Sunday, March 22, 2015

Middle Creek Waterfowl Migration 2015

The late winter--early spring waterfowl migration is now underway and and large numbers of Snow Geese were at  Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area near Lancaster, PA.when I arrived on Wednesday afternoon. Activity was exceptional on both Wednesday and Thursday and it was easy to see large numbers of geese along the tour road at the north end of the lake.

Snow Geese Feed Along Tour Road: Canon 70D-Canon 18-135mm STM@50mm-ISO 200-1/1600sec. f8.0
The lake and potholes are still mostly ice covered and the birds are roosting on the ice at night.  I captured a mixed flock of Tundra Swans, Snow Geese and Canada Geese roosting on the ice at dawn on Thursday, in the area where Hopeland Road passes by the edge of the lake.

Ice Roosting: Canon 70D-Canon 18-135mm STM@27mm-ISO 400-1/400sec. f8.0
Canada Geese-Snow Geese Ice Roosting: Panasonic GH4-Still capture from video-Canon 100-400mm lens

The Pennsylvania Game Commission reported that approximately 1,800 tundra swans were present on March 19th and they provided excellent photo opportunities as well.  It is challenging to capture exceptional images of birds in flight, but I mostly concentrated on video and did not get a lot of good stills.

Tundra Swans: Canon 7DMKII-Canon 100-400mm L IS II @ 400mm-ISO 200-1/2500sec. f 5.6

It is a tremendous spectacle when an entire flock takes flight. As is often the case, I was shooting video when the most dramatic moments occurred, but I did capture a few stills.

 Snow Geese Erupt: Canon 70D-Canon 18-135mm STM@135mm-ISO 200-1/2500sec. f8.0
I also worked a bit on getting some close-up shots of geese in flight or as they were landing.

Snow Goose In Flight: Canon 7DMKII-Canon 100-400mm L IS II @ 371mm-ISO 200-1/2500sec. f 5.6

Snow Goose Landing: Canon 7DMKII-Canon 100-400mm L IS II @ 400mm-ISO 200-1/2500sec. f 5.6
Wednesday and Thursday were beautiful late winter days, but snow was in the forecast for Friday and I was not certain I would travel to the lake if snow was falling on Friday morning.  As it turned out it was just starting to snow at dawn so I did go, but that story is for another day.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

4 comments:

Frank said...

Willard, I've only ever seen a handful of Snow Geese so your views were an absolute delight.

Ruth Hiebert said...

Gorgeous photos.

Woody Meristem said...

Beautiful flight photos.

Dan Gomola said...

Great photos Willard. Someday, I'm going to get there. I especially like waterfowl landings when they are coming towards the camera.