Tuesday, July 27, 2010
My return brought photos of my recent visit to Assateague National Seashore where I encountered a number of new friends. The one above is familiar and he was absolutely sure that if he stood very, very, very still I would not see him. He was almost right! I am sure he was not drinking out of that discarded bottle, but one never really knows.
This above is not a fawn but a non-indigenous Sika deer that lives on the island. They were brought to the island from Asia in 1923 and are actually regarded as an elk and do not get much larger than seen in this photo. I have read that they make ten different sounds! They were quiet while I was watching them graze in the marsh land.
Above are the famous wild ponies of the island. Perhaps when you were a child or your children were young you read them a book called "Misty of Chincoteague" by Marguerite Henry. She wrote two more fictional horse stories based on real ponies from this herd. (This photo has been reduced in size and is a bit grainy.)
One story is that these ponies arrived via a ship wreck in the 18th Century. Others say they were part of farms in the early years. There are two separate herds of about 150 each. One is managed by the park service and the other by the volunteer fire department. They are managed by using anti-fertilization injections and a big pony swim in the summer where they are driven across the channel during slack tide and then about 70 are auctioned. About a dozen of the ponies purchased in the auction are returned to the island as a gift. This has been a money source for the volunteer fire department since 1925. They are truly wild, and other than wild mustangs out west, perhaps the last remnant of early horse days in America.