The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Deer’

Easter 2021 Vacation Day 7 – Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

In my previous blog post I wrote that we returned to our rental AirBnb, Tranquil Shores, after lunch.

Around 3:00 pm we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We drove on the Wildlife Loop twice and took Beach Road to the Toms Cove Visitor Center, where we turned around. 

Wildlife Loop – 14 Turtles on tuft of grass
Wildlife Loop – Great Blue Heron and Glossy Ibis
Wildlife Loop – Sika Deer
Wildlife Loop – Sika Deer
Snowy Egret, seen along Beach Road near Toms Cove Visitor Center
Great Egret, seen along Beach Road near Toms Cove Visitor Center

Yes, we visit the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge several times during Chincoteague, VA vacations. Often we visit the refuge more than one time a day. The refuge is one of the main reasons we go to Chincoteague year after year.

Turkeys and a Deer

On our way home from Letchworth State Park a flock of turkeys crossed the road in front of us.  We stopped on Akeley Road in Russell PA in front of the yard to which the turkeys had crossed.

Turkeys and a deer along Akeley Road in Russell, PA

When I took this picture I didn’t see the deer in the background.  My focus was on the flock of turkeys.  As I lowered my camera, after taking this picture, I saw movement to the left.  I saw the deer’s raised white tail disappearing out of my sight.  I looked at the picture that I had taken.  I was glad that I had captured a picture of the deer in addition to the turkeys.  As a bonus, the deer was looking at me!

 

 

Chincoteague Vacation – Day 4

Late in the morning we rode our bicycles in the neighborhood to Veteran’s Memorial Park. 

Veteran’s Memorial Park sits along the Assateague Channel

Our round trip ride was 5 miles.

We ate lunch at McDonald’s and then drove onto the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, stopping for photo opportunities along Beach Access Road.  We saw wild ponies in the marsh, closer than we have seen them in past years.  There were wild ponies in the pony corral, too, near the Woodland Trail.

According to a delmava now news story, published on April 1st, “Chincoteague pony stallion Riptide and his band were penned in the south corral on Assateague Island after visitors to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge disregarded warnings not to approach the wild ponies…The ponies will remain in the corral until the spring roundup April 12 and 13”.

We saw great blue herons, egrets and wood ducks.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Snowy Egret

Pair of Hooded Mergansers (Thanks EileeninMD for ID)

We spent a couple hours at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, before returning to our vacation home.  We relaxed for a couple hours.

We returned to the Wildlife Refuge around 4:30 pm.  We went for a drive around the Wildlife Loop.  We saw birds, a fox, Sika deer, egrets, turtles, snapping turtles and a muskrat.

Red-Wing Blackbird

Mama Fox

Mama Fox – What a face!

Mama Fox

Two Egrets

I love the reflections!

Two Egrets, a Great Egret taking flight

Three Egrets, a Snowy Egret in flight

Snowy Egret

 

Muskrat

Snapping Turtle

Painted Turtle

Two Snapping Turtles Mating

Leaving the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, after an approximately 45-minute visit, we drove to Food Lion and picked up dinners for three nights (through Thursday).  Our purchases included three ready-made salads and three Culinevo ready-made dinner entrees–lasagna, beef stew and beef and noodles.  All dinner entrees are microwaveable. We shared a Chef Salad and the beef stew for dinner.  For dessert we had cheesecake.

We watched a few more episodes of NYPD Blue and went to bed.

Allegany State Park Deer

We went for a drive yesterday, when Bob came home from work (3:30 pm).  We drove, first, to a dead end street alongside the Allegheny River here in Warren PA.  One of Bob’s coworkers told Bob that he sees an eagle often, sitting in a tree on one of the river islands.  We didn’t see an eagle. 

Leaving the riverside, we drove along the eastern side of the Allegheny Reservoir and through Allegany State Park.  We didn’t see any wildlife, as we drove PA Route 59, PA Route 321, PA Route 346 or NY Route 280.  I am glad that Bob decided to add a drive through Allegany State Park, as we saw 14 deer at various places in the park. 

Sorry deer; there is no entertainment at the amphitheater in the Winter!

