Middle Creek Wildlife Management

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We left on Friday, February 27, 2009 for the Middle Creek Wildlife Management area. This management area is 6,254 acres of marked trails, with 70 acres of ponds and wetlands and a 400 acre shallow lake. Snow geese, Tundra swans and numerous waterfowl stop here for a layover on their way to Canada to breed. The Pennsylvania Game Commission had announced on their Website that at this time there were 80,000 geese and 12,000 Tundra swans at this location. When we arrived at 2:20 pm on Friday it was around 58 degrees with a mild wind. The air was damp since it just rained, with more rain on its way. On our way into the management area we saw an American Kestrel. We then stopped at the visitor center to pick up literature. Please note: the visitor center is closed on Monday. We then went to Willow Point and on the trail down to the point we saw an Eastern Bluebird. At this observation point it overlooks a large portion of the 400 acre lake and has picnic tables under a roof. At this time the geese and swans had not returned from the afternoon feeding in the nearby corn fields. We then drove around past the dam and saw a Great Blue Heron. On the other side across from Willow Point, the lake was still frozen but there were a few geese and ducks standing on the ice. Around 4:30 pm the geese came in by the thousands. What a sight that was! We started to drive back to Willow Point and saw the Heron had moved closer to shore. We stopped for a few brief moments to take pictures before continuing back towards Willow Point. As it was now getting close to 6 pm and too dark to take pictures, we stopped at the lower end of the lake. On the other side of the road are a few on the ponds in which were Mallards, Coots, Ring Necked ducks, American Black ducks,  Buffleheads and a few Mergansers. On Saturday morning we were at the management area around 6:15 am. The temperature had dropped from the day before as it was only 37 degrees. It stayed around this temperature all day. At this time the geese were on their way out to the corn fields to forage for the day. As we walked down to Willow Point we saw another Eastern Bluebird and at the point it was mostly swans. We drove around to the cornfields and there were THOUSANDS of Snow Geese in the fields. We were able to drive up close to them to take pictures and video. As we drove around some more we saw another American Kestrel, of which we got a picture of. Beautiful bird! Around 3:30 pm we headed back to Willow Point to watch the geese come back to the lake for the night. It was amazing to see thousands upon thousands land on the lake. As we were watching the geese a bald eagle came in and landed in the middle of the lake on a branch that stuck out of the water. The bald eagle stayed around for about 40 minutes before he headed across the lake. By this time there was approximately 75 people standing there watching all the birds. We had planned on going back Sunday morning but it snowed overnight and we decided to head home. On the way back towards Westmoreland County, we stopped at Shawnee State Park in Bedford County. There we found a pair of Mergansers. Our next stop was at the Allegheny Plateau on top of Shaffer Mountain. We did not see any birds, but what a view! Below you will see a few pictures we took on our weekend excursion. 

Click here to view video of the Snow Geese