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Animals on Assateague (12 photos)

If you are in Ocean City this week, you may notice a couple of changes as you drive down Coastal Highway. The speed limit, normally 40 mph through North Ocean City, has been reduced to 30 mph, and Downtown, the speed limit has also been reduced. This is due to the expected, unauthorized H2Oi Pop-Up Rally.  It is reasonable to expect heavier than usual traffic, noise and strict enforcement of vehicle laws during the week and weekend.

Baby raccoon digs for food on Assateague

Animals on Assateague are plentiful and easy to spot if you keep your eyes open.  Assateague Island is just south of Ocean City, Maryland and is home to both a State park and the National Seashore Park. There is camping available for RVs and tents as well as wilderness sites. The State park has a concession stand and is the first area you reach once you drive onto the island. The Visitors Center is on your right just before you get to the Verrazano bridge onto the island. There are kayak rentals on the island provided by SuperFun Ecotours. Wildlife is abundant. You will see schools of fish swimming off shore.

Wild horses assateague park

The world-famous Assateague Island wild ponies graze all over the island and the beaches. You might even see them standing in the water or sleeping on the beaches. Guard your food, however, and stay away from the ponies. They are wild and can hurt you. You will also be fined if you are seen attracting or petting the ponies.

Kerrie Meiser – My son & seagulls – Sunrise at Assateague

Birding on the island is amazing. Eagles, osprey, herons, shore birds of all types, owls, geese, and pelicans are everywhere. Other mammals are abundant as well. In addition to the ponies, there are red foxes, the endangered Delmarva Fox squirrel, Sika deer, white tail deer, dolphin, raccoons, river otters, and rabbits.

Assateague horse
It pretty warm for the winter, a nice day to be a horse.

Come to surf, relax on the beach or walk the miles of paths, both paved and wild. Bike the island, make a bonfire on the beach and watch the sun go down and the moon come up over the Atlantic ocean. While the beach is less crowded than Ocean City’s beaches just north of Assateague, plan to get there a little early on busy weekends when the weather is spectacular so you won’t have to wait to get through the toll booths. Better yet, pay for your annual pass (only $45 for the year at the National Seashore) and breeze through the left lane into your favorite beach retreat.

Dragonfly taken on Assateague Island.

Assateague Island in Sept 2018. My friend and I walking on the bridge in the rain watching the horse’s enjoying the grass below. They didn’t seem to mind it was raining and neither did we.

There are many varieties of birds on Assateague

Volunteers and staff from the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Marine Animal Rescue Program–the centerpiece of the aquarium’s ocean health initiative–scan the ocean during the 16th annual dolphin count last year. A total of 113 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins were spotted along the 26 miles of Maryland coastline during the aquarium event. Count locations were on the beach at 40th, 81st and 130th streets and at Assateague State Park.

Seal photographed by the National Aquarium staff. The Aquarium in Baltimore rehabs the injured seals and returns them to the Atlantic. Seals are frequent wintertime visitors to our shores

Deer on Assateague Island
You can frequently see white tailed deer on Assateague

Look out at the marshes as you drive onto the island. You will frequently find the ponies grazing.

The ponies are beautiful in the wild, but please keep your distance. They can hurt you and you can be fined if you get too close.

 

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