My family took several trips to Chincoteague Island when my sister and I were children. We developed a special fondness for the island and the wildlife there. We just returned from an excellent family vacation to Chincoteague and it lived up to all the excellent memories. Stephan and I, my sister Amy and her husband Jonathan, my father, John, and my uncle and aunt Bob and Rachel all rented a house for a week with a view of the sound, looking back toward the mainland, and just across a narrow channel from a small, marshy island with a few trees at the edge. We had a huge picture window overlooking this, and greatly enjoyed birdwatching right from the couch!
Highlights of the trip included:
–Enjoying the house: visiting with family, cooking dinner together, watching birds and sunsets from the living room and the outdoor deck, celebrating the same-sex marriage decision.
–Swimming and jumping waves on the pristine beaches of Assateague Island National Seashore.
–Taking a boat trip with Daisey’s Island Cruises, where we saw dolphins, osprey, a bald eagle, numerous other birds, and learned a lot about island history and about the pony swim.
–Getting to spend an hour or so at the Tom’s Cove Visitor Center with a park ranger who showed us and told us about lots of the birds on the island.
–A trip to the NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility open house, where we got to see how sounding rockets are built, talk to engineers and scientists, and learn about important projects like measuring soil moisture, sea ice levels, and other things via satellites, rockets, and airplanes.
Some of the favorite birds we saw included: the endangered piping plover, green herons, yellow-crowned night herons, black-crowned night herons, great blue herons, willets, osprey, bald eagle, little blue herons, tricolored herons, great egrets, snowy egrets, and cattle egrets, glossy ibises, several types of tern, brown pelicans, black skimmers…I think that covers the main ones!
On June 23 while on vacation I started doing 20 minutes of aerobic dance every morning and plan to keep it up. I do a fair amount of walking, yoga, and so forth, but I am very sporadic about working up a sweat and really getting in something aerobic every day. I figure this is a good baseline to start with and many days I will also get more exercise as well.
Now that I’m back, it’s time to get serious about studying for my qualifying exams!