Thursday, March 12, 2009

Middle Creek Trip: A Modest Success

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is located near Kleinfelter'sville in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Game Commission manages it primarily for waterfowl, although numerous other types of wildlife may be found.

Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer, Anthony Carbaugh and I traveled there on Tuesday morning of this week in hopes of seeing the vast flocks of snow geese that visit here during the spring migration, but few of the birds were to be found. It seems most had moved on in the yearly journey to nesting grounds on the arctic tundra.

We did find several other species of waterfowl, but most were too far for good close-ups, even with the powerful telephotos. In a few cases, birds did come close enough for decent photography.

Male Ring Neck Duck

The ring neck duck is a common late winter, early spring visitor to Pennsylvania, but they are ordinarily not seen in large numbers. It seems that ring-billed duck would be a more appropriate name because of the prominent white ring behind the tip of the bill, but there is a narrow band of slightly different colored plumage near the base of the neck, from which the name is taken. The band is not visible in the above photo

Female Scaup

Scaup also pass through Pennsylvania in the same period and look somewhat like the Ring Neck Duck, when one compares males to males and females to females, but notice how the Scaup has a broader beak with no ring near the tip. There are other differences as well, but these are the most prominent.