Chincoteague NWR > November 2010
Travels Index Michael W. Masters

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This visit to Chincoteague NWR turned out to be the most productive November visit ever.  The trip was made in conjunction with a few other nature photographers, and we happened to hit the refuge at a peak of waterfowl migration.  In fact, the refuge was also overrun with photographers, birdwatchers and nature lovers of every strip.

And for good reason.  Although snow geese were not yet at their peak there were a few thousand in residence at Swan Cove.  But equally importantly, many other waterfowl species were also present, including ruddys, northern pintails, mallards, northern shovelers, and lesser scaups.  They were joined by tundra swans, cormorants and even coots.

The biggest action was along Egret Alley, the channel that connects Swan Cove to the culvert that drains excess water out to Little Tom's Cove.  Many birds were tired enough to endure the attentions of large groups of photographers along the bank as ruddys, lesser scaups and cormorants cruised by.  A pair of raccoons hunting along the far side made a cameo appearance as well.

For once Snow Goose Pool within the Wildlife Loop was well stocked with photo opportunities, and I was able to capture ruddy, northern pintail, mallard, northern shoveler, tunda swan and coot images there.  The resident bald eagle pair were also in evidence, visible near their long term nest in a stand of pines between the Wildlife Loop and the beach road. (Note:  Their nest was lost during Hurricane Sandy and they have chosen another tree to rebuild.)

One thing I did discover from photographing the eagle perched on the dead tree was that my 800mm lens with 1.4X extender produced a better quality image than the same lens with 2X extender.  Of course, loss of AF with the 2X may have been a factor, but rezzing up the 1.4X image produced a better result at equal image scales.

Finally, I was able to capture a very nice panorama of Little Tom's Cove on a gray overcast day, from the Assateague Beach Visitor Center on the left to the beach road on the right.


AtlanticSunrise_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A2730 BaldEagle_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3224 BaldEagles_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A2834 Coot_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3089 Coot_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3774
Coot_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3781 Coot_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A4001 Coot_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A4027 Coot_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A4062 Coot_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A4070
Coot_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A4075 Cormorant_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3685 Cormorant_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3698 LesserScaup_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_D4A1622 LesserScaup_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3536
LesserScaup_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3566 LesserScaup_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3586 LesserScaup_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3600 LesserScaup_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3603 MallardFemale_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A4223
MallardMale_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3799 MallardPair_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3807 NorthernShovelerFemale_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3911 NorthernShovelerMale_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3872 NorthernShovelerMale_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3890
Pintail_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A4200 Pintail_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A4236 Raccoon_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A2809 Raccoon_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A2825 RingBillGull_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_D4A1316
RingBillGull_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_D4A1332 RuddyDuck_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A2502 RuddyDuck_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A2591 RuddyDuck_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A2597 RuddyDuck_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A2603
RuddyDuck_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3371 RuddyDuck_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3375 RuddyDuck_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3401 RuddyDuck_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3409 RuddyDuck_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3716
SnowGeeseFlight_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_D4A1066 SnowGeeseFlight_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_D4A1068 SnowGeeseFlight_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_D4A1464 SnowGeeseFlight_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_D4A1539 SnowGeeseLanding_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_D4A1531
SnowGeeseWatching_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3120 SnowGeese_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_D4A1498 SnowGooseFlight_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_D4A1442 SnowGoose_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_D4A1351 SnowGoose_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_D4A1352
SnowGoose_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A3084 SwanTakeoff_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_S3A2996 WildlifeLoopPool_ChincoNWR_2010Nov_D4A1614    

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