Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Island Friends


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.

17 comments:

slommler said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful creatures! What a beautiful place!
Hugs
SueAnn

Leah J. Utas said...

That's wonderful about the wild ponies bought and returned. Wild should stay wild.

Brian Miller said...

its like you were shooting in my backyard....we have dear and rabbits and just over the hill a horse farm...thanks for taking us with you...wild horses...nice.

Dave King said...

Some beautiful images there, and an interesting storyline to go with them.

Chris said...

As a child, I went to the pony swim and sale several years in a row. Thanks for the memories!

One Woman's Journey said...

I do not have to travel - I read Tabor's sharing. Beautiful place.
If I had a driver - I would go!!

Frank Baron said...

Thanks for these, Tabor. I'm glad there's a couple of havens for wild horses and wish there were more.

Brian Miller said...

but i did make it down to it...and thank you. smiles.

Wendy said...

Beautiful! I do like the little rabbit - he's so sweet.
Thank you for your kind words on my blog.

Bossy Betty said...

Thank you so much for these pictures! I LOVED "Misty"!

A Write Life said...

Great post. Lovely pics. Thanks for sharing them with us.

sheri said...

wow, tabor, what an adventure you had! i think it's incredible to get to actually see for yourself somewhat exotic animals who are running wild...i can't begin to imagine how cool that was! the photo of the ponies, especially, was wonderful and i'm so glad you shared them :)

Monkey Man said...

Great photos and narrative. Looks quite peaceful.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I'm a Maryland native ... and of course always love a cute bunny. (My favorite beach haunt was Ocean City though).

Hilary said...

So lovely to know about the wild horses.

Granny Annie said...

I am terrified of domestic horses but I love to see wild horses running free.

Rachel Cotterill said...

Gorgeous! I do love wildlife :)