Chincoteague

National Wildlife Refuge - Virginia

The Chincoteague National Wildlife is primarily located on the Virginia half of Assateague Island with portions (only about 3%) located on the Maryland side of the island, as well as Morris Island and Wildcat Marsh. The refuge contains a large variety of wildlife animals and birds, including the Chincoteague Pony. The purpose of the refuge is to maintain, regulate and preserve animal and plant species as well as their habitats for present and future generations.

maps

Official visitor map of Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Assateague Island - Visitor Map

Official visitor map of Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

brochures

Brochure of Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Chincoteague - Brochure

Brochure of Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Tear Sheet of Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Chincoteague - Tear Sheet

Tear Sheet of Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Trail Map of Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Chincoteague - Trail Map

Trail Map of Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Assateague Island Lighthouse at Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Chincoteague - Assateague Island Lighthouse

Assateague Island Lighthouse at Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Birds at Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Chincoteague - Birds

Birds at Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Mammals at Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Chincoteague - Mammals

Mammals at Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Reptiles at Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Chincoteague - Reptiles

Reptiles at Chincoteague (NWR) in Virginia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Chincoteague NWR https://www.fws.gov/refuge/eastern_shore_of_virginia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chincoteague_National_Wildlife_Refuge The Chincoteague National Wildlife is primarily located on the Virginia half of Assateague Island with portions (only about 3%) located on the Maryland side of the island, as well as Morris Island and Wildcat Marsh. The refuge contains a large variety of wildlife animals and birds, including the Chincoteague Pony. The purpose of the refuge is to maintain, regulate and preserve animal and plant species as well as their habitats for present and future generations.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Chincoteague is one of more than 5 refuges and approximately million acres in the National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System is a network of lands and waters managed specifically for the protection of wildlife and wildlife habitat and represents the most comprehensive wildlife resource management program in the world. Units of the system stretch across the United States from northern Alaska to the Florida Keys and include small islands in the Caribbean and South Pacific. The character of the refuges is as diverse as the nation itself. The Service also manages National Fish Hatcheries, and provides Federal leadership in habitat protection, fish and wildlife research, technical assistance and the conservation and protection of migratory birds, certain marine mammals and threatened and endangered species. The National Park Service, Assateague Island National Seashore assists Chincoteague Refuge with environmental education and recreational activities on a portion of the beach. The Toms Cove Visitor Center is located near the beach parking lots and offers a variety of programs and exhibits. For more information, please call the Toms Cove Visitor Center at 757/336 6577. In 1965, Congress established the Assateague Island National Seashore, encompassing Chincoteague Refuge as well as the northern portion of Assateague Island. The legislation stated that the primary management of Chincoteague Refuge was for wildlife and the secondary use was for public recreation, including interpretation and education. Equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the programs and activities of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is available to all individuals, regardless of age, race, religion, color, sex, national origin, or disability. Contact: U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, 1849 C Street N.W., Washington, DC 20240. Cover photo: Michael Colopy Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge 8231 Beach Road P.O. Box 62 Chincoteague Island, VA 23336-0062 757/336 6122 757/336 5273 FAX E-mail: FW5RW_CNWR@FWS.GOV www.fws.gov/refuge/Chincoteague Federal Relay Service for the deaf and hard-of-hearing 1800/877 8339 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 1800/344 WILD http://www.fws.gov ugu t 2018 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge includes more than 14,000 acres of beach, dunes, marsh, and maritime forest. Within a workday’s access to millions of people, Chincoteague Refuge is one of the most visited refuges in the United States, providing visitors with outstanding opportunities to learn about and enjoy wildlands and wildlife. Introduction Sur ishin Photo: US WS Most of the refuge is located on the Virginia end of Assateague Island; however, 418 acres are on the Maryland side of the island, 427 acres are found on Morris Island, and 546 acres comprise Wildcat Marsh on the northern tip of Chincoteague Island. Additionally, Chincoteague Refuge’s boundaries extend south and encompass all or part of the following barrier islands: Assawoman, Metompkin, and Cedar. The refuge’s location along the Atlantic Flyway makes it a vital resting and feeding spot for a large number and diversity of birds. Chincoteague Refuge, originally established in 1943 to provide habitat for migratory birds (with an emphasis on conserving greater snow geese), today provides habitat for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and song birds, as well as other species of wildlife and plants. Refuge staff manage this barrier island habitat to allow many species of wildlife to co-exist, each establishing their own place in the environment. Refuge management programs restore threatened and endangered species and conserve local wildlife and plants. The refuge also provides wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities such as fishing, hunting, wildlife photography and observation, interpretation, and environmental education. n iron ental e u ation Photo: US WS Island History Remnants of Assateague Island’s history can still be found on the refuge. For example, the famous “Chincoteague Ponies” are a present-day reminder of Assateague Island’s past. Although no one is certain when or how the ponies first arrived on the island, a popular legend tells of ponies that escaped a shipwrecked Spanish galleon and swam ashore. However, most historians believe that settlers used the island for grazing livestock (including ponies and other farm animals) in the 17th Century to avoid fencing regulations and taxation. Regardless of their origin, the descendants of these ponies are still living here today. During the 1800s and early 1900s, a community of people also lived on Assateague Island. In addition to homes, the community included a school and a dry goods store. The iconic red and white striped Assateague Lighthouse is a beacon to sailors and tourists alike. The present bu
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reet n St Mai Chincoteague N South Wash Flats in ar lev ou Ma B ox dd Ma National Wildlife Refuge Trail Map et e Str d Gadwall Pool Ch an ne l Pony Swim nd Po Farm Fields Pool As sa te ag ue w So Pintail Pool Black Duck Pool D Dike Shoveler Snow Goose Pool Bivalve Trail North Over Sand Vehicle Zone Swan Cove Pool Little Toms Cove Mallard Pool C Dike Pool Atlantic Ocean NPS Visitor Center Toms Cove LEGEND South Over Sand Vehicle Zone Parking Lighthouse Visitor Center Kayak Launch Hiking Trails Hiking/Biking Trails Beach Area - Open to Public Crabbing Fishing Over Sand Vehicle Zones Restrooms Closed Areas - Stay on Trails Seasonal Closures Apply Pony View Beach Access 0 0 .5 2000 1 Mile 4000 Feet Unpaved Trails Lighthouse Trail (0.25 miles) Walking - moderately easy (sandy hill) Marsh Trail (0.5 miles) Walking - easy Bivalve Trail (0.25 miles) Walking - moderately easy (uneven terrain) Service Road (7.5 miles) Walking - easy First mile open to bicycling Observation Platform Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce Paved Trails Wildlife Loop (3.2 miles) Walking and bicycling - easy Open 3:00 PM to dusk to vehicles Woodland Trail (1.6 miles) Walking and bicycling - easy Black Duck Trail (1 mile) Walking and bicycling - easy Swan Cove Trail (0.5 miles) Walking and bicycling - easy The Refuge is Open Seven Days a Week May through September 5:00 A.M. - 10:00 P.M. April & October 6:00 A.M. - 8:00 P.M. November through March 6:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M. Welcome to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge... Where people and wildlife meet. Established in 1943 to provide habitat for migratory birds, the refuge protects more than 14,000 acres of beach, dunes, marsh and maritime forest. Every season brings unique opportunities to enjoy wildlife observation and photography. Songbirds, wading birds and shorebirds arrive in spring and many stay throughout the summer. Fall brings migratory raptors and monarch