Saturday, January 9, 2010

Middle Creek and Thousands of Geese

Would you be interested in seeing a natural phenomenon that takes place every year in Northern Lancaster County that involves thousands upon thousands of Snow Geese? In a little over one month (starting mid-February running through mid-March) flocks of Snow Geese on their northern migration will be arriving at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area located in Kleinfeltersville, PA.

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is a 6,254-acre area, owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The area is set aside for the protection, propagation, management, preservation, and controlled harvest of wildlife. They have wonderful hiking trails and it’s a haven for bird watchers and photographers. You can even take a Self-Guided Driving Tour of the area. We’ve also enjoyed riding our bikes through the natural landscape. The visitor center is free and features wildlife and environment displays. It’s ideal for an individual needing reconnaissance of nature or a family who enjoys the outdoors. Did I mention that they have resident Bald Eagles? For more information their website is http://www.fieldtrip.com/pa/77331512.htm.

Snow Geese breed in the Arctic Tundra and winter in farmlands, lakes and coastal areas in the American south, southwest and east coast. These geese occur only in North America, and make an annual round trip journey of more than 5,000 miles at speeds of 50 mph or more. Snow Geese winter in immense flocks, sometimes numbering in the tens of thousands. When they take flight, the flock appears as a white cloud or when they are nestled on the ground you may think it’s a snow covered hill (until the snow takes flight).

My personal recommendation would be to take the Willow Point Trail which is paved and only ½ mile from one of the parking lots at Middle Creek Management Area (note that this trail may be closed during waterfowl hunting). At the Willow Point Trail you are able to walk out so that the lake wraps around either side of where you are. The geese are noisy but just take the time to wait for them to become unsettled and listen and watch thousands of Snow Geese take off in flight from the water all at the same time just feet from where you’re standing – what a phenomenon.

Submitted by Liz Ehrhart, Furnace Hills Bed and Breakfast