I was lucky enough to get up to the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area this past weekend with my photography group. Although, getting up at 5:00 am to get the best sunrise light for photography might not be described as “lucky” by some with a limited worldview.
Middle Creek, located on the Lebanon-Lancaster County line about one mile south of Kleinfeltersville, is set aside by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) for the protection of various wildlife. What really sets this location apart from other wildlife areas is the tens of thousands of birds that stop in this Lancaster County landmark during their annual migration.
This past week, the PGC estimated that over 5,000 Canada geese, 3,600 tundra swans and over 80,000 snow geese were taking residence in the Wildlife Management Area. The Game Commission updates the bird totals on their web site weekly, so be sure to check in before you plan your visit.
The waterfowl usually stopover in Lancaster County in late winter (Mid-February to early March) on their way to their mating grounds up north. The Game Commission recommends the first weekends of March as the best time to see the most amount of birds.
In the past, I’ve driven around the perimeter of the lake and there was nothing but birds as far as the eye could see. Whole fields literally covered in white from the sheer amount of waterfowl present. I concentrated my photographic efforts on the lake this past weekend. Unfortunately, while there where thousands of birds there, they mostly stayed on the side of the lake I didn’t have access to. They never really got close enough to my location to get the close-up shots I was looking for for my photo collection.
However, there was a few times when the birds on the lake took off en masse and the sound of thousands of geese taking off all at once was reminiscent of the sound and volume of a jet airliner taking off. It was really breathtaking to see and hear. My photos from this weekend don’t do this spectacle of nature justice. Look at some of the more interesting Flickr photos from Middle Creek to get a better sense of the sheer amount of birds at the park.
Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area.