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Appalachian Trail in Jefferson County (Sp, S, F)
General Description. This segment of the Appalachian Trail forms the eastern boundary of Jefferson County. It is the portion of the trail that crosses Route 9 east of Charles Town, WV. The trail in this area consists of dry woodlands with a number of small openings that accommodate a wide variety of birds, mostly in the spring.
Trip Planning. No special preparation is required unless one wants to bird along the trail from Route 9 to another crossing. Otherwise, one can bird for as far as one wants and retrace the route back to the parking area. This is an easy birdwalk.
Seasonal Variation in Birding. The best time to bird this area spring. A wide variety of migrants pass through the area and can be easily observed from the trail and the small openings along the way. Since the trail can be narrow, one must refrain from making noise as you bird. Spring is a good time to see Worm-eating Warbler, Ovenbird, Eastern Towhee, a variety of flycatchers, vireos, woodpeckers and occasional raptors and Barred Owl. The summer is usually slower and it is best to bird early in the day. In the fall, the migrants that have passed through in the spring return on their southward migration.
Directions. Head south out of Charlestown and pick up Route 9 east. Follow Route 9 to the summit and to the Appalachian Trail parking lot on the left. Cross the road and pick up the trail heading south. One can also bird the trail heading north, but the habitat after the first half mile becomes rather unproductive for birding.