Sunday, July 21, 2013

Beautiful Assateague Island National Seashore

Traveling to the Eastern Shore of Maryland last week, I pulled onto Assateague Island National Seashore, with a goal in mind to photograph the Wild Ponies. Needless to say, I was excited about the prospects of seeing them grazing on this barrier island. Wondering if they would even be close enough to photograph, yet reading exerts and seeing images online, I could only hope. Before I could even make my way past the entrance gate, there stood a Wild Pony grazing on the grasses. That just added to my enthusiasm. The motor route on Assateague takes you past miles of marshland and dense brush until you reach the farthest most point, South Ocean Beach. This area is perfect for visitors eager to spend the day sunbathing, beach combing or, need I say it, surfing. Unfortunately, further south the rangers had quarantined off the area due to nesting birds. Not to worry. All around the parking areas next to the beach stood the Wild Ponies grazing. Their long manes blowing with the ocean breezes was just an amazing sight.


After spending a few minutes at South Ocean Beach, I drove back out the same route I had taken in and about half a mile on the left I turned west onto the road leading to Old Ferry Landing. Basically this area has a parking lot, a short boardwalk and a small clapboard boathouse. But there, far off in the distance, out among the saltwater marshes, stood this small band of Wild Ponies. Knowing the horses were too far away for a decent image, I parked my car and pulled off my shoes. On went the muck boots and off I went trekking out into the marsh about 300 yards. Just enough to close the distance between me and those elusive horses. Mostly I trekked across mud and, well, more mud just to snap this next image. Later that evening I downloaded my images from the day. I opened them and stopped when I saw this one in particular. Boy was I happy I had gone to all that trouble. The beautiful azure greens of the saltwater marshes coupled with the tans and browns and cream colored coats of those Ponies just captivates you.


Before I left Old Ferry Landing, I walked out on the boardwalk for a short distance just in time to see I had scared up a Little Blue Heron that had been perched low next to the edge of the marsh out of my sight line. This is a Life List bird. Never before seen by me, but after seeing his blue bill I knew this wasn't your customary Great Blue Heron. I read later that the Little Blue Heron juveniles are born solid white and dramatically turn blue as they age into adults.

Leaving Assateague Island late that day after the best light of the day had finally faded away I drove south making my way to Chincoteague Island, Virginia. Yet, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, Assateague will stay with me forever. How could it not with its azure green saltwater marshes blowing in the ocean breezes. ENJOY!

2 comments :

  1. Superb photos, specially the heron, but your words are a true story in themselves, yes, that day will be a wonderful memory to keep. Green grass shows off the horses' colours so well. Cheers from Jean.

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  2. A beautiful day on Assateague. Some info in the horses http://www.thehiddengalleon.com

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