One of my 2017 bucket list items was to visit Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area for sunrise during the snow goose migration. I can now cross that item off of my list! The snow geese roost on the lake at night and then fly off at sunrise to go out to nearby fields to feed during the day. It was cold (26 degrees) and dark at 6:00 AM when I arrived at the park. Thankfully, there were plenty of other photographers there as we waited for the sun to rise over the lake. The colors were beautiful and the geese did not disappoint. Don Jacobs from WNEP in Wilkes-Barre was there, too, with a crew doing some filming for his show, Pennsylvania Outdoor Life.
These snow geese are more than ready for their close up. It’s as if they knew that I was photographing them because they seem to be looking right at the camera! They just took off from the lake and I love that the water droplets are visible. I thought that these 3 images combined would make a nice triptych.
For me, being in the company of bald eagles is a magical experience! To be in the company of three of them at the same time was even more special. There are resident bald eagles at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area that like nothing more than diving for fish and snagging an occasional snow goose for lunch. On this day, one was high in a tree and two more were sitting on a tree stump in the middle of the lake. At the time, I wished that I had a longer focal length lens so that I could bring the eagles in closer for photos. But, in hindsight, these two images, though distant, bring back the feeling of sharing a space and time with these majestic birds.
The attraction at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area this time of year is the Snow Goose migration. Folks come from far and wide to see thousands upon thousands of Snow Geese as they pass through our area on their trek north. Their visit is short, but memorable. Viewing thousands of snow geese as they take to flight en masse is a sight to behold. I have countless photos of large flocks filling the frame of my lens with wings, beaks and feathers that resemble a very difficult jigsaw puzzle. As exciting as that is, I also enjoy the more serene moments when just a few graceful geese fly across the winter landscape. Here are two favorite images from last weekend. I love using these dead trees on the far side of the lake as a background.
What a fun experience to watch two Great Blue Herons tantalizing the Snow Geese at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. I did a little research today and learned that most Great Blue Herons migrate south in Fall. They are a hardy bird, however, and some will stay north in areas where the water is not frozen, thus they are listed as year-round residents in Pennsylvania. Since we have had a mild winter (by Pennsylvania standards), these birds may have been here all season. Every time they flew overhead, the Snow Geese would take off in a flurry of activity, only to settle back down on the water … until the Herons flew by again. These are two of my most favorite birds in the same photo – the Great Blue Heron and the Snow Goose.