When I looked at these bare trees in the midst of what seems like the longest winter ever, the word that came to mind was “craggy”. To me it means rough and disheveled looking, but thought I’d search an online dictionary to be sure. Merriam-Webster’s first definition was “having many crags”. Well, that doesn’t help much …. what is a crag? The second definition hit the nail on the head….”rough in a way that suggests strength”. Yep, that’s what I was going for!
No, these are not statues of snow geese, they are actual snow geese. Greater Snow Geese to be exact. They almost look too perfect, don’t they? In Spring the snow geese travel from points along the East coast as far south as South Carolina and make their way to the Arctic where they breed. They can spend up to 12 hours per day feeding in Spring to build up fat reserves for migration. When migrating, they can fly at altitudes of up to 7,500 feet. When preparing to land, they may tumble to lose height in what has been described as a “falling leaf” maneuver. Over the weekend, we saw thousands of snow geese coming to join the flock from a very high altitude. The way that the sun was shining on them, they looked like glitter falling from heaven.
Saturday was a phenomenal day at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area! The snow geese were feeding in a field along the tour road which made them very accessible and close! There were snow geese as far as the eye could see and they were very active! Birders, photographers and nature enthusiasts (along with a ton of cars) lined the roadway and the geese did not disappoint! Here’s an image of just a few (!!!) as they took to flight in a mass explosion of wings and feathers!
I was getting up close and personal with the Snow Geese at Middle Creek Wildlife Recreation Area. I love watching the Snow Geese come in for a landing. They look like little airplanes with their wings outstretched and their ‘landing gear’ ready to touch down. It’s amazing that they never crash into other Snow Geese when they plop onto the ground – even when there are thousands of other Geese in their path.
According to the park staff, the best time to visit Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area during the snow geese migration is either 6:30 AM or 6:30 PM. The geese and swans roost on the lake during the night and so in the morning, you have the opportunity to watch them awaken at sunrise and take off in large numbers to go out to nearby fields to feed for the day. In the evening, the geese and swans return to the lake by the thousands and settle in for the night amidst a flurry of loud honking and flapping wings. Being at the park during migration is an unforgettable experience!