butterflies followed by the waterfowl that will spend the winter on the refuge. Visitors can explore trails, visit the beach, see the historic Assateague Lighthouse, and more! The refuge also offers a variety of special events throughout the year, so please see our website or inquire at a visitor center for details. Visitor Centers - Hours vary by season Herbert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Center (757-336-6122) 8231 Beach Road, Chincoteague, VA 23336 This center is the second left upon entering the refuge and features an information desk, exhibits, and videos showed on request in the auditorium. Refuge Headquarters is co-located with the Chincoteague Natural History Association, who operate a book store and run seasonal Refuge Treks from the center, call 757-336-3696 for details. Toms Cove Visitor Center (757-336-6577) 8586 Beach Road, Chincoteague, VA 23336 Located next to the recreational beach at the end of Beach Road, this center features a small aquarium and touch tank, a bookstore and an information desk. Ranger guided programs are available seasonally. Refuge Rules and Regulations The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service encourages you to enjoy your visit, but remember that protecting wildlife, plants, and their habitats is the priority. Regulations exist for the welfare of wildlife, as well as for your safety. Please read and comply with the following list of regulations. Note this list is not all inclusive; therefore, remember that unless an activity is listed as permitted in a brochure or on a sign, it is not allowed. Permitted Activities - in designated areas only Wildlife Observation, photography, interpretation and education - throughout the refuge Prohibited Activities Pets (even in vehicles) - Service dogs permitted as defined by ADA regulations. Contact us for details. Consuming alcoholic beverages Surf Fishing - into the ocean from the beach (Follow Virginia State Regulations) Disturbing, feeding, or harassing ponies or wildlife Hunting (with a refuge issued permit) D C Collecting, removing, or damaging plants or animals Crabbing & Shellfishing Removing driftwood, bones or skeletons Shell collecting (no more than one gallon of unoccupied sea shells per person per day) Use of metal detectors and collecting cultural or historic objects Hiking Climbing onto or digging into fragile sand dunes Bicycling Bicycling on the beach Boating - in Toms Cove and Assateague Channel (non-commercial) Camping/Overnight stays Over-Sand Vehicle Use (with permit) Open fires (except with a permit) or Fireworks Recreational Beach (lifeguards present seasonally) Boats and flotation devices within refuge water impoundments Horseback Riding (in South Over-Sand Vehicle Zone) Launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft (such as drones) v Climbing Assateague Lighthouse (schedule varies, call 757-336-3696) Firearms and weapons prohibited in government buildings Safety Measures to Protect You & Wildlife Protect yourself fr
Wildlife observation, interpretation, photography and hiking. Enjoy year-round on marked trails. Boats (Non-commercial) Permitted to land on designated areas on Toms Cove Hook from September 1 through March 14 or as otherwise posted. Refuge impoundments are closed to all boats and flotation devices. Bicycles Permitted on trails and roads unless otherwise posted. Horseback Riding Horseback riding is only permitted in the Off-Road Vehicle Zone. Mopeds and Motorized Scooters Permitted on Beach Road only. July 2015 R TM E NT O F T H E RI O R Swimming Permitted along the oceanfront and in designated areas of Toms Cove. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 1 800/344 WILD http://www.fws.gov TE Surf Fishing A saltwater license is required for surf fishing on the refuge. Fishing is prohibited on life guarded beaches. An overnight fishing permit is required to stay after hours. Inquire at the Toms Cove Visitor Center. Fires/Fireworks Open fires are prohibited except as authorized by special permit, which may be obtained from the National Park Service, Assateague Island National Seashore, at Toms Cove Visitor Center. Possession or discharge of fireworks or explosive devices is prohibited. Federal Relay Service for the deaf and hard-of-hearing 1 800/877 8339 IN Crabbing/shellfishing Permitted in designated areas of Toms Cove. Crabbing is permitted in designated areas of Swan Cove adjacent to Toms Cove. State shellfishing license is not required; however, state regulations and creel limits are enforced. Traps, pots, and handlines must be attended at all times. The following activities are prohibited. