Saturday, March 15, 2008

Waterfowl Migration

This morning we were up before dawn to make the 30 minute drive to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, in a neighboring county, to see the annual migration of tens of thousands of snow geese and tundra swans. A friend told us about this opportunity to view and photograph this amazing spectacle, so we packed up the cameras, kids and coffee and headed out early this morning! Kate and Bekah are away at a youth retreat with church, so we only had to wrestle two of them out of bed.

So off we went, arriving just as the sky was lightening in the overcast grey morning. We parked and followed the signs down a trail to an observation point that Jim had found in his research to be a good place to watch the birds. As we walked, with a bit of woods between us and the lake to our left, we could hear the thousands of waterfowl, just out of sight. When we arrived at the observation point, there were already many folks waiting and watching, serious cameras with tripods on display. (Camera envy!) These are the folks who are quite serious about, and equipped for, bird watching. No quicker way to feel like a rank amateur than to stand next to one of them...

Below are some of the photos we took with the digital camera. I went out on a limb and shot several rolls of film as well. It's been way too long since I've used my real camera, so I'm not sure how that will work. Someday I'll take a class to really learn how to use it, but for now...

The Website for the Pennsylvania Game Commission has made a lovely video of the movements of these birds. Have a look to see just what we were hearing and seeing out there! After clicking on the link you will be on the PA Game Commission website featuring the waterfowl migration. There is a small picture of the photographer who took most of the shots at their website. Right under his photo is a little-bitty link that says, "Snow Geese at Middle Creek", click on that and the video opens in a Windows Movie Player. Enjoy!

Pennsylvania Game Commission - State Wildlife Management Agency: Waterfowl Migration

We'll be going back with Kate and Bekah tomorrow evening since the guy at the visitor's center told Jim that that is really the best time to see the huge numbers of geese and swans. (I paused over that that that...)

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