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National Waterfowl Week At Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge
Bird watchers, photographers and nature lovers pour into Virginia during National Waterfowl Week at Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge. Chincoteague and Assateague Islands are along the Atlantic flyway, on the eastern shore of Virginia. The islands are popular summer vacation spots, but are year round attractions for bird watchers and nature lovers. Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge, Assateague National Seashore and Chincoteague Island are located within a few hours of Baltimore Maryland, Washington DC, and Hampton Roads Virginia. The annual event is extremely popular among birders and travelers to the area. The star attractions are the snow geese, which arrive by the thousands just in time for the event.
Visitors drive, bike or walk onto the wildlife loop, where a road encircles a large lagoon. Vehicles are quickly abandoned as camera tripods go up, and families find the trumpeting and antics of the geese too irresistible to remain inside. During the late fall the refuge is also visited by Canadian geese, swans, brant, ducks, herons, egrets, oyster catchers, loons, grebes, plovers and other birds. Much of the waterfowl remain at Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge throughout the winter. Photographers take pictures by the hundreds during this dramatic event.
The refuge layout allows photographers of all skill levels to have an opportunity to capture wildlife on film or digital media. The snow geese and many of the visiting ducks migrate north in early spring. A few ducks and a sizeable population of Canada geese remain and raise young on the island. Other year round residents include the egrets and herons which occupy every stretch of canal and marsh. In addition to the wildlife loop, naturalists can spot birds and other wildlife along the beaches, around the hiking trails. The island has a nice array of sites to see and photograph in addition to waterfowl. The wild ponies of Assateague Island and the lighthouse are two famous attractions that few visitors can resist. The area also has clamming, fishing, kayaking and other outdoor activities.