This past Saturday, we held our first birding and wine tasting walk! One of our fearless leaders, Jim McWalters, provides our field trip report:
There is a small corner of paradise in Northern Virginia called the Tarara Winery. As one of Virginia’s oldest wineries, Tarara not only offers great wine but the idyllic setting makes a wonderful place for a walk.
Situated high atop the Potomac River in northern Loudoun County, the 475-acre farm is home to a diversity of plant and wildlife.
From the beautiful pond that greets visitors as they enter the winery, to the grounds along the Potomac River – wildlife can be found in abundance.
The winery itself includes a rather large vineyard called “Nevaeh” (Heaven spelled backwards). It grows a range of varieties including Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, CabernetSauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. While most visitors head straight to the wine tasting room, we were fortunate to get a rare glimpse around the grounds that surround Tarara.
Although the weather for our walk was cloudy, it didn’t dampen the spirits of those who came out. Along our route we saw a wide variety of bird species including the Northern Flicker, Great Blue Heron, Finches, Wrens, Vireos, Robins, Mockingbirds, and Sparrows just to name a few. (43+ species in all)
A nice diversity of wild flowers could be found including a large number of field pansies, phlox, mayapple, mustards, chickweeds, buttercups, and more.
As we headed down into the flood plains towards the Potomac River a cacophony of chirping Warblers could be heard in the woods.
Huge Sycamore trees that lined the river’s bank stood defiant and strong against the high and fast current of the Potomac River.
Further along the path, Turkey Vultures were spotted nesting high among the trees while wild turkey and deer tracks could be seen imprinted in the muddy clay all along the way. All in all it was a delightful hike and many of the participants promised to return again in the not too distant future.
(and yes, after our walk, we did sample the wine, which was delightful!) More photos from the day, including the Turkey tracks, can be seen on our facebook page.