Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wild Life

As was mentioned in an earlier post, Assateague has feral horses that roam the island.  There were plenty of signs up warning campers against feeding the horses or getting too close to the horses.  So, like most campers, we took a few pictures of the horses, enjoyed seeing them when they were near the campsite or at the beach, but kept our distance and made sure the kids did too.

On Saturday evening after a long day lounging on the beach building sand castles, we returned to camp to prepare dinner.  As I was pulling baskets, food and cooking supplies from the van one of the horses meandered into our campsite.  Being a little scared of the horses' wild nature, we kept our distance and let the horse roam around.  As the horse approached the picnic table where the girls were sitting and I was preparing dinner, I started to get a bit nervous.  Then the horse stuck it's nose directly into the laundry basket where I had much of our food stored.  At this point I started to panic and called for Joe to come help.  Joe sent me for a towel to use to cover the food and shoo the horse away.  By the time I got back to the basket, the horse was happily munching away on a bag of apples contained in the laundry basket.  Armed with the towel, we shooed him away and put the towel over our food.  In the 10-15 seconds that he had his snout in our basket, he ate three of our apples.  The girls were in disbelief and I was indignant over the theft of our perfectly good apples.  I was so busy being indignant I neglected to snap any pictures of the horse or the mangled apples.  The girls still love to talk about this part of our camping adventure.  In fact, if you ask them about camping, usually the first thing they mention is that fact that the horse at our apples.  Aliyah says it best, "Horsey eat apples.  Naw-eee ho-see!"
The horses weren't the only wildlife at Assateague interested in our food.  Our first morning at camp, we had to move to another campsite.  Joe and Xandra loaded most of our things in the van, drove them to the new site, unloaded them and came back for the remainder of our things.  While the laundry basket of food was sitting at the new campsite, some birds discovered a portion of foil-wrapped bread that had been left exposed.  We discovered their greedy nibbles when I pulled the basket from the van at noon to make sandwiches.
It's no wonder they saw the bread and took advantage.  Later that day when we left the campsite, we saw this:

It's as if they circle all day long just waiting for the moment when people leave their campsite.

The girls ran back to the campsite and attempted to chase the circling birds away. 

Their efforts were rewarded as the birds flew away.

I feel confident the birds returned for a grand feast when we left.  Usually at the end of meal times there is as much food under and on the table as there is inside any one of my children.

I've learned my lesson, next time we camp I'll be thoughtful enough to bring enough food all who dine at the Pull table:  people and wildlife.

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