It seemed that most of the Snow Geese were at Willow Point in the
mornings and evenings this year. Quite a few people were there on
Saturday and Sunday morning in spite of the strong wind and biting cold,
but I had no desire to subject myself to that degree of punishment. It
was a different story on Monday morning after the wind mostly died
during the night.
|Dawn At Willow Point|
fairly large flock of Snow Geese was there, but they were mostly behind
the trees. When they left there were usually trees in the way of
getting good photos and as usual I concentrated on taking video so I
didn't get many still shots.
That afternoon was a different story as a large
number of birds gathered to feed in a field near the viewing area at
Willow Point while others were on the lake directly in front of it.
|Gathering To Feed|
|Resting On The Lake|
Periodically the flock erupted into flight and then
settled back down for awhile before taking off again. All the while
smaller sub-flocks were continually arriving and leaving.
|Landing To Feed|
The main attraction of Middle Creek in late winter
and early spring may be the awesome sight of the large flocks of Snow
Geese, but there are a variety of other subjects to see and photograph
as well.The fields along Hopeland Road and a number of smaller ponds are
ideal spots to see many species of waterfowl, birds, and other
|Whitetail Doe Along Hopeland Road|
It is best to photograph from inside the vehicle if
possible as the ducks often shy away if you get out. They usually do not
fly, but simply get too far away for good photography. Even with
staying inside it can be hard to get them close enough and powerful
lenses and substantial cropping during editing are usually required.
In addition to the ducks there are usually a few
Great Blue Herons hanging around. The shot below is across the big
pothole at Stop 1 of the tour route along Hopeland Road. It was taken
with a 150-600mm Sigma Contemporary at 600mm and then cropped to 2
Mega-pixels in Adobe Camera Raw.
|Great Blue Heron|
I also saw other species of ducks in a pothole that
is too far from Hopeland Road for close-up still photography so I took
video with the GH4 and 500mm Cannon FD lens. Species seen included
Northern Pintails, American Wigeon, Green Wing Teal, Gadwall, and
My usual course of action was to
check the lake and potholes and then swing through the tour road
periodically. I didn't see nearly as much action there as in most
years. I did see an eagle flying once or twice and harriers hovering
over the meadows on several occasions,but they were too far to
photograph.A Ring-necked Pheasant co-operated one morning and I got
several still photos of him.
There were usually Canad Geese in the fields along the road and I sometimes took a few photos of them.
It was crystal clear and the wind wasn't blowing On
Tuesday morning when I pulled into the parking lot at Willow Point. I
was surprised to see and only one other vehicle was parked there. As I
app-roached the viewing area I could hear the chatter of a large number
of geese and as it grew light I could see a large flock resting on the
lake. To my surprise no one else was at the viewing area.
|Dawn At Willow Point On Tuesday|
At times the many of the geese lifted-off and circled
the area before settling back down, but soon after sunrise many of them
left for the morning.
|Sunrise Take-off At Willow Point|
|No One Was There|
|Leaving To Feed|
I met another person walking to the viewing area as I
left, but I never saw anyone from the vehicle that was parked there at
dawn. In one way it was good to be alone with nature without people
taking and children screaming in excitement, but in another way it made
me sad that no one else was there to enjoy the wonderful experience.
went to Willow Point again that evening. It was so pleasant at the
parking lot that I almost didn't put on a heavier sweater, but as I
began walking the sun vanished behind the clouds and by the time I got
to the viewing area it was overcast and gloomy.. A good number of geese
were there, but a strong breeze was gusting off the lake and I was glad
I dressed as I did as it was slightly uncomfortable even with the
|Cloudy Evening At Willow Point|
Actually you can still see the blue skies to the
north, but the sun was gone and even that blue sky soon vanished. It
was snowing next morning. Since the weather forecasters were calling for a
major snow storm I did not go to Middle Creek, but the forecast was
wrong and there was only light snow with little to no accumulation, so I
should have gone that day as well.
With that another
trip to Middle Creek was over. In retrospect it was an enjoyable
experience even though I did not film as wide of a variety of wildlife
as in the better years.
Thanks so much for reading--I hope you enjoyed the photos and story.