh, tidal channels, swamp, and beach. Agricultural fields and loblolly pine forests surround freshwater sources such as Lawnes Neck and Lower Chippokes Creek. This diversity of habitats, including the large shallow impoundments of Fishhouse Bay and Homewood Creek, attract a vast number of birds, and an exploration of the area will produce a large number of species at any time of the year. Birding the area effectively requires leaving the main road and striking off on foot along the trails that separate the peninsula’s major impoundments. Over 30 species of waterfowl and 35 species of shorebirds have been recorded at Hog Island, largely from the wetlands at the northern end of the peninsula. Birding the Carlisle Tract, south of the power plants, gives access to upland communities absent further north. Winter, perhaps the most interesting time to bird this site, brings an assortment of different birds including snow buntings, flocks of snow geese, bufflehead, mergansers, ring-necked and ruddy ducks, and large numbers of bald eagles.
To Access the Site: A Restore the Wild Membership, Virginia hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.
This site may be closed during certain times of year for hunting. See seasonal access information below. If you are visiting this site during hunting seasons, please wear blaze orange/ pink for safety.
- February 3 – August 31st: Open daily, sunrise to sunset.
- September 1-29: Closed on Wednesdays; open all other days sunrise to sunset.
- September 30 – February 3 (quota hunting season): Open Sundays only (for non-hunting activities), sunrise to sunset.
Insect repellent is a good idea during most of the year.
Physical Address: 7938 Hog Island Rd, Surry, VA 23883
From the Previous Site on the Tidewater Loop of VBWT:
From Fort Huger return to SR 10/Old Stage Hwy and turn right (West). Continue for 2.6 miles and turn right on Rt. 650/Hog Island Road. Continue 4.0 miles and turn right on Landing Road. Drive 0.1 miles to the parking lot on the left. Continue north approximately 2.0 miles, passing the Virginia Power Surry Nuclear Power Plant, to the main entrance gate. NOTE: You will need to stop at the power plant’s security checkpoint and have photo identification ready. During times of high security, vehicles may be searched or access to this site may be restricted. When the road turns to gravel, you are in the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Hog Island Wildlife Management Area.
Location & DirectionsView on Google Maps
- Site Contact: VDGIF Region 1 Office, (804) 829-6580; Email: BirdingTrail@dgif.virginia.gov
- Access: See site description.
Birds Recently Seen at Hog Island Wildlife Management Area (as reported to eBird)
- Canada Goose
- Mourning Dove
- Royal Tern
- Double-crested Cormorant
- American White Pelican
- Great Blue Heron
- Great Egret
- Turkey Vulture
Seasonal Bird Observations
- Bike Trails
- Environmental Study Area
- Hiking Trails
- Lookout Tower
- Viewing Blinds