Snow Geese Fill the Sky at Middle Creek WMA

With a hop, a skip and a jump from Annapolis, Maryland one can witness one of the greatest marvels in Mother Nature. Along the bird migration route on the eastern seaboard of the United States, known as the Atlantic Flyway is the resting place for migrating Snow Geese, Tundra Swans, and a variety of ducks.

The Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Stevens, Pennsylvania was completed in the early 1970’s and boasts of a six-mile loop around a large lake which is a wildlife sanctuary. In 2010, Middle Creek received the Globally Significant Important Bird Area designation and is host to 280 species of birds and 23 species of overwintering waterfowl.


When visiting the snow geese at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. The best time of seeing the Snow Geese is at the end of February through the beginning of March. The Snow Geese stay only a few weeks while they refuel and await a strong southern wind to help them with the final leg of their journey. Weekly reports are given of the current population to help plan your visit.

The afternoon is better for viewing as the geese have returned to the sanctuary for the evening. They can repeatedly flush through the sky in the afternoon. Where as in the morning, there is  usually one major flush as they depart for the day.

Starting at the visitor’s center and looping clockwise around the lake, a small pond on the left is well known for a variety of migratory ducks. This section of the lake is popular with the Tundra Swans, along with other ducks.

Tundra Swans

Tundra Swans

American Black Ducks

American Black Ducks

One of the most popular viewing locations of the Snow Geese is Willow Point. During my visit mid-afternoon, the geese were located on the fields and so I didn’t explore the point. However, it is known that Willow Point is the sunrise location to witness the take off of the geese for the day’s foraging.

Driving on the Wildlife Tour route, far off in the distance one could see the barren corn fields that will filled with white. It was as if there was a small snow storm on just the fields. On our first stop the huge snow geese flock flushed up for a quick fly-by.

Looping around in circles, they finally come back close to where they originally started from.

But I was visiting Middle Creek not only for the Snow Geese, but also for the migratory ducks that are hard to find. I managed to find these beauties floating in the waters, wondering what I was up to.

Northern Shovelers

Northern Shovelers

Common Merganser - Female

Common Merganser – Female

Common Merganser - Male

Common Merganser – Male

Ring Necked Duck

Ring Necked Duck

But of course we had to return to the geese. A sight to behold that takes your breath away. To see thousands of snow geese lift up in unison and fill the sky with their honking calls and black tipped wings.

Working with these images through Nik Color Efex Pro, I decided to go with a more artistic approach. Knowing the countless images of thousands of snow geese in the sky, I wanted something unique to remember this experience. The wonderful thing about Lightroom is that I can have countless versions of the same image. Isn’t technology grand?

This was my first attempt in capturing film with my Canon 7D and 500mm f/4 L lens. I must first apologize for the silly photographer, as I have no idea why I kept moving the camera. I’m also not sure why the beginning wasn’t in focus. But at least you can get an idea of what it is like to experience the Snow Geese at Middle Creek.

51 replies »

  1. Emily, this is just awesome. Do you mind if I keep copies of your snow geese picture. I just love your camera. I wish I was there to be one with nature. Perpetua.

    • LOL ! Only you would think of that. Believe me, you can’t have that quantity of geese without an extraordinary amount of souvenirs. We took our freshly detailed and waxed car on the trip and came back with a few momentos.

  2. What a wonderful trip you are having and what fantastic images. I love them all but the trio of birds is beautiful. There is a bird sanctuary at a place called Slimbridge about 40 miles from here and you have reminded me to pay it a visit soon. The geese come in from Siberia and it is an amazing sight and now is the time to go.

  3. Loving your captures – watching bird migrations is so interesting:) The birds here have been ga-ga in looovveee lately – quail chasing each other, doves cooing up a storm, etc. – ha! Happy Monday

  4. Emily – you will not believe this, but my comments about a “hop skip and a jump” made on Google + were made without knowing that was how your started your blog post…

    You capture the elegance of the heavens…

  5. Your photography on this trip is stunning, every picture is a perfect and as someone mentioned magnificent. I have no favorites because all of them are a vision to appreciate. Enjoyed the video as well – this was a great post to start my day!!

  6. All of these photos are so beautiful, but I have to say my heart has a special spot for the 5th one. The snow geese taking flight is just a perfect moment in time. Well done!

  7. This is great. I really like the warm tones of the 5th and 10th photos, and the abstract feeling in the last two. Glad you were able to time your visit so well. (I found you through dapontephotography).

  8. stunning photos ! – i also like the 5th photo a lot and the second to last- it is fun to play with images sometimes- thank you
    and thank you for your comments and visiting my blog- it is good to be back

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