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge 8231 Beach Road P.O. Box 62 Chincoteague Island, VA 23336-0062 757/336 6122 757/336 5273 Fax 1 800/828 1120 TDD 1 800/828 1140 voice email: FW5RW_CNWR@fws.gov www.fws.gov/refuge/chincoteague PA Follow these guidelines for a fun and safe visit. The following activities are permitted. Note specific restrictions. Over-sand vehicle use Over-Sand Vehicle (OSV) Zones are posted and maps are available at the Chincoteague Refuge Visitor Center and Toms Cove Visitor Center. A fee is charged for all permits. Vehicle specifications and equipment requirements are strictly enforced. Limits are placed on the number of vehicles allowed on the beach at any one time. Temporary closures occur due to public safety and wildlife concerns. U.S. DE This goose, designed by J.N. “Ding” Darling, has become a symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System. M AR C H 3, 18 49 Skateboards/roller skates/in-line skates Use prohibited on refuge. Camping Prohibited on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Permits for back country sites in Maryland are available from the National Park Service, Assateague Island National Seashore, at Toms Cove Visitor Center. Firearms and weapons Prohibited in government buildings. Pets Prohibited, even in your vehicle. Alcohol Use of alcohol beverages is prohibited. Entering or remaining on the refuge while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances is prohibited. Great Egret © Mark Wilson U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Trail Map Herbert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Center Hours vary by season. Woodland Trail (1.6 miles) Walking and bicycling National Fishing Week June Marsh Trail (0.5 miles) Walking Waterfowl Week November Safety Protect yourself from ticks and mosquitoes, they may carry disease. To avoid tick bites and mosquitoes: stay on trails; use repellent; wear long sleeve shirts and long pants while exploring the area; and, inspect yourself carefully. Raccoons, horses and other mammals on the refuge may carry rabies. Enjoy all wildlife from a distance, especially if they seem friendly. Black Duck Pool h R oa d Woodland Trail Bivalve Trail B eac Wildlife Loop (3.2 miles) Walking and bicycling. Open 3:00 pm to dusk to vehicles ag ue Ch an ne l As sa te Janeys Creek Marsh Herbert H. Bateman Educational and s Administrative Center h Trail Black Duck Trail Pool Mallard Pool op Sw an il ra T ve Co 0 For additional information about the refuge, contact: O Refuge Manager Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge P.O. Box 62 Chincoteague Island, VA 23336 757/336 6122 FAX: 757/336 5273 email: FW5RW_CNWR@fws.gov www.fws.gov/refuge/chincoteague .5 4000 Feet 1 Mile Hiking Trails Hiking/Biking Trails Little Toms Cove Closed Areas - Stay on Trails Bivalve Trail (0.25 miles) Walking Refuge Hours Hours vary by season, open year-round. 2000 Legend N Swan Cove Trail (0.5 miles) Walking and bicycling D Dike Shoveler Snow Goose Pool Swans Cove Pool Road 0 Black Duck Trail (1 mile) Walking and bicycling w So nd Po Lighthouse Service Refuge Auditorium Program schedule available Lighthouse Trail (0.25 miles) Walking National Wildlife Refuge Week October Black Duck Marsh Tom’s Cove Visitor Center Hours vary by season. International Migratory Bird Celebration May Beach Cleanup
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge 8231 Beach Road P.O. Box 62 Chincoteague Island, VA 23336-0062 757/336 6122 757/336 5273 Fax E-mail: FW5RW_CNWR@FWS.GOV www.fws.gov/northeast/chinco Federal Relay Service for the deaf and hard-of-hearing 1 800/877 8339 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 1 800/344 WILD http://www.fws.gov August 2008 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Assateague Island Lighthouse Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge This red and white striped lighthouse is a beacon to sailors and tourists alike. The present lighthouse, completed in 1867, stands 142 feet tall— a needed improvement from the original 45-foot tall structure built in 1833. Although times have changed, the Assateague Island Lighthouse continues to be a constant reminder of days gone by. Snow geese dot the sunset in Assateague. Photo: Robert Wilson, USFWS. Why Assateague Island? Originally, no light existed between Cape Henlopen, Delaware and Cape Charles, Virginia. In 1830 Congress appropriated money for a light in the general vicinity of Chincoteague Island. The following year, the Collector of Customs in Norfolk selected Assateague Island. The original Assateague Lighthouse was built at, what was then, the southern tip of the island. Since barrier islands like Assateague shift and change, it is no wonder that the island has grown approximately 5 miles since the site was first designated. Over the years, a hook has developed to the south and the cove created by that hook has been gradually filling with sand. Moon over the Assateague Lighthouse. Photo: Barron Crawford, USFWS. When was the Lighthouse Built? The original lighthouse was completed in 1833. Only 45 feet high, it proved to be ineffective in warning ships of the dangerous shoals along this section of the coast. In 1859 Congress appropriated funds for the current lighthouse and work began the next year, ceasing only for the Civil War. Work resumed in 1866, and on October 1, 1867, the current lighthouse became fully operational. View from inside the lighthouse. Photo: USFWS Historic photo of the lighthouse c. 1955. Photo: USFWS. What is the Lighthouse Made Of? The foundation is made of stone and the lighthouse itself is made of brick. It was first painted with distinct red and white bands in the 1960s. The keeper’s quarters, built in 1910, is made of concrete, in a two-story bungalow style. This bungalow is located across the road from the lighthouse. The lighthouse stands 142 feet high and is perched on a hill 22 feet above sea level. Its diameter is 27 feet and 6 3/4 inches at the base. What about the Light? Over the years, the lighthouse has had a number of different lights. The original tower had an Argand lamp system consisting of 11 small oil lamps hung on a frame, each with its own individual reflector. In 1867 this light system was replaced by a large, first-order Fresnel lens and a single oil lamp housing four wicks. Fish oil was the most commonly used fuel. The lens was in a fixed position, but shone in all directions. It was the lighthouse keeper’s responsibility (along with as many as two assistants) to maintain the lamps. The third light, installed in 1933, still used the Fresnel lens, but was a flashing electric light, lit by three 100 watt bulbs. This light was powered by generators. A directional coded beacon, DCB, was installed in the early 1960s when electric lines first came to the island. It was replaced by a similar beacon in the early 1970s. The light consists of two large drums, each with a 1000 watt bulb. The light pattern of a double flash every five seconds is created by the alignment of one drum on top of another, twelve degrees apart, rotating at a specified rpm. The light is visible up to 19 nautical miles away. Is the Lighthouse Still Used? In 2004, ownership of the Assateague Island Lighthouse was transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is responsible for preserving the structure while the U.S. Coast Guard continues to maintain the light as an active aid to navigation. The refuge uses nearby keeper’s quarters as housing for temporary employees, volunteers, and interns. The first-order Fresnel lens that was at the Assateague lighthouse from 1867 until the early 1960s has been restored and is housed at the Oyster and Maritime Museum in Chincoteague. The lens is owned by the U.S. Coast Guard and is being loaned to the museum. A Famous Wreck off the Coast of Assateague... A number of wrecks have occurred off the coast of Assateague. Perhaps the most famous was the Despatch, President Benjamin Harrison’s official yacht. On October 10, 1891, the ship ran aground 2.5 miles east by north of what is now the Woodland Trail and 75 yards from the shore. The 730 ton schooner-rigged steamship was bound for Washington D.C. from New York City when she ran ashore just after 3 a.m. No deaths occurred, but what had once been the official yacht of Presidents Hayes, Garfield, Art
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Birds Behind the dunes, shrub habitat extends north and south gradually merging into an upland forest community. The shrub habitat and upland forest support landbirds and game birds including the northern flicker, eastern towhee, and northern bobwhite. Leaving the forest for the west edge of the island, the landscape falls away to expansive salt marshes that border the Chincoteague Bay. Secretive marsh birds including the clapper rail and green heron are outstanding marvels of the salt marsh. Another facet of the refuge is the fresh-water impoundments. More than 2,600 acres of shallow freshwater moist soil impoundments are managed to provide wetland vegetation and mudflats as year round foraging areas and cover for varieties of waterfowl, shorebirds, and other waterbirds during migrations. Along with roadside ditches, impoundments provide resting, feeding, and brood-rearing habitat for wading birds such as great blue herons and snowy egrets. This brochure lists 277 birds that have been identified on the refuge since 2008 and is in accordance with the Seventh American Ornithologists’ Union Checklist. Bill Thompson/USFWS Introduction Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge consists of sandy beach backed by a series of low dunes. During the summer our beaches become a nesting area for various species including the American oystercatcher, least terns, black skimmers, and the threatened piping plover. Chincoteague NWR is one of the country’s top five shorebird migration staging areas east of the Rocky Mountains. Least sandpiper Most birds are migratory, therefore, their seasonal occurrence is coded as follows: Season Sp spring S summer F fall W winter March – May June – August September – November December – February *Birds known to nest on or near the refuge Italics indicate threatened/ endangered species Relative Abundance Relative abundance indicates how frequently you might see a bird in its favored habitat. a abundant: a species which is very numerous c common: likely to be seen or heard in suitable habitat u uncommon: present, but not certain to be seen o occasional: seen only a few times during a season r rare: may be present but not every year Sp S F W Ducks, Geese, & Swans ___Greater White-fronted Goose r ___Greater Snow Goose c r c c ___Ross’s Goose r r u ___Brant c r c c ___Cackling Goose u u ___Canada Goose* c c a c ___Mute Swan* o o o o ___Tundra Swan c c c ___Wood Duck* u u u r ___Gadwall* c o c c ___Eurasian Wigeon r r ___American Wigeon c r c c ___American Black Duck* c c c c ___Mallard* c c c a ___Blue-winged Teal* c u c o ___Northern Shoveler c o c c ___Northern Pintail c r c c ___Green-winged Teal c o c c ___Canvasback r ___Redhead r ___Ring-necked Duck u ___Greater Scaup r r ___Lesser Scaup r u ___Common Eider r ___White-winged Scoter u u c Great egret Sp S F W ___Surf Scoter o o ___Black Scoter u u ___Long-tailed Duck ___Bufflehead c o c ___Common Goldeneye o ___Hooded Merganser o u ___Common Merganser r ___Red-breasted Merganser u r o ___Ruddy Duck u r o Turkey & Quail ___Wild Turkey* o o o ___Northern Bobwhite* u c o Loons & Grebes ___Red-throated Loon c u ___Common Loon c r c ___Pied-billed Grebe u u ___Horned Grebe u r u ___Red-necked Grebe Shearwaters & Storm-Petrels ___Cory’s Shearwater r r r ___Sooty Shearwater r r ___Wilson’s Storm-Petrel r r Gannet, Pelicans & Cormorants ___Northern Gannet c o o ___American White Pelican r r r ___Brown Pelican* u c o ___Double-crested Cormorant* a a a ___Great Cormorant r r r Bitterns, Herons & Ibises ___American Bittern o o o ___Least Bittern* r r ___Great Blue Heron* a c a ___Great Egret* a a a ___Snowy Egret* c a a ___Little Blue Heron* c c c ___Tricolored Heron* c c c ___Cattle Egret* o c c ___White Egret sp. r r ___Green Heron* o a c ___Black-crowned Night-Heron* o o o o c o c o o r c c o o c c c c r u r u u r a a u u o o u u o c r c c c o u c o u u Steve Hillebrand/USFWS Steve Hillebrand/USFWS Sp S F W ___Yellow-crowned Night-Heron* r u r ___White Ibis* u c u ___Glossy Ibis* c a o ___White-faced Ibis r r Vultures, Hawks & Falcons ___Black Vulture* o o o ___Turkey Vulture* c c c ___Osprey* c c c ___Bald Eagle* o o c ___Northern Harrier* u r c ___Sharp-shinned Hawk o o u ___Cooper’s Hawk o o ___Red-shouldered Hawk o o ___Red-tailed Hawk* o o o ___American Kestrel o r o ___Merlin u r o ___Peregrine Falcon u u o Rails & Cranes ___Clapper Rail* o u o ___King Rail r r r ___Virginia Rail* r r r ___Sora r r ___Common Gallinule r ___American Coot o u Plovers & Sandpipers ___Black-bellied Plover c c c ___American Golden-Plover r r ___Wilson’s Plover* r ___Semipalmated Plover c a c ___Piping Plover* o o o ___Killdeer* o o u ___American Oystercatcher* c c c ___Black-necked Stilt* o u ___American Avocet o u o ___Spotted Sandpiper u u o ___Solitary Sandpiper o o ___Greater Yellow
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Mammals Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge As you walk slowly along the trails, listen carefully and watch patiently. Remember that the refuge was established for the benefit of wildlife, and that you are visitors in their homes. Please stay on the designated trails and enjoy the animals from a distance. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge provides homes for over 30 species of mammals. These animals are found in all of the refuge’s various habitats, but it takes a cautious observer to notice many of them. Keep the Wild in Wildlife! Please do not feed the animals. Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana), Common. The opossum is easily recognized by its pale face and scantily haired tail. This creature is the only marsupial found in North America. Commonly found in wooded areas, the opossum feeds on carrion, fruits, and berries. Virginia opossum. Photo: USFWS. Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus), Common. The little brown bat roosts in hollow trees and is seen generally at dusk and dawn feeding on insects. Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus), Common. The best known rabbit in North America, the Eastern cottontail prefers shrub and forested areas. Cover: Eastern cottontail rabbit. Photo: Irene Hinke Sacilotto Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel Red fox Muskrat Raccoon o Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger cenerus), Uncommon. An endangered species, the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel was introduced to the refuge in 1968. The fox squirrel is larger than the gray squirrel with a bushier tail. These squirrels live in wooded areas and generally stay close to the ground. Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus), Common. This semiaquatic mammal can be found in both freshwater and brackish impoundments. The muskrat’s rabbit-sized body is laterally compressed and has a sparsely haired tail. Meadow Jumping Mouse (Zapus hudsonius), Common. The meadow jumping mouse can use its large hind feet to jump away from predators (over two feet high and ten feet forward!) and is found around freshwater impoundments. This mouse feeds on seeds, fruit, fungi and insects. V Inset photos: Delmarva Peninsuala fox squirrel, Photo: W.H. Julian, USFWS; Red fox. Photo: USFWS; Muskrat, Photo: Irene Hinke Sacilotto; Raccoon, Photo: J. Kent Minichiello. Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), Common. The red fox frequents edges between different types of cover and usually digs dens in open areas such as sand dunes. The red fox is a major predator, eating anything it can find including rabbits, birds, and insects. River otter. Photo: Irene Hinke Sacilotto. G A River Otter (Lutra canadensis), Uncommon. A large, elongate member of the weasel family, this critter has webbed toes and a thick tail. River otters may be seen in the freshwater impoundments and occasionally on the beach. They eat fish, crabs, and other aquatic invertebrates. White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Common. The only native deer present in the mid-Atlantic, the white-tailed deer prefers wooded areas and grazing meadows. Its tail is white on the underside and springs upward when alarmed. Raccoon (Procyon lotor), Common. This resourceful predator can be found in all habitats, but is most common in marsh edges, woods, and thickets. Raccoons also venture out to the shore to feast on duck and quail eggs as well as various items washed ashore. White-tailed deer buck. Photo: Robert Wilson, USFWS. Other Mammals of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Least Shrew (Cryptotis parva), Uncommon. Silver-haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans), Common. Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis), Common. White-footed Mouse (Peromyscus leucopus), Common. Sika elk. Photo: Robert Wilson, USFWS. House Mouse (Mus musculus), Common. Sika Elk (Cervus nippon), Common. The sika is an Asian elk which was released on Assateague Island in the 1920s. They are smaller than white-tailed deer and have a distinct all-white rump. Sika can also be distinguished by their white spots, which they retain all year. Meadow Vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus), Common. Rice Rat (Oryzomys palustris), Common. Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus), Uncommon. Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), Common. Often seen frolicking in the surf along the shore during the summer, this dolphin’s coloration is a blend of brown to charcoal with a lighter belly. The curiosity of the bottlenose dolphin often brings it into close contact with humans. Large fin of a humpback whale. Photo: ©Photodisc. Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), Rare. Its Latin name, meaning large fin or wing, is an accurate description of the long flippers of the humpback whale. They are not especially fast swimmers, but they are the most animated and acrobatic large whale species. Wild Pony (Equus caballus), Common. Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina), Rare. Hooded Seal (Cystophora cristata), Rare. Pony mare with foal. Photo: Irene Hinke Sacilotto. Gray Seal (Halichoerus gryphus), Rare. True’s Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon mirus), Ra
