Grenville – being the sweetie that he is – told me he would take me to not one, but two islands for my birthday. Both islands were within driving distance of our home. WOW a road trip – the first of this new year.
Where ARE these islands ?
Both are in Virginia, so this wasn’t a long road trip, 45 minutes to be exact to reach Chincoteague Island and Assateague Island, a barrier island off the coast of Virginia and Maryland. Here’s something to confuse you – the town of Chincoteague is on Chincoteague Island and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is on Assateague Island. The pink area on the map shows Chincoteague Island; the green is Assateague Island.
Located on the southern end of Assateague Island in Virginia, the refuge was established in 1943 for the protection of migratory waterfowl habitat with emphasis on conserving the greater snow goose. The photo below shows a large group of snow geese flocking.
Chincoteague NWR has over 14,000 acres of beach, maritime forest, saltmarsh, and freshwater marsh habitats are home to various migratory birds, plants, and other animals. It’s also one of the most visited refuges in the country annually hosting about 1.4 million visits.
Chincoteague is best known for the Chincoteague ponies, which are not on Chincoteague Island, but on Assateague Island. These ponies, are housed in two areas on the refuge through a special agreement with the ponies' owners, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company which cares for the herd. The ponies were featured in Marguerite Henry's 1947 classic children's book Misty of Chincoteague, later made into the 1961 family film Misty (filmed on location). The photo below shows some ponies.
Chincoteague NWR also provides habitat for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and song birds, and other species of wildlife and plants. Unfortunately, the weather on Saturday when we visited the refuge was rainy and foggy. The ducks were having the best time.
If the weather had cooperated, we would have seen some of these wading birds – Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Yellow Legs. These photos were taken on previous outings.
The wildlife we saw this weekend included the Delmarva fox squirrel, an endangered species. The one in these photos was quite oblivious to our presence as we took a walk on Sunday morning, after the rain cleared out.
We also spotted a young Sika deer, also known as the Spotted Deer or the Japanese Deer. This species of deer is native to much of East Asia and introduced to various other parts of the world. Annual deer hunts are held on the refuge to thin out the herd.
At the end of our Island road trip, we went to the Island Creamery as Grenville needed treatment from over blogging-itis curable (he said) by a “Hot Fudge Oral Flush.” Of course, I had to have my own as a preventative measure . . .
It must have worked, because I could blog this post today