Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Taking the waters

White-tailed deer having an evening dip in Verdigre Creek. Photos by Jessa.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The good news about Delmarva fox squirrels

We've posted about Delmarva fox squirrels before. [See previous post. Go ahead, we've got time.] Now, I have good news on two fronts.

First, management efforts (including this nest box) have been successful, and the DFS was de-listed in 2015. Huzzah!

Second, we've got new and better pictures! Huzzah!

See, I told you these were better.

Do we have a bit of an obsession with squirrels here at Flyover Country? Fair to say... We've posted about (in no particular order) eastern chipmunks, chickarees, thirteen-lined ground squirrels, black-tailed prairie dogs, rock squirrels, round-tailed ground squirrels, Yuma antelope squirrels, etc. Click the "squirrels" link below to see 'em all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Their island home

The seasons came and went, and the ponies adopted the New World as their own. They learned to take care of themselves. When summer came and with it the greenhead flies by day and the mosquitoes by night, they plunged into the sea, up to their necks in the cool surf. The sea was their friend. Once it had set them free. Now it protected them from their fiercest enemies.

—Marguerite Henry, Misty of Chincoteague

Assateague horses/Chincoteague ponies (choose your term) from the Virginia herd. We were reliably informed that there are currently four bands within the herd; three of the bands are represented here in Jessa's photos.

Previous post: My kingdom for a horse

Monday, July 23, 2018

Snapshots from Curtis Merritt Harbor

Curtis Merritt is a working harbour and hosts the busiest boat ramp on Chincoteague. Charter boats, commercial fishing vessels, and pleasure cruisers all operate out of this little harbour near the south end of the island. It is routinely patrolled by the US Coast Guard, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission Police, and the Chincoteague Police, not to mention several species of gull.

[You had better believe they mean "no wake".]

[Every line has a purpose; a lot of skill goes into rigging the boats.]

[A boat entering the harbour, past the Waterman's Memorial. "For those who go out; for those who never came back."]

[Steve, first mate aboard "Misty".]

Sunday, July 22, 2018

More waterbirds

After a series of single-species profiles, we hereby present a selection of miscellaneous Eastern Shore birds, all living near and dependent upon the water. Photos by Jessica and me, mostly Jess, as they have been all week.

Blue herons, great and little.

Egrets, great and snowy.


American oystercatchers.

Herring gulls, just in case you haven't had enough of gulls.

Bald eagle.


Saturday, July 21, 2018

A few osprey nests

The fish hawks' breeding season was in full swing when we visited Virginia's Eastern Shore last month.

This active nest was almost immediately adjacent to US-13 at Fisherman Island NWR, and there were numerous other ospreys hunting in the immediate vicinity.

We got a good look at this one, on a channel marker near Curtis Merritt Harbor on Chincoteague.

Not far away was this nest, in shabbier-than-usual condition but still possibly active, on an abandoned house.

And one more from Chincoteague, this one atop a duck blind on Assateague Channel and definitely active.

Come to think of it, this small collection is decently representative of osprey nests in the region: while some ospreys nest in trees, they readily take to all manner of human-built structures, including but not limited to purpose-built nesting platforms. They are not particularly shy about nesting near human activity; nor are they averse to nesting in fairly close proximity to other ospreys. And while it may not be immediately obvious from these photos, their nests tend to be somewhat haphazard in construction and a bit trashy with regard to decor.

Cheers to a successful season!