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Reptiles and Amphibians Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Although reptiles and amphibians are often less visible than the other wildlife that grace Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, they make up an important part of the ecosystem. Their habitats are as varied as the refuge itself, some preferring the freshwater ponds, others taking to the sandy dunes. Please remember to respect the homes of these fascinating animals and stay on the designated trails. Reptiles Reptiles are cold-blooded, dryskinned vertebrates that usually have scaly skin and typically lay shelled eggs on land. Reptiles consist of animals such as turtles and snakes. Turtles Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina), Common, 8–18", 10–45 pounds. Found in freshwater impoundments, snapping turtles are black to light brown, and are easily recognized by their large heads and saw-toothed ridges along their tails and back of their shells. These turtles can usually be found buried in the mud and are known for their short temper and willingness to strike if provoked. Snapping turtle. Photo: Michael Colopy. Cover: Fowler’s toad. Photo: Irene Hinke Sacilotto. Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum), Common, 3–5". This mainly aquatic turtle is found in freshwater impoundments and marshes. The Eastern mud turtle is aptly named after its muddy, brown-black appearance. The turtle’s head is spotted or streaked with yellow; however, the mud turtle is rarely seen because it hides by day and forages underwater at night. Northern diamondback terrapin Northern Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin), Common, Female 6–10", Male 4–6". The Northern diamondback terrapin is found in brackish water and salt marshes, often basking on mud flats. This turtle’s shell shows deep growth rings which give it a sculpted appearance. The shell’s coloration is variable and the head and limbs are peppered with black. Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina), Uncommon, 4–8". The Eastern box turtle is mainly a land turtle, but sometimes soaks in freshwater ponds. This high-domed shell turtle has the ability to close its back end tight, which gives it a boxed appearance. Variable in color and patterns, the box turtle can be yellow, orange, olive, black, or brown. Eastern painted turtle Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta), Common, 4–7". The Eastern painted turtle is found in freshwater impoundments, often basking in the sun. This attractive turtle has a smooth black shell with yellow and red markings and yellow lines and spots on the head. Northern diamondback terrapin. Photo: Irene Hinke Sacilotto. Eastern painted turtle. Photo: Michael Colopy. Snakes No venomous snakes exist on the refuge. Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon), Rare, 22–53". The Northern water snake is found in freshwater ponds or basking on logs on the water’s edge. This snake can be reddish, brown, or gray to brownish-black with dark crossbands on the neck region and blotches on the back and side. Red-bellied turtle. Photo: T.E. Graham, USFWS. Red-bellied Turtle (Chrysemys rubriventris), Uncommon, 10–13". Often seen basking with the painted turtles, the red-bellied turtle has a brownblack shell. The females can be distinguished from the males by the vertical red lines down their back. Atlantic Loggerhead (sea turtle) (Caretta caretta), Uncommon, 30–70", 170–900 pounds. The Atlantic loggerhead is a reddish-brown sea turtle that is occasionally seen surfacing in channels and in Toms Cove. This turtle has paddle like limbs and an elongated, heart-shaped shell. Listed as a threatened species. Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus), Rare, 22–45". A tree dweller found in vines, bushes, and trees near water, the rough green snake is very slender and pea-green in color with a white to yellowishgreen belly. Black Racer (Coluber constrictor), Common, 34– 77". The black racer is a long, slender, agile and fast moving snake. What may seem to be the buzzing of a rattlesnake is actually the black racer vibrating its tail tip in dead vegetation. If grabbed, this snake may bite repeatedly and thrash about. Northern Water Snake Photo: Steve Arena, USFWS Eastern hognose snake. Photo: John White Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platyrhinos), Common, 18–45". The Eastern hognose snake is stout-bodied with a pointed, slightly upturned snout and wide neck. The coloration of this snake is highly variable, but it usually has dark blotches on its back. The hognose snake is best known for the defensive behavior of “hooding” its neck, flattening its body and hissing. If this fails to elude the predator, the Eastern hognose rolls over and plays dead. Black Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta), Common, 34–100". This long, powerful constrictor is shiny black with a white chin and belly. The black rat snake is an excellent climber and often resides in high tree cavities. Amphibians Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates that usually lack scaly skin, lay jelly-coated eggs in water, and

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