Quail by the Creek Farm

Owners: Bill and Ginny King
County: Shenandoah

Overview: 58-acre tract managed solely for wildlife. Property includes a ¾ mile stretch of Smith Creek and has both a natural and a Ducks Unlimited-constructed wetland.

Goal: To establish and support bobwhite quail habitat but management practices are equally beneficial to a wide variety of wildlife species. Property is prime example of how small acreage/abused farm land can be managed for the benefit of wildlife.

History: Old property deeded in 1700s that has a rich Confederate war history. Very close to New Market battlefield and Confederate soldiers reportedly utilized the property as a camp, artillery emplacement, and route across Smith Creek to flank the Union soldiers on the  battlefield. Property has old 1700s cemetery on the grounds and Indian artifacts have been discovered. Kings purchased property in 2001 and are actively converting property from fescue based pasture to a wildlife farm.

Land Management Practices:

  • 33 acres are devoted to the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).
  • Virginia Deptartment of Forestry has conducted stream bank restoration and stabilization projects to help improve the water quality in Smith Creek, specifically to reduce siltation.
  • Ducks Unlimited assisted in the construction of a wetlands area for waterfowl.
  • Installed a wildlife “corridor” across the property consisting of soft mast tree species to facilitate movement from one micro-habitat to another.
  • Utilized WHIP program to plant approximately 8 acres of both native warm season grasses and cool season grasses which will be maintained by prescribed burns and no tillage.
  • Perimeter of grass plots will be bordered by wildflowers.
  • Rain Barrels are utilized.
  • Trapper captures and removes predatory species of ground nesting birds such as coyotes and foxes.

Species of interest (As Seen by Landowner):
Grassland Birds: American Goldfinch, American Kestrel, Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Meadowlark, Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Harrier, Red-Winged Blackbird
Pollinators:
      Bees: Bumble, Sweat, Leaf-Cutter, Mason, Carpenter, Honey
      Lepidoptera: Clear Winged Sphinx Moths, Cresent Butterflies, Silver Spotted Skipper
      Birds: Hummingbirds
Grasses/Sedges: Little and Big Bluestem, Indian Grass and Partridge Peas
Wildflowers/Forbs: Black Eyed Susan, Joe Pye Weed, Cardinal Flower
Invasive Plants: Tree of Heaven, Multiflora Rose, Japanese Honeysuckle, Chinese Lespedeza, Johnson Grass, Wineberry, Crown-Vetch