Snow Geese, Tundra Swans , Hooded Mergansers And More At Middle Creek
Last Saturday I returned to the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster County with my brother Mike and nephew Mikey. We hoped there would still be some snow geese on the lake at Willow Point. It was late in the season and we were worried they may have already migrated north. They didn’t. There were about 78,ooo snow geese and 3000 tundra swans on the lake. We heard the loud honking of the snow geese as we approached the lake at Willow Point shortly after sunrise.
It was cold again, temperatures were in the mid 20’s and the skies were mostly cloudy. The clouds made for some nice background scenery as some of the first snow geese flew off of the lake with the sun, obscured by clouds, rising in the southeastern skies.
creating that wonderful Middle Creek magical scene that we have been coming to see these past seventeen years. It is an awe-inspiring experience. It is one our human ancestors would have seen a lot more often then we do. They would have observed these mass migrations. not only of the snow geese but also of many other species of birds, and even other animals. They are less spectacular now. Many species of animals have been depleted or even brought to extinction because of our failure to protect their environment. We need to create more areas like Middle Creek to protect them.
There were not only snow geese at the lake. This week there were some Canada geese and a lot more tundra swans, almost three thousand. Shortly after the mass of snow geese left the lake these birds also took to the skies. Like the snow geese to either feed in the fields or to fly off to breeding grounds in the north.
We returned to parking area, walking past the horse and buggies of the Amish and Mennonite folks. Here is a link to some more photographs of the water fowl we saw at the lake. Middle Creek Willow Point March 5 2022.
As is our yearly custom, we continued our visit to Middle Creek by driving on the tour road that takes one through the farm fields around the lake. In some years there are large flock of snow geese in the fields, feeding on either the remains of last years corn crops or the new grass shoots in warmer years.
There were no geese in the fields this year. There were a lot of male red- winged blackbirds, who also just migrated back into Pennsylvania, and are establishing their breeding territories under the dim sun obscured by thickening clouds.
We drove through the fields and to the boat ramp on the far side of the lake near the Elders Run trailhead. There were some more locals with cameras photographing the water fowl across the lake. And, like us hoping to see a bald eagle or an osprey fly overhead.
We left the boat ramp and continued our drive around the lake. We saw the two eagles again. They circled over us and landed in a treetop along the lake. We got out of the car and were disappointed as the two eagles flew off as we approached. However, looking up in the tree tops we saw a third juvenile bald eagle.
As we walked back to our vehicle we saw the reason these eagles were in this area. We found the fresh remains of this snow ground. Apparently breakfast for one or all three of the juvenile bald eagles.
It was a wonderful scene to watch, some more magic at Middle Creek. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photographs of the hooded mergansers and other birds we saw along the tour road and lake. Middle Creek tour road March 5 2022.
We couldn’t stay long this year, we had to return home for a family function. While visiting the rest rooms I saw some more wildlife, painted on the toilet stall doors. So appropriate for Middle Creek and it’s amazing diversity of birds and wildlife. It was another great visit to watch the magical scene that enfolds every Spring with the arrival of the snow geese. I am looking forward to returning for many more years.
“Never apologize for being over sensitive and emotional when defending the welfare of wildlife.
Let this be a sign that you have a big heart and aren’t afraid to show your true feelings.
These emotions give you the strength to fight for what is right and to be the voice of those who cannot be heard.”