The Island Manor of Chincoteague

Category Archives: Birding and Fishing on Chincoteague

Bird Species of the Barrier Islands of Virginia, Part III

July 1, 2013 by islandmanor

This is our final post on bird species of the Virginia coast. We hope you get to see all your favorites when you come to visit Chincoteague.

Oystercatcher: American Oystercatchers are a colorful marsh and shorebird. Oystercatchers have black and white bodies, bright red-orange bills, pink legs and feet and red eyes. Their noisy whistle is also very distinctive. They are usually between 16 -21″ in height. Their red-orange bills are long and flattened at the side and are designed to catch and open the shells of oysters, mussels, and clams. They were once hunted to near-extincetion along the Atlantic Coast.

Bald Eagle: The bald eagle was in danger of extinction just 25 years ago, but its numbers have significantly improved. This raptor has a wing span of 6-7 feet and can weigh up to 14 pounds. Bald eagles feed manly on fish along coastal areas and inland waters. You can also see the eagles hunting seabirds, flying low over the ocean, between the wave troughs, in order to catch their dinner by surprise. 146740095

Bald eagles add to their nests each year and some nests weigh up to 2,000 pounds. Young eagles can fly at 3 months of age. Bald eagles can live to 30 yeas of age or longer and they also mate for life.

Piping Polver: This little bird is one of the species struggling to maintain a healthy population in the face of growing human development in coastal areas. They lay their eggs on the ground, so they have to watch out for natural predators – like foxes, gulls and racoons, as well as vehicles on the beach. The little Polver is a sensitive bird – if there is too much human disturbance around their nests, they will abandon it. So the National Park service sometimes closes beaches at the Assateague Island National Seashore in order to protect these nesting grounds.

Bird Species of the Barrier Islands of Virginia, Part II

June 18, 2013 by islandmanor

The last couple of posts were devoted to discussing birdwatching around Chincoteague and the Virginia coast. This blog follows the same theme as we discuss bird species that live on the island.

The Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl: Birdwatchers on Assateague Island sometimes spot the great horned owl in the loblolly pine forest. Owls weigh two to five and a half pounds, but have a wing span up to 80 inches in length. Owls are predatory birds, feeding mostly at night on birds (including ducks), fish, small mammals and reptiles.

Visitors hiking through the marsh may sometimes find a pile of duck feathers, which may be evidence of an owl’s overnight dinner.

Brown Pelican: Virginia is the most northerly state sustaining a year-round Brown Pelican population. The Brown Pelican is the only non-white pelican in the world. Its most distinguishing feature is the huge bill and expandable pouch below. The bird’s height can reach 50 inches and its windspan up to 6 1/2 feet. Pelicans plunge headfirst into the water from great heights to catch fish – they can eat upwards of four pounds of fish per day. It is fun to watch groups of pelicans fly low over the waves and catch fish. The Brown Pelican was endangered in the 1970s due to pesticides. Successful conservation with strict regulations have led to the recovery of the pelican’s population.

Merlin: The Merlin is an aggressive falcon that feeds along Assateague Island for songbirds and other prey similar to that of the horned owl. This raptor will sometimes hunt from a high tree, waiting for the right moment to ambush its prey. The Merlin often approaches a potential meal by imitating the flight characteristics of a pigeon or woodpecker, in order to disguise itself. The Merlin is very territorial and will harass other raptors that trespass even if the other bird is much larger in size.

Bird Species of the Barrier Islands of Virginia

May 30, 2013 by islandmanor

In my last post, I discussed bird watching in and around the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. In this post, I will go into more detail about the different species of birds and waterfowl you can expect to encounter while on Chincoteague.

The Black Skimmer: The Black Skimmer is the only bird in the world whose lower mandible (beak) is longer than the upper.

Black Skimmer

Black Skimmer

Skimmers are named so because of the way they feed. This bird flies just above the water with its bill open, skimming the water’s surface with its long lower bill open like a pair of scissors. Their bodies are oddly proportioned: 18″ in length, long, narrow wings ( 44″ in wingspan) with very short legs that end in bright orange feet. Their bills are long and razor-shaped. The Black Skimmer is found along the coastal United States from Massachusetts to Texas as well as Central America and South America. Female skimmers lay 3-5 eggs and live in coastal bays and estuaries.