Two deer in a field

My new camera did a good job focusing on this deer that had brush all around it.

These deer very near the road.

I stayed inside our car, but the deer feeding very near the road were not afraid of us.

This deer looks like it is talking to me.

Peek-a-boo! I see you!

Deer feeding near the road

 

Leaving Allegany State Park, via the Red House Exit, we took I-86 to the Steamburg NY exit and drove along the western side of the Allegheny Reservoir.  We saw eight more deer, during this portion of the drive.  All total, we saw 19 deer!

We stopped at Arby’s for dinner.  Bob had a salad with a cookie.  I had a beef ‘n cheddar sandwich with curly fries and a mint chocolate shake.  The shake is available only for a limited time each year.  It is a once-a-year treat for me.

We returned home around 7:30 pm.

Our Chincoteague Vacation (Part 3 of 3)

This blog post continues our 3-day Easter weekend vacation at Chincoteague Island.  Our first vacation day was a travel day.  We spent much of our second vacation day at the NASA Wallops Visitor Center and exploring the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

On Saturday, March 26th, we drove to the Assateague Island National Seashore at 6:00 am to watch the sun rise at 6:55 am.

Assateague Island Sunrise

While on our way back to the hotel from the seashore, we made a couple stops along Beach Access Road.  Our first stop was at Little Toms Cove.

The Assateague Lighthouse is visible across from Little Toms Cove.
We opted not to walk the Assateague Lighthouse trail this year.

We saw Northern Shoveler Ducks on Friday.
We were rewarded with their presence again on Saturday.

 

We saw ponies at our second stop on Beach Access Road.

Chincoteague Wild Pony

Back at the hotel we ate breakfast in our hotel room, as it was quite crowded in the breakfast room and too chilly to sit on the outside patio.

After breakfast we drove into the town of Chincoteague. At the draw bridge we turned right onto Main Street and followed it to the end, where there was a turn around.  We made three stops on Main Street.

Our first stop was at the Captain Timothy Hill House.

Captain Timothy Hill House (c. 1800)
Oldest house on Chincoteague Island

The Captain Timothy Hill House is the oldest house on Chincoteague Island.  We were not able to tour the house interior, as the house was closed for the season.

Our second stop was at a house with a miniature replica of itself built beside a mailbox.

A house and its miniature replica

Our third stop was at a yard sale, where I picked up the game Connect and four bags of small plastic toys for our granddaughters.

We made our way back to the traffic light at the draw bridge. We crossed over VA 175 and drove into downtown Chincoteague on Main Street. We were soon stopped by runners.

Runners on Main Street

 

A search on Facebook revealed that Saturday was the Bay to Bay 10K & 5K Run/Walk Event.  All proceeds from this event support the Chincoteague YMCA financial assistance program.  We did continue our drive on Main Street, slowly, encountering runners all the way and on the return trip.

Chincoteague Island docked boat

The Chincoteague Channel runs alongside Main Street.  This boat was docked near where we turned around to return to downtown Chincoteague.  I applied a texture effect to the original photograph and love the result.

An Easter egg hunt followed the Bay to Bay 10K & 5K Run/Walk Event.  Upon our return to downtown Chincoteague, we parked across from the Robert Reed Park. We walked over to the park and watched the Easter egg hunt.

Here comes the Easter bunny.

The Easter bunny posed for lots of pictures.

On your mark, get set and GO!

Some children picked up Easter eggs near them,
while others ran to pick up the eggs the farthest away.

Easter Egg Hunt

After the Easter egg hunt we made a return trip to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The highlight of that trip was a great blue heron.

Great Blue Heron

I watched this great blue heron for about 30 minutes.  The only movement the heron made, during that time, was to stretch its neck!

Later in the morning we returned to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. We parked at the Wildlife Loop and walked the ½ mile Marsh Trail.

Marsh Trail Scene

Marsh Trail Scene

Marsh Trail Scene
The overlook was our destination.

Marsh Trail Scene

I am standing on the overlook.
You can see Marsh Trail, leading up to the overlook.

After walking the Marsh Trail, we drove along Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore.  A Chincoteague wild pony was closer to the Beach Access Road than it had been all weekend.

