The shorebirds are beginning to flock together, even as the summer songbirds are still plentiful. With the blue skies and bright sunshine, it was a wonderful day to spend at my favorite national wildlife refuge!
A Great Egret spent the last hours of sunlight hunting this evening in the marsh pond at Wooten’s Landing. He allowed me to take photographs for quite awhile, at times coming so close that I had to pull back on the full range of the telephoto lens. He posed so nicely that I’m going to include several of this evening’s photos in a gallery.
Chincoteague and Assateague Islands are barrier islands on the Atlantic Ocean that straddle the Maryland/Virginia border. They are known for their wild ponies. Oral history holds that they are descendants of horses that survived Spanish galleon shipwrecks, though scientists now believe they are descended from horses that were kept on the barrier islands by very early colonists who kept them on the islands to avoid colonial duties and taxes. True to form, the horses were grazing in the swamp grass close to the road, though I was more interested in the Cattle Egret that followed them everywhere.
The wonderful thing about Chincoteague and Assateague is that they were designated as national wildlife refuges, so they are not the typical east coast beaches, littered with condos, high rises, or row upon row of huge beach houses. Here, the wildlife ‘owns’ the beachfront. So it’s a wonderful place to go birding.
The sun was bright and the water at times was still and at times was rippling in the breeze at Chincoteague on Friday. It gave plenty of opportunity to play with the reflections as the birds foraged in the shallows.