Tuesday, March 4, 2008

An Excursion to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area

4:00 in the morning, heading east on the Pennsylvania Turnpike with the hammer down. The goal was to reach Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area near Klinefeltersville, in Lancaster County by dawn. It is hard to get motivated that early in the morning, but the promise of good waterfowl photography was a strong motivating factor.

Sunny, skies were in the forecast, but only a few scattered stars were visible through clear spots in the otherwise cloudy sky and there were wet patches in spots on the highway. Even though the sun would shine later in the day, the morning promised to come in cloudy and raw with light wind.

The main attraction at this time of year are the Tundra Swans and Snow Geese, which stop off for a short time on their return north from wintering in areas where the climate is less severe. In time they reach the arctic tundra where they spend the summer, nesting, and raising their young.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission administers the management area. Its’ primary focus is waterfowl and it is a popular hunting area in season, but there is a modest no hunting zone. This area is popular with bird watchers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. It is home to a few eagles but we were not to see any today.

We did find a large flock of snow geese along with some tundra swans, Canadian geese, and miscellaneous ducks and songbirds.

The highlight of the day was when we found a large flock of snow geese feeding in corn stubble.

They gave spectacular photo opportunities as they gathered in large groups and staged for landing or as they were in the process of touching down.

Snow Geese Canon 40D 70-200mmF2.8 L

Snow Geese Landing: Canon 40D 500mmF4 L

I hope to post a few more shots from this trip soon.


Kerri said...

WOW! I am not familiar with snow geese. They are BEAUTIFUL! I LOVE your LANDING shot!! WOW!

Anonymous said...

These are magnificent birds, Willard and you got them at their best.

ASH's Eye said...

The geese landing is really neat. It reminds me of those time-lapsed shots, with one bird in three stages of landing.

Too bad the eagles were shy!

Chad Oneil Myers said...

That last shot is amazing, Willard!

It's almost as if it's a progression of the same bird...frame by frame.

Love it.

Anonymous said...

WoWWW...some very beautifully captured shots...simply love the last shot...Excellent!

Anonymous said...

The photo of landing goose is just amazing photo!

imac said...

What fantastic photography of the Snow Geese, and that last shot is really something.

Marvin said...

Great action capture, Willard.

Kekiinani said...

Oh my gosh!! These are amazing shots.. I totally love them :) :) That is a ton of snow geese.. WOW. I love the last one of the landing.. How cool..

Photolong said...

I love the picture of the geese landing .... I am always trying to take a good picture of birds in flight , so its nice to see when some one else gets one ... off now to look at more of youre photos