The Peregrine Falcon: Peregrine Falcons are a personal favorite of mine, in part because they are the fastest moving animals on the planet. Ducks and other shorebirds make a nice meal for this bird of prey. Birdwatchers often witness them diving at tremendous speeds towards their prey. Scientists have estimated the falcon’s speed to be more than 200 miles per hour. Ducks resting on open water will sometimes “bunch” together as the falcon swoops down on them. This is probably a tactic for confusing the falcon, making it more difficult to pick out any one particular duck as a target.

They are found along Assateague Island National Seashore and the nearby barrier islands. Assateague is an important recovery area for the peregrine falcon (once listed under the endangered species act).¬†During the 1940’s peregrine falcon populations plummeted. The main cause was a build up of concentrations of the pesticide DDT. This entered the falcon’s system when feeding on birds that had eaten contaminated insects.

The US Fish & Wildlife Service removed the peregrine falcon from the list of endangered species in 1999. Restrictions on the use of DDT have helped peregrine populations recover. As a result of resource management programs, visitors to Assateague have the opportunity to witness one of nature’s most exciting birds to watch.

Check back next month for more bird species!

Bird Watching on the Virginia Coast

May 14, 2013 by islandmanor

Birdwatching along Assateague and Chincoteague Islands is an amazing experience for many visitors. The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is one of America’s finest places for birdwatching along the East Coast. This little island is one of the richest birding regions in the U.S. with outstanding year-round populations. Assateague Island now has a healthy bald eagle population as well. Learn about and observe the islands’ 300 species of migratory and resident birds.

Summer is a good time to see large numbers of migrating shore birds, warblers, and others set up residence on Assateague. A variety of species are visible along the National Seashore. assateague_birding_chincoteagueThe Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge’s freshwater areas combine with saltwater marshes all along Assateague’s shoreline to host a variety of terns, egrets, sandpipers, waterfowl, and more. Making one’s way by boat or kayak along Assateague’s extensive inland waterway is a thrilling experience for any bird lover. Herons and terns fly out from the marshes as you proceed through the intimate waterways, where you can also see crabs, fish, oysters and other food sources for the birds.

Limited amounts of Assateague are accessible by car, so many bird watchers choose to travel by boat along the inland waters. A birdwatching trip via watercraft offers you the chance to see more of the refuge and it’s wildlife. After all, Assateague has over 37 miles of pristine waterways. Boat excursions take you to one of America’s most unique ecosystems, with an abundance of wildlife, water and fowl, as far as the eye can see.

Lodging While Visiting Assateague

If camping isn’t your thing, you’ll need to stay on Chincoteague while visiting Assateague. We would like to invite you to to be our guests at the Island Manor Bed and Breakfast. Enjoy lovely surroundings and unpretentious luxury while observing undisturbed nature at the Wildlife Refuge.

Captain Bob’s Chincoteague Flounder Tournament

April 29, 2013 by islandmanor

Does this warm weather make you wanna put on your sunscreen, grab your pole and some bait? If so, come on over to Chincoteague next month for Captain Bob’s Marina Flounder Tournament! Taking place from May 3rd through May 12th this year, there is no registration deadline, simply register before you start fishing! Here are some rules to keep in mind:

  • Registration fee is $35
  • You can fish on the shore or off a boat.
  • There are 10 days to try and catch the biggest fish. You must fish using a hook and line and follow state and federal regulations in regards to size and creel limits, which is 16″ minimum in length with a creel/bag limit of four fish.
  • The tournament takes place in Chincoteague and Assateague waters only. Fishing outside the inlet will get you disqualified.
  • Daily weigh-ins take place between 1 and 6 p.m. The final weigh-in will be at 1 p.m. on May 12th.chincoteague-fishing-flounder-tournament
  • The winner is the fisherman with the greatest daily weight of three fish or less.
  • Five cash prizes will be given
  • Register online or via mail from Captain Bob’s website.

Non-Tournament Fishing

Not a competitive fishermen? Maybe you’re more of an armature? Consider chartering a fishing trip during your visit to Chincoteague. Summertime is the best season for fishing on Chincoteague. A charter boat Captain knows all the best places to cast a line. Whether you want to go deep sea fishing or fish for flounder in the inlet, these Captains know where to take you.

Lodging for Your Trip to Chincoteague

Whether you are here for the Flounder Tournament, some recreational fishing or just a getaway to the Virginia coast, Island Manor Bed and Breakfast has superior lodging at competitive prices. Check out our lovely, historical property and enjoy a great night’s rest in one of our guestrooms.






