Today’s Snapshots highlight a recent visit to Chincoteague Island, located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. I know – confusing! Virginia (the blogger) lives in Virginia (the state of) located on the East Coast of the U.S.A.
Chincoteague is just a few hours from home, but it’s a cool trip getting there over the 23-mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (that includes two tunnels) and up the Eastern Shore, home to small farming & fishing communities along the way. Chincoteague Island is located at the tip of Virginia, just before the Maryland line.
What makes Chincoteague special? Lots of things, like proximity to rocket launches from NASA’s Wallops Island (as shared in my last post) but Chincoteague Island is also next to Assateague Island, which is home to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge where all kinds of wildlife can be seen on nature trails and beaches.
Since my brother & I visited during a blustery cold November week, our beach wildlife was limited to birds (vs. the human summer variety), but the big draw of Chincoteague? WILD PONIES. The last time we visited Chincoteague we saw them every day (during a June visit?) This time we searched (high & low) and didn’t see any for six days, until…
Check snapshots to find out – wild pony sightings??
The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge hosts trails, walks & roads for ‘nature crawls’ – driving slowly so as not to miss any wildlife sightings, whereupon you jump out of your car (along with everyone else) to view wildlife through your binoculars or through gigantic cameras, which many visitors stalkingly set up on tripods to capture pics for posterity. (Note, my camera fits in my pocket – easier to tote around!)
Even on the cloudy, cold days of our visit, we saw amazing sights like these egrets branching out. (Checking back the next day, they had branched off!)
Walking the four mile Wildlife Loop, we had to look carefully for birdies hiding in the brush. Quiet, quietly, sometimes we were rewarded…
Other times, it was fun watching them perch from inside our warm car. We saw many blue herons, but we also enjoyed the beauty of the white egrets. On the first morning at our house rental, I looked out the porch to see four egrets five feet away in the marsh. What a way to start the day!
We also enjoyed walking along the beaches. On dreary days the clouds can be so interesting! But it’s always nice on sunny days.
We didn’t last long there (can you see our shadows shaking?) It may have been sunny, but it was FREEZING! (Temps dropped into the 30s F/ 0 to -1 C)!
Dashing back to our car, we made a new friend…
After hiking the Woodland Trail and seeing a few ponies in (far far away) binocular distance, on the day of the ‘no launch launch’ when we had been up at 3:30AM & braved the cold at Wallops Island, we decided to do another nature crawl that afternoon…
As I jumped out of the car & my brother tried to find a spot to pull over (there was a reason a gazillion people had pulled over) I saw ELEVEN ponies. Trying to find my brother, I went back up the road to find him tracking along with this spotted pony who somehow slipped outside the fenced area. AMAZING!
But, this wild pony stole my heart! What a blessing to see the ponies on our 6th day of traipsing about the trails, paths, and roads of Chincoteague National Wildlife Reserve. Each day after our many walks, hiking, and nature crawls we thoroughly enjoyed the Visitor Center.
Walking & nature crawling the trails, each time we saw beautiful birds, amazing trees, beautiful beaches & PONIES! A grand time all around on Chincoteague Island.
“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.” Victor Hugo
grace, peace & singing nature groupies
Virginia : )
p.s. forgot the grand finale…