Monday, February 7, 2011

Birthday Island Tripping

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 toCNWR map020511 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.

020611 snow geese (4)

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.

pony collage

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.

bday rainy collage

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.

CNWR bird collage

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.

DFS collage

We also spotted a young Sika deer, also known as the Spotted Deer sila deer020511 (2)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.sila deer020511 (1)

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 . . .

sundae020511 (3)

It must have worked, because I could blog this post todayWinking smile


Montanagirl said...

Beautiful series of photos. Love those ponies. I did read Misty of Chincoteague many years ago. I'm still a horse lover.

Daisy said...

Great pictures! Looks like you had a marvelous trip. :)

Elaine said...

Looks like a wonderful birthday trip! I love the collage of the ponies, but then Misty was one of my favorite books when I was a little girl. The reflection collage with the birds is outstanding too. I've seen huge flocks of Snow Geese in Washington too and it is really amazing to see so many at once. Too bad the sun wasn't shining for you, but at least it wasn't snowing! Oh, and Marty would probably make several trips to the Island Creamery, and of course I wouldn't make him go alone.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Mona, I have never read Misty or seen the movie. Misty's hoofprints are in front of the Roxy Theatre in Chincoteague where the movie opened.

Thanks Daisy, despite the rain on Sat we had a good time. We may return this weekend to go bike riding at the refuge, weather permitting.

Elaine, you and Mona had similar reading enjoyment when growing up. The bird shots were done over the past several years during many trips to CNWR when I owned a digital SLR. The snow geese are in some of the fields here too, especially soy bean fields. If you and Marty ever visit this pat of the U.S. we will take you BOTH as our guests to the Island Creamery.

Anvilcloud said...

Seems like you had a pretty nice birthday. Congratulations. Snow geese used to land for awhile at a place near us on Lake Huron. Unfortunately, we never managed to get up there to see them.

grammie g said...

HI Beatrice ...your photos are beautiful!!
You two sure do have a great time...and that creamery I bet that place could cure anything!!

Out on the prairie said...

I thought i recognized the name for the horses. I can take you on a tour of my state through various ice cream stands.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

AC, thanks it was a good celebration despite the weather. We hope to return on Sunday and bring our bikes cause the forecast calls for sun!
Hi Grammie G, hope you are surviving all the snow and yes ice cream is a cure and a food group, isn't it?
Hey Steve, if we get to your part of the U.S. we will take you up on that offer.

Anonymous said...

What a great trip! Thanks for showing those photos! It will still take some time until we see geese, great blue heron and cranes here. I love the first sound of those birds in early spring :-)

Have a great day now!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures of the horses and wading birds! I hope one day to visit Chincoteague Island and Assateague Island.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hi Christer, these shorebirds are very beautiful and amazing to see in flight. I will post more photos soon.

Linda, if you do visit, you might want to avoid the busy and touristy summer season, also very buggy. Fall would be the best time, but there could most likely still be pesky mosquitoes hanging around if the weather is still warm.

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