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NANPA Regional Event Preview – Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

By October 17, 2017No Comments

Story and Photographs by Donald Brown


Chincoteague Ponies at Tom’s Cove © Donald Brown


NANPA Members Colin Hocking and Don Brown will be leading a NANPA Regional Event at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia from November 16-19, 2017.  All the details about the event, including cost, registration, and other information can be found on the NANPA website at–va/   Here, Don offers a preview of the beauty of Chincoteague, and shares some great images from his previous visits there.


Cormorants on Sandbar ©Donald Brown

Chincoteague is a nature photographers paradise, especially if one likes birds. The refuge and the adjacent Assateague National Beach is feature-rich. Personally, I began visiting Chincoteague in the early 90s when my grandchildren were tiny tots and lived in Easton, MD on the Eastern Shore. Every July I would pluck them from bed and take them to Chincoteague for the running of the ponies, where the ponies were rounded up, made to swim across the channel to the town and penned to receive their yearly health check and the excess colts auctioned off to the visitors who crowd Chincoteague during this event.

Sika Deer at Sunrise © Donald Brown

In November thousands of Snow geese join the other inhabitants of the Island as they rest up for the rest of their journey to the Outer Banks and other places for the winter. The morning blast-offs to go the surrounding farms and the grain fields rival the Basque blast-offs and hundreds of photographers line the ponds to record this phenomenon. Snow geese, ducks of many varieties, shorebirds and the famous Ponies all contribute to rich photo ops during the day.

Snow geese approach the refuge © Donald Brown


Sunset at Chincoteague © Donald Brown

One thing to keep in mind is that one should stay away from Chincoteague during the hot summer, especially at mid-day.  The mosquitoes swarm in large numbers, and are quite aggressive.  During the fall and winter, they are almost non-existent, and the hordes of vacationers are gone, too! A limited number of spaces are still available for this NANPA Regional Event. Registration closes November 1. Learn more at: