Posted by Jeff Pauls on 25th Feb 2020
See the Snow Geese!
The Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is truly a gift to the world. Here in Lancaster County, we have the privilege of being close to it. It’s perfect for an afternoon of hiking, bird watching, and taking in the beauty of our environment.
One event that draws a lot of visitors is the annual migration of snow geese. Perhaps you’ve made the annual trip to see them at Middle Creek? If you haven’t, the snow geese are always open to more visitors. According to Penn Live’s Marcus Schneck, last year “an estimated 85,000 snow geese were spotted Monday, February 25.” “The peak, which in 2007 hit its record of 170,000, usually comes in late February or early March.” According to last year’s records, kept by Lauren Ferreri, Middle Creek manager, “groups of birds...started [arriving] at Middle Creek” around February 8. A warm spell in the middle of the prior week “allowed the main lake to unfreeze in certain areas and melt most of the snow covering nearby fields.”
“In 2010, Middle Creek was designated as a Globally Significant Important Bird Area, based on hosting a large percentage of the world's population of Tundra Swans and Snow Geese.” This designation is made by the Audubon Society. “As the U.S. partner for BirdLife International, Audubon spearheads an ambitious effort to identify, monitor, and protect the most important places for birds. [They] also collaborate with 19 international partners to extend a web of protection throughout the Western Hemisphere.”
So, if you’re up for it, make plans to visit. You won’t be sorry. Witnessing the arrival of that many snow geese in one place is something you won’t forget.
But Wait, There’s More!
Middle Creek has so much to offer, visiting several times a year would be a great way to take in the various flora and fauna that can be experienced throughout the seasons. Middle Creek is home to bald eagles, red tail hawks, a variety of ducks, for example, green-winged teal, northern pintails, northern shovelers, and mallards. Grassland birds such as grasshopper sparrows, bobolinks, red-winged blackbirds and eastern meadowlarks, are also in residence. If you like songbirds, like the gray catbird, northern cardinal, willow flycatcher, yellow warbler, and more, you won’t be disappointed.
And while you’re hiking along one of their many trails, be sure to pay attention to all the plants above your head and at your feet. There are hundreds of types of wildlife flowers to enjoy.
If your goal this year is to get outside more, Middle Creek is a perfect way to do it! You’ll expand your mind, your lungs, and your world. Middle Creek has so much to give. You’ll want to get back there again and again. Go with your family, go with your friends, or go by yourself...but go! Go often!
Helpful Links for Your Visits
- Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area For general information about visiting, such as directions, seasonal events, self-driving tours, hiking, etc.
- Eagles, Songbirds, and Ducks This page includes a lot of information on what there is to see and how to see it.
- Middle Creek History This page walks you through the early days until now.
- Wildflower Checklist A very comprehensive list of flowers you can expect to see.
- Bird Checklist A very comprehensive list of birds you can expect to see.
- Hiking This brochure lists the available hikes at Middle Creek (Print the brochure at home if you can.)
Excellent Videos Capturing MCWMA Experiences
- Snow Geese
- Snow Geese Migration 2018 - Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area by Grand Lancaster with music, introduction text, sped up footage of bird watchers, and general footage of snow geese coming, going, etc.
- The great Snow Geese migration: Middle Creek (Pa.) Wildlife Management Area by Pennlive with all natural sounds and footage of the geese.
- Snow Geese 2013 - Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area by TheHimalayanRiderfeaturing natural footage and excited responses from those present during the filming.
- Tundra Swan
- An unexpected discovery at Middlecreek Wildlife Management Area by The Wandering Woodsman. He finds the remains of an old homestead.
- Hiking the Millstone Trail (Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area) by The Wandering Woodsman.
- Conservation Trail at Middlecreek Wildlife Management Area by The Wandering Woodsman
- Eagles from various areas, including Middle Creek by PA Game Commission. Live footage of eagles in Middle Creek and other various areas.
- The Golden Eagle at Middle Creek by PaEnviroDigest. Russell Hess tells the story behind a Golden Eagle in the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area Visitors Center display.