Cover photo: Bobby Hooker, Hooker Studio

Each year residents of Town of Colonial Beach, VA, eagerly anticipate the return of the ospreys, distinctively large, brown and white hawks that make their homes near bodies of water to feed their piscivorous (fish) appetites. For the third consecutive year, the non-profit Downtown Colonial Beach is documenting the ospreys’ annual visit by hosting the Colonial Beach Osprey Festival of the Potomac/Chesapeake Bay Watershed, sponsored by Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

As part of Virginia Tourism Corporation‘s WanderLove campaign, we also invite bird lovers to bring your binoculars and join the festival with a road trip to Colonial Beach, Virginia, where you can safely observe the ospreys during a walk through Town; from your car; or via rented kayak, canoe, paddleboard or golf cart. (CBVA is a golf cart community!)

bald eagles colonial beach

Photo: Chris Upperman

Though sad to see the bald eagles depart their fall and winter abodes, the first osprey sightings of the season bring excitement to bird lovers, who follow and document the elite raptors as they build their nests, nurture their eggs, and hatch their offspring. Many birdwatchers name the feathered pairs that return to the same nests year after year–atop tall lampposts and utility poles, in dead trees, or on man-made structures built for them. Sometimes, ospreys even build nests on the roofs of boat cabins, unfortunate for the boat owners as the Town is a bird sanctuary, meaning the nests cannot be disturbed.

The Colonial Beach Osprey Festival was launched in 2019 with classes, walks, live concerts, aviary artwork and more to celebrate our feathered friends. Due to COVID concerns, this year and last year’s festivals were made virtual. Bird lovers can still participate by visiting the festival’s website here. On the site are osprey cams, birding videos and photos, osprey art, blog posts, birding links and more.

Colonial Beach, Virginia, is home to an abundance of bird wildlife, in addition to ospreys and eagles. Being located on a peninsula, CBVA is home to a variety of waterfowl, including herons, swans, hawks, ducks, gulls and more.

bird watching colonial beach



Photos: Michael Hundley


There’s no shortage of land birds, either! Backyard birds such as cardinals, cedar waxings, blue birds and mourning doves pose happily for birding photographers.

birding colonial beach

Photos: Bronwen Decker

The many nature areas in the surrounding Northern Neck provide even more opportunities for bird lovers to catch a glimpse of their favorite feathered wildlife (like wild turkeys, egrets, and owls!) Visit George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Westmoreland State Park, Caledon State Park and Voorhees Nature Preserve, to name a few.

wildlife colonial beach




Photos: Mary Carter

Town of Irvington, Virginia

On Friday, June 18, 2021, The Tides Inn, located in Irvington, VA, commemorates the inaugural phase of its multi-year, living shoreline restoration project, with a Shoreline Celebration. Get your hands dirty and help create a living shoreline for generations to enjoy during the Community Planting. Hear live music on the beach. Order celebratory cocktails from Rosie, the resort’s vintage bar cart. Join the excitement of the Ribbon Cutting and Presentation. Feast during a “low-country boil” Oyster Roast, including local Rappahannock River oysters, cocktail stations and musical entertainment, from Executive Chef Truman Jones and team. The Tides Inn plans for the project allow for new protective measures and future preservation for the more than 3,000 migratory and wildlife species that call the area home.

living shoreline