By Carl Hess
For Digital First Media
Snow Geese might be flying north for the summer but at the same time of year many people in our area are headed south-west to the Middle Creek Wildlife Preservation Area to witness an annual spectacle of nature.
Middle Creek is located on a flyway and it annually attracts upwards of 100,000 north-bound Snow Geese, Canada geese, Tundra Swans and other water fowl during the migration period. Spectators, nature lovers, photographers and day schoolers flock to the wildlife refuge every February. Middle Creek, located near Klinfeltersville, Pa., on the Lancaster/Lebanon County border, is only about 35 miles from Hamburg, Berks County.
I was among the spectators on Feb. 21, a record shattering day in more ways than one.
On that date there was an estimated 200,000 Snow Geese arrived at Middle Creek. This represents an increase over the previous record (170,00 birds) which was recorded in 2007. It was also unseasonably warm with record-breaking temperatures reaching into the low 80s. Despite being a weekday, the warmth brought out people from near and far to witness the massive gathering of Snow Geese.
If you’d like to see this relatively close-by spectacle, do so quickly as soon the last remaining Snow Geese will depart for their spring breeding grounds far to our north. How can you tell if the Snow Geese are still at Middle Creek? Check online. The Middle Creek Wildlife Photographers group on Facebook is constantly being updated with reports and photos. T
he Pennsylvania Game Commission also updates its Waterfowl Migration Update site daily. You can find at http://www.pgc.pa.gov/InformationResources/AboutUs/ContactInformation/Southeast/MiddleCreekWildlifeManagementArea/Pages/MigrationUpdate.aspx.
If you can’t get there this year, mark it on your calendar for next year and enjoy the photos.
Carl Hess is a regular photo contributor for the Berks-Mont News papers.