Fishing in Chincoteague

January 31, 2013 by islandmanor

Some of the best fishing along the Virginia coast Coast is found in the waters surrounding Chincoteague Island. Fishing either in the inland waterways or venturing out into the deeper waters of the Atlantic Ocean is bound to be a fun and productive experience. Check the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries web site for regulations.

If Surf Fishing is your preference, that is done on Assateague Island. Please note: a Virginia saltwater license is required for fishing on the beach and fishing is prohibited on beaches with lifeguard towers or designated surfing zones.
Try night fishing! Obtain an after-hours fishing permit from the visitors center for night time fishing. In general, the species you can expect to catch include:

  • Spring: Flounder (the largest flounder are typically caught at this time), Striped Bass, and Drumfish.

    fishing in Chincoteague

    An example of what you could catch: A red drum fish caught off the Virginia Coast.

  • Summer: Flounder, Trout, Croaker, Sea Bass, Kingfish, and Spot. Blue Fin and Yellow Fin Tuna offshore.
  • Fall: Striped Bass and Drumfish.

Charter Boat fishing is also an option. These captains know all the best places to go! Whether you want to go out deep sea fishing or fish for flounder in the bays, the charter boat captains here know where to take you. See a list of charter boat companies on the island.

If you are in need of some supplies for your fishing trip, there are multiple bait and tackle shops on the island. Here is a list:

Lastly, you can rent a boat. Whether you want something as small as a kayak or 16′ fiberglass boat, or a pontoon, there is a rental option for you. Plus, the experienced fisherman renting you vessels usually have good advice about where to throw your crab pot or drop a line. Captian Bob’s Marina or Snug Harbor also rent boats.

With all this in mind, you will still need somewhere to rest your head at night when not casting your net! Consider staying at our Chincoteague Inn, where you will be treated to superior hospitality and comfort.




Assateague Island Waterfowl Week

October 8, 2011 by islandmanor

Our Chincoteague Bed and Breakfast is just minutes from the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island. Many know the refuge as the home of the Chincoteague wild ponies, which are indeed remarkable to behold. Yet Assateague Island is also an important site for resident and migratory waterfowl.

Photo of the Week - Sunrise at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (VA)

Sunrise at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

Thousands of birds rest and feed in the protected areas of Assateague Island each spring and fall. Birders and photographers are invited to witness this natural spectacle during the Assateague Island Waterfowl Week, which is in its 37th year. In 2011, it takes place from November 19 to November 27.

This is an ideal time for birders and photographers to stay at our Bed and Breakfast on Chincoteague Island.

The Chincoteague National Wildilfe Refuge is comprised of more than 14,000 acres of maritime forest, saltwater marsh, freshwater marsh, and beach. During the Assateague Island Waterfowl Week, visitors are invited to explore parts of the refuge normally closed to the public. This is a spectacular opportunity.

Join in special guided walks through the refuge and participate in the many special events and programs that will take place throughout the week. The waterfowl migration is expected to be at its peak the week of November 19, 2011.

Expect to see large numbers of Herons, Snowy Egrets, and Snow Geese. Double-crested Cormorants are abundant in the fall, and both Tundra and Mute Swans are common. Watchers with binoculars, a telephoto lens, sharp eyes and patience will be richly rewarded.


Abundant Birding on Chincoteague through November

October 22, 2010 by islandmanor

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

Late Fall at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

The tourists have gone and the hush of fall has descended upon Chincoteague. If you love the outdoors and enjoy birding, this is a glorious time to come to see some of your favorite shorebirds and waterfowl at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
Species you will see in abundance through November at the refuge include the Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret and Glossy Ibis.

White Heron on Chincoteague

Some of the popular sites to observe birds are at Swan Cove Pool along Beach Road, and Herons and Egrets can be spotted in the borrow ditches around the refuge.

Stay the weekend with us at Island Manor House bed and breakfast, and we’ll pack you a picnic, loan you some binoculars, and, when you’ve added more birds to your checklist of those spotted, head back to the Inn for a hot cup of cocoa in front of the fire.
Many shops and restaurants are open through the fall and winter, so you will have no shortage of things to do when you’re not out birding. Plan to come out for “Assateague Island Waterfowl Weekend,”¬† November 25-28, at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Open House with special events and programs.