ChincoteagueNWR > June 2017
Travels Index Michael W Masters

Image Thumbnails

Well, It's Official. . .

After years of discussions, public meetings and planning, Assateague Island National Seashore will have a new recreational beach.  Someday, when the budget can accomodate the estimated $15-20 million needed to execute the beach development plan.  Hurricanes, nor'easters and even tidal overwash have at long last made continued maintenance of the current beach parking area financially untenable according to officials.  The new public beach will be located farther north on Assateague, along the Service Road, beyond the Wildlife Loop and Shoveler Pool.  There, deeper land areas behind the beach will provide more protection from storms and wave damage.

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge has posted a fact sheet summarizing the long-awaited and often discussed refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan.  You can read a brief discussion about the planned new beach here, and a July 2017 Update contains a link to a USDOT summary page referencing many aspects of the new beach proposal, including a slide presentation that provides a detailed explanation of why the beach is moving.  Of particular note is the slide on page 9, showing the evolution of the the beach and Tom's Hook since 1850.  The bottom line is that ocean action is slowly moving the beach west as well as narrowing it to the point where one can foresee a time when Tom's Hook may become a separate island.

One of the consequences of the beach move is that summer access to the current Tom's Hook beach area will eventually be curtailed.  This will almost certainly produce a negative impact on nature and bird photographers.  In particular, it will render inaccessible productive morning photo locations such as Swan Cove, the marsh behind the beach parking lot and the small, sheltered notch in Little Tom's Cove near the beach that I've referred to for years as Tiny Tom's Cove.  Shorebirds, gulls and terns often congregate in this tiny inlet to bathe or just hang out, and egrets and herons hunt for fish in shallow tidal waters lit by the morning sun.  One suspects that the Wildlife Loop will also be impacted since beach traffic will have to traverse the back exit straightaway to get to the new beach parking lot.

All of these current locations have one thing in common for bird photographers in particular -- the presence of large bodies of open water.  A quick glance at the refuge map at the end of the Chincoteague NWR brochure reveals the presence of additional pools north of Shoveler -- Mallard, Pintail, Farm Fields and Gadwall.  Beyond those, there are two large impoundments, South Wash Flats and North Wash Flats.  However, the first set of pools are small compared to Swan Cove and Snow Goose Pool (Wildlife Loop), and there's nothing remotely like Little Tom's Cove to be had.  Worse, most photos and aerial map images reveal the smaller pools to be dry much of the time.

Furthermore, according to the CCP fact sheet, the Service Road will continue to be open only to hikers, placing everything beyond the new beach effectively beyond reach.  Given the substantial distances involved, hiking in with a large, bird-capable telephoto rig will not be an option for most.

Image Thumbnails   Top of Page   Bottom of Page

We understand that the economic and environment impact of frequent storm damage to the existing beach in recent years has driven the beach move.  With no end to storm damage in sight, moving the public beach seems like a solution from the bean-counter perspective.  However, bird photography can only suffer as a result.  For years  now, there has been a downward trend in the bird population at the refuge, particularly shore birds.  These small flyers were once plentiful in all the locations named above, but now they are rarely seen -- except for resident willets and the occasional oystercatcher that inhabit the marsh grass between the current beach and Little Tom's Cove.  The Snow Goose Pool, enclosed by the Wildlife Loop, was once the best place for afternoon imaging.  But lately, it has contained very little water, and as a result few subjects venture near enough to the road to become photographic subjects.

Closing the beach road short of the Swan Cove/Little Tom's Cove causeway will almost certainly have a serious adverse impact on bird photography at the refuge.


Image Thumbnails   Top of Page   Bottom of Page
BeachLifeGuardStand_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7475 copy BeachSurfer_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7461 copy BeachVisitor_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7683 copy BeachWaves_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D4A0758 copy BeachWaves_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D4A0774 copy
BeachWaves_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D4A0782 copy BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D4A0735 copy BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D4A0839 copy BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0262 copy BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0268 copy
BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0271 copy BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0272 copy BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0278 copy BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0279 copy BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0280 copy
BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0323 copy BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0327 copy BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0329 copy BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0332 copy BlackDuckMarsh_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0333 copy
BlackDuckPool_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0270 copy BlackDuck_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3891 copy BlackDuck_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3923 copy BlackDuck_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7210 copy BlackDuck_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7226 copy
Image Thumbnails   Top of Page   Bottom of Page
BlackDuck_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7261 copy BlackDuck_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7271 copy BlackDuck_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7297 copy EagleSwanCove_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3932 copy Fishermen_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3629 copy
ForstersTern_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3131 1 copy GreatEgret_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3252 copy GreatEgret_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3765 copy GreatEgret_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7427 copy GreatEgret_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7432 copy
GreatEgret_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7436 copy GreatEgret_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7441 copy GreatEgret_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7446 copy GreatEgret_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7867 copy HerringGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7117 copy
HerringGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA8190 copy HerringGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA8196 copy HerringGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA8197 copy HerringGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA8213 copy HerringGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA8216 copy
HerringGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA8218 copy LaughingGull1stYear_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7745 copy LaughingGull1stYear_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7750 copy LaughingGull1stYear_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7754 copy LaughingGull1stYear_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7777 copy
Image Thumbnails   Top of Page   Bottom of Page
LaughingGull1stYear_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7789 copy LaughingGull1stYear_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7793 copy LaughingGull1stYear_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7797 copy LaughingGull1stYear_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7829 copy LaughingGull1stYear_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7850 copy
LaughingGull1stYear_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7862 copy LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7325 copy LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7329 copy LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7333 copy LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7339 copy
LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7365 copy LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7401 copy LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7404 copy LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7888 copy LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7889 copy
LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7890 copy LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7895 copy LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7904 copy LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7905 copy LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7913 copy
LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA8067 copy LaughingGullFlight_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA8116 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7091 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7129 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7492 copy
Image Thumbnails   Top of Page   Bottom of Page
LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7504 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7505 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7508 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7526 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7536 copy
LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7551 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7592 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7609 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7615 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7621 copy
LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7626 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7696 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7697 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7709 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7715 copy
LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7722 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7726 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7740 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA7744 copy LaughingGull_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_4DXA8221 copy
LittleBlueHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3166 copy LittleBlueHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3434 copy LittleBlueHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3436 copy LittleBlueHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3442 copy LittleBlueHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3444 copy
Image Thumbnails   Top of Page   Bottom of Page
LittleBlueHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3681 copy LittleBlueHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3701 copy LittleBlueHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3723 copy LittleBlueHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3729 copy LittleBlueHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3752 copy
LittleTomsCove_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0310 copy LittleTomsCove_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0312 copy MorningGlory_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3867 copy OysterBay_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D4A0734 copy OysterBay_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0266 copy
PipingPlover_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3128 copy Rabbit_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3114 copy Rabbit_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3117 copy Rabbit_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3484 copy Rabbit_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3487 copy
Rabbit_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3496 copy RefugeRoad_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D4A0741 copy RefugeRoad_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D4A0742 copy SnappingTurtle_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0247 copy SnappingTurtle_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0248 copy
SnowyEgret_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3468 copy SnowyEgret_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3475 copy SwanCove_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0285 copy SwanCove_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0290 copy SwanCove_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_5D5A0305 copy
Image Thumbnails   Top of Page   Bottom of Page
TricolorHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3665 copy TricolorHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3796 copy TricolorHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3809 copy TricolorHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3825 copy TricolorHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3830 copy
TricolorHeron_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3833 copy Willet_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3157 copy Willet_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3191 copy Willet_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3204 copy Willet_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3244 copy
Willet_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3269 copy Willet_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3285 copy Willet_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3387 copy Willet_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3407 copy Willet_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3427 copy
Willet_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3537 copy Willet_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3569 copy Willet_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3597 copy Willet_ChincoNWR_2017Jun_3DXA3619 copy  
Image Thumbnails   Top of Page   Bottom of Page


Top of Page