Chincoteague Wild Pony

 

It was very clear along the Assateague Island National Seashore, a big difference from Friday’s foggy scene.

Assateague Island National Seashore

After leaving the seashore, we stopped opposite Little Toms Cove.

My best photograph of the Northern Shoveler Duck!

These wading birds were fun to watch!

UPDATE 4/1/2016: 
I emailed Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge for help in identifying the birds in these two photographs.  The top photograph “features a greater yellow legs on the left and that bird is transitioning to breeding plumage. The other two birds are also yellow legs, but probably lesser. The bottom photograph “Few birds. Foreground is another lesser yellow legs. Far right is a long billed dowitcher. Smaller birds are dunlin and the other larger birds middle and left are short billed dowitcher.”  Thank you, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, for identifying these birds!

Farther along Beach Access Road we spotted a Kingfisher, a first for both of us.

Belted Kingfisher

We ate a late lunch about 20 miles from Chincoteague Island at Metompkin Seafood Market.

Metompkin Seafood Market

We found this seafood market by asking Siri, iPhone’s virtual assistant, where to find a good place to eat near Wallops Island.  Siri made an excellent choice.

You place your order here, either for fresh seafood or for fried seafood.

The menu is behind the counter, but it is located outside on the patio wall as well.  While looking at the outside menu, a woman walked by and remarked “Order one of everything.  Everything is good.”

Fresh Seafood

We both ordered fried seafood platters.  We waited 15-20 minutes, I believe, for our meals.  It was standing room only inside that tiny shack!  We struck up a conversation with a local man, who has been coming to Metompkin Seafood for 10+ years.  He told us everything on the menu is good.  We ate our meals on the patio outside.  The man with whom we struck up a conversation inside joined us outside at our table.  The conversation was pleasant, and our meals were very filling and tasted great!  We would definitely make a return trip to Metompkin Seafood Market!

Returning to Chincoteague Island, we made another trip to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. It was after 3:00 pm, so it was possible once again to drive the car around the Wildlife Loop. We actually drove the loop two times. I am happy that we decided to drive twice around the Wildlife Loop, as we saw a deer the second time around.

Wildlife Loop Deer

As we approached the deer, a car was in front of us stopped on Wildlife Loop looking at the deer.  The deer turned around and went back into the weeds.  The stopped car moved on.  We slowly approached the place where the deer had been.  Bob pulled off the road and turned off the engine.  I got out of the car, standing behind the hood.  We waited for a few minutes.  The deer popped its head out and quickly pranced across the road.  It really wanted to get to the other side!

Before returning to the hotel we drove to the Island Creamery for dessert.

the Island Creamery

The Island Creamery, which sells homemade ice cream, is a popular place. It was busy, but the line moved faster than we expected.

 

Bob ordered 2 scoops of Java Jolt ice cream; I ordered one scoop of Marsh Mud ice cream and one scoop of Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream. Delicious! I wouldn’t have ordered the Marsh Mud ice cream, if it hadn’t been recommended to me by a couple in line behind us. They told us, when that ice cream was first made, it was made incorrectly. However, everyone liked that ice cream, so they kept making it the wrong way.

We returned to our hotel, the Best Western Chincoteague, around 5:00 pm. I noticed that the hotel cleaning woman had placed an Easter chocolate on each of our pillows.  What a nice touch!

We checked out of the hotel at 5:00 am on Easter Sunday and began our drive back home. Our ETA was 12:53 pm.   We made a few stops on the way home, the longest stop being at Cracker Barrel in Hagerstown MD.  We stopped there for breakfast.  We both ordered the Sunrise Sampler.  We returned home around 2:30 pm.

We are talking already about our next vacation in Chincoteague!

 

Easter Vacation – Day 4 of 5

The fourth day of our vacation fell on Easter Sunday (April 20th).  After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and were on our way west by 7:00 am.

