At first, I thought that I was lost, because the road took me into the entrance of the Dominion/Vepco power plant there. Yes, there were armed guards that asked me to get out of my car, open the hood and the trunk, and go inside to show my driver's license and fill out a form (don't remember if I filled out the form or if the guard there did while asking me questions). While I was inside for about 10 minutes, they searched my car. The guards did not seem to be "trigger happy." They were just doing their job protecting the power plant. I asked them how long this security procedure had been in place, and they said since 9/11. It can be a little intimidating if you have never been through a security check point before, but I am glad that they are doing their job properly. I've been through security gates in the past, and this wasn't much different, although I was a bit surprised because I didn't know that one was on the road into Hog Island WMA. If you go there, know what to expect, and do what the guards ask, you shouldn't have any problems.
I was told that I couldn't take any photos until I reached the gravel road (start of the WMA), to keep the entrance pass on my windshield, and to drop it off in a marked mailbox on the way out. I must of missed the mailbox on the way out, so a guard came out to my car and I gave him the entrance pass.
I thought that my birding trip on Hog Island WMA was worthwhile. All of the side roads were closed off to protect nesting areas, some with and some without signage. I birded along the main gravel road all the way to the visitor's center. No one was there at first, and then the WMA staffer showed up and we talked for a while. He told me about the side roads being closed. I asked him about the Carlisle Tract that you can bird there before getting to the power plant entrance. He told me that I could go to the end of the paved road in the Carlisle Tract, or walk along the power line (not mowed) and gas line (mowed) paths from the paved road to Hunnicut Creek, and bird along the creek. On the way out, past the power plant, I took the paved road all the way to the water at the end, but it was full of fishermen and fishing boats, so I turned around. I had walked enough already that day, so I didn't hike to the creek.
Hope this helps.
"To: VA-BIRD <va-bird...>
.Subject: [VA-bird] Hog Island WMA--intense security?
.From: Shea Tiller <sheagordontiller...>
.Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2018 09:41:36 -0400
I'm hoping to go to Hog Island WMA at some point soon if not this week, and
I've read some rather fiery language about the security there. I don't
really know anything about this type of search procedure myself, so this
raised a couple of questions. Here are some of the less favorable things
"*Bomb check while being openly eyed by a trigger happy guard with auto
"*they have automatic weapons and like to show them off.*"
And here is a more level-headed text:
"*you will be checked by security, which means getting out of your vehicle,
getting your ID copied/checked, vehicle inspected for bombs, weapons or
powder residue by security guards brandishing heavy weaponry.*"
So what exactly does this entail? I'd like to here some birder accounts of
this searching. If it takes a really long time then I'll know not to go
there when there's a time constraint.
And now for the birding; I have a good idea of how to bird Hog Island from
maps, but are there any specific recommendations that folks have?