Snow Goose Watching 2017(1) - Middle Creek
Changde Wu 2017-03-05
Ever since my year 2016 Middle Creek bird watching, I hardly forget the scenes of spectacular bird flocks flying over the air and feeding in the grass land. Our family revisited Middle Creek in the summer the same year. It was a disappointed trip since the whole area was quiet, and only a few birds were there in the lake. Apparently, the best time to see birds in MC is between late Febuery and early March in a year. Since the winter of 2016 was abnormally warmer, the snow geese also returned earlier than usual. Based on the report of snow geese in the MC in early Febuery, I anticipated that the President day weekend would be the peak time for returning snow geese in MC. This was a trip with whole family, with hotel reservred ahead, and a couple of days more than the mere weekend. We also planned to visit several wildlife refuges in the coastal area after the Middle creek. The majorit birds in the Middle Creek are snow geese, others are tundra swans and Canadian geese. All of them are migrators, and stop over Middle Creek for a short rest then head to the far northern for breeding.
The climate fluctuated somehow. A week before we left, a snow storm attacked the northestern US, and the tempreture plummeted to the freezing from warm, and did not return to the normal. The good news from the weather forcasting was that the tempreture would rising and would be summer like very soon. We left home for Middle Creek at Friday evenning, stayed the night in a hotel in the town of Reading, PA. We arrived at the Lake bank before 6:00 AM the next morning, occupied a good location for birding, and get photograpgy equipmemt ready for the birds taking off at the dawn. By the time when I can clearly see the lake surface, I was a litle disappointed since the lake was full of ice due to the low tempreture the night before. The number of snow geese was much less than expected. Flocks of flocks of snow geese took off before the Sun was rising. The it was bright, the lake was almost empty. In the previous year, we drove along the road circling the lake, stopped offen in the Pin Tail Drive on the north side of the lake. On the southern side of the drive is the Propagation area with several large grass lands. In a typical day, one flock of snow geese after another arrive in one open grass land to feed, then suddenly fly back to the water surface in a few seconds. This stunning scene usually repeat several times each day. Because snow geese arrived so early, visitors like us were locked out of the road at that time(Open after March 1). Although other areas were open to the public, being locked out from the propagation area would mean wasting time during the day.
Generally speaking, there were many birds though not as many as the previous year. The most disappointment was not able to enter propagation area. As the reputation of Middle Creek growing year after year, So are the increasing visitors. In the weekend, the road is congested, and it is very hard to find a place parking a car. This place turned out being a less important place for our bird observation during this trip.