Wait a minute!  Weren’t we supposed to stay four nights at our hotel?  Our original plan was to stay four nights in Waynesboro VA.   We awakened early on Easter Sunday.  While waiting for the breakfast room to open, Bob mentioned wanting to go home a different way than the route we took coming to Waynesboro. He said the different route home would add about an hour to our travel time. When we made our vacation plans, we talked about driving Skyline Drive in addition to driving the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We had crossed off driving Skyline Drive soon after our vacation began.  As we didn’t have anything planned for Easter Sunday, I asked Bob if he would be interested in starting home a day early by way of the new route. I love spontaneity!

So, at 7:00 am, we departed Waynesboro VA.  We drove to the Best Western Grove City Inn in Grove City PA, where we spent the night.  Here is a map of our route.

The first part of our drive to Grove City was via U.S. Route 250.  This could be one of the best routes we have ever taken.  U.S. Route 250 takes you up and over two large mountains, with great scenery all around.    We followed U.S. Route 250 west through Staunton VA and the George Washington National Forest.   We made our first stop while in the George Washington National Forest.

According to the inscription on this marker I was standing in the middle of what was once Fort Edward Johnson, when I took this picture.  Confederate soldiers built this fort in 1862 under the command of Brigadier General Edward Johnson, a career officer from Virginia.

To the right of the interpretive marker was a 0.5 mile trail.

Confederate Breastworks Interpretive Trail

The trail led to what remains of the mile of trench and breastworks, which were built by Confederate soldiers to defend the Shenandoah Valley from an invasion by Union Troops marching from the west.

Confederate Breastworks Interpretive Trail

Returning to our car from the trail, we admired the view from what used to be Fort Edward Johnson.

Fort Edward Johnson Overlook

 

Leaving the George Washington National Forest, we passed through the town of Monterey.  Our second stop was just past Monterey.  We pulled off alongside the road, and I took several photographs of the Blue Grass Valley.

Blue Grass Valley

Blue Grass Valley

Blue Grass Valley

The Blue Grass Valley is beautiful.  We had to content ourselves with a bird’s eye view of the valley, as time constraints did not permit us to drive through the valley.  Oh, how I would have loved to meander the rural roads of the Blue Grass Valley!

Blue Grass Valley

Blue Grass Valley

While taking these photographs of the Blue Grass Valley, I enjoyed the song of birds singing, geese honking and the warm sunshine beating down on my head.

 

We made one last stop in Virginia, shortly before the West Virginia border.  The reason for the stop was not to photograph a scenic vista.  The reason for the stop was to photograph a deer alongside the road.

The deer was not skittish; it seemed curious about us.

Our next stop was in the town of Durbin WV, located in the heart of the Monogahela National Forest.  While traveling along U.S. Route 250 I kept finding reasons to return to this part of Virginia and West Virginia.  I found yet another reason for a return trip in the town of Durbin.

Durbin’s Main Street

Durbin Train Depot

Durbin Train Depot

Durbin Train Depot

The town of Durbin is home to a tourist train, the Durbin Rocket. I want to take a ride on this train!

Leaving Durbin we climbed Cheat Mountain.

At the top of Cheat Mountain, we enjoyed this view of the Allegheny Mountains.

Soon after leaving the Monogahela National Forest we turned north onto U.S. Route 219 and made our way to Interstate 79.

We were fairly certain that we would not drive all the way home in one day, even though it was quite possible to do so. It became a certainty that we would be making the trip home in two days at 1:00 pm, when I booked a room for us at the Best Western Grove City Inn in Grove City, PA.   Having the Internet on our mobile phones, while traveling, is a convenience that we both enjoy.

We reached our hotel in Grove City around 4:00 pm.    We checked in, and then went in search of a restaurant. Hoss’s Steak and Sea House was closed. Kings Family Restaurant had been open but closed early, as was the case for the Eat ‘n Park Restaurant.   We finally found an open restaurant.  Primanti Brothers was open.  It was the first time either of us ate at Primanti Brothers.  We each ordered fish ‘n chips for dinner, a far cry from the baked ham dinner that I had hoped to have for Easter dinner.  After dinner, we retired to our room for the night.

Oh, we did make another stop before arriving at our hotel in Grove City.  We stopped at McConnells Mill State Park, which is located about 20 miles from Grove City.  I will share photographs from McConnells Mill State Park in my next blog post.

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