Snow Geese Migration at Middle Creek

March 2, 2009 | Category: For the Kids, Outdoors, Things to Do | Posted by: Brian

Thousands of snow geese taking flight.

Thousands of snow geese taking flight.

I was lucky enough to get up to the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area this past weekend with my photography group. Although, getting up at 5:00 am to get the best sunrise light for photography might not be described as “lucky” by some with a limited worldview.

Middle Creek, located on the Lebanon-Lancaster County line about one mile south of Kleinfeltersville, is set aside by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) for the protection of various wildlife. What really sets this location apart from other wildlife areas is the tens of thousands of birds that stop in this Lancaster County landmark during their annual migration.

This past week, the PGC estimated that over 5,000 Canada geese, 3,600 tundra swans and over 80,000 snow geese were taking residence in the Wildlife Management Area. The Game Commission updates the bird totals on their web site weekly, so be sure to check in before you plan your visit.

The waterfowl usually stopover in Lancaster County in late winter (Mid-February to early March) on their way to their mating grounds up north. The Game Commission recommends the first weekends of March as the best time to see the most amount of birds.

No really... THOUSANDS of snow geese.

No really... THOUSANDS of snow geese.

In the past, I’ve driven around the perimeter of the lake and there was nothing but birds as far as the eye could see. Whole fields literally covered in white from the sheer amount of waterfowl present. I concentrated my photographic efforts on the lake this past weekend. Unfortunately, while there where thousands of birds there, they mostly stayed on the side of the lake I didn’t have access to. They never really got close enough to my location to get the close-up shots I was looking for for my photo collection.

However, there was a few times when the birds on the lake took off en masse and the sound of thousands of geese taking off all at once was reminiscent of the sound and volume of a jet airliner taking off. It was really breathtaking to see and hear. My photos from this weekend don’t do this spectacle of nature justice. Look at some of the more interesting Flickr photos from Middle Creek to get a better sense of the sheer amount of birds at the park.


Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area.

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  1. Owen Phillips
    on March 10th, 2009

    These are lovely… my grandparents lived near the Brigantine Wildlife Preserve near Atlantic City, NJ, which was a beautiful place to see snow geese too. I lived in Lancaster for one year, on Lemon Street, and have alot of fond memories of the region. Thanks so much for dropping by my blog, just out of curiosity, how did you find it? The photo of Jerzy Kosinksi was from a poster for a talk he gave at Franklin & Marshall, and if you go down quite a ways in the older posts, there is a black and white cow that was taken near Lancaster. Your blog is great, I will be adding it to the list of blogs I like… all the best, Owen

  2. Sarah
    on March 12th, 2009

    We found your blog just through a Google Search!

  3. Rachel
    on June 9th, 2009

    Just found your blog while doing a search for the Middle Creek Reserve. Do you know if there are any picnic benches there? Anywhere to sit near the water? I’d like to go there with a friend for a picnic, but wasn’t sure what was available. Any info you could give would be helpful! Thanks!

  4. Bill Bartmann
    on September 3rd, 2009

    Excellent site, keep up the good work

  5. Phyllis Ackerman
    on March 7th, 2010

    During a visit last year to Middlecreek and standing by the lake we were disappointed to arrived when no swans or snow geese were there. However, as we stood there, we started to hear a strange sound and couldn’t imagine what it was. The sound gradually grew lowder, we turned around and lo and behold, in the horizon behind us, came wave upon wave of snow geese. There was no end. We absolutely could not believe our eyes and ears at what we were seeing and hearing. The birds then landed in the water before us and around us. It was certainly a memorable specticle.

  6. Lucy Mohring
    on April 6th, 2011

    I assume it is probably too late to see the snow geese at Middlecreek this spring. Do you know general dates for the spring and fall that would probably work?

  7. Snow Geese coming to Lancaster County : The Pennsylvania Dutch Country Blog | Food, Events, and Places to Go In Lancaster County
    on January 24th, 2012

    [...] can see some photos that we took three years ago here. There are thousands of birds that migrate through Lancaster County each year. The Game Commission [...]

  8. Jean Stahl
    on March 15th, 2013

    What are your hours, i.e. for today, March 15th? Are there still geese and swans to view, and what are the best hours for observation and picture taking?

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