Enjoying the annual phenomenon that is white geese traveling through southeastern Pennsylvania
The photo above does not do justice to the number of geese I saw near a roadway where I snapped photos from my truck Thursday.
Probably 2,500 to 3,000 of the white fowl were scurrying about a harvested soybean field at this spot, and my camera just isn’t equipped with enough photo width to film so many birds at close range.
Like the rest of Pennsylvania, we southeastern residents have been enduring a prolonged snap of cold days and nights that seemed to freeze everything from water to the activities of people, with most of the latter content to sit inside and stay warm.
But the past weekend into this current week has brought rain and warmer temps, removing snow from fields that covered the abundant spilled grain left over from the harvesting process last fall. Warmer days, open grain fields and the erupting urge to begin their yearly trek to their Arctic breeding grounds from the areas where they spend winter has brought flights of snow geese right on cue.
The Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, where thousands upon thousands of snow geese stop for a rest and food on their way north, saw a huge jump in geese numbers within a week, to the point where there are currently more than 70,000 geese there now, with that number surely climbing.
By the way the crow flies, I live only about 25 miles from Middle Creek, which also means that the farmland that surrounds my home – and deep limestone quarries that are formed nearby as welcome roosting spots – will see many of the migrating birds that move through. I would encourage anyone seeking to witness vast numbers of waterfowl gathered in one spot to visit Middle Creek and see the snow geese and tundra swans staging there.
It is a spectacle never forgotten.
I’m blessed, as one who treasures the sight of nature’s beauty and diversity, to live where I live and be able to witness and enjoy such a marvelous sight as the huge flocks of snow geese that arrive virtually out my back door.
But I must confess, as a hunter, I’m somewhat cursed to have such an abundance of waterfowl crossing — for a short period — over my home almost from morning to night, moving from field to field, and still not being even relatively close to a successful huntsman of these birds.
I’ve written before of the substantial amounts of money friends and I have spent on decoys, socks, rotary machines, tape players and tapes, speakers, batteries, kites, and flags in our quest to bag snow geese. I’ve also mentioned the countless hours of setups beginning at 4 a.m. – hard work that never really paid any kind of dividend in terms of downed geese.
Perhaps hunters who hunt near Middle Creek do better, but in these parts the birds are a darned-hard kill, enough so that my group has sold most of the investments we made to younger hunters with enough enthusiasm to believe they will do better.
For me, knowing I can snap some photos of these beautiful fowl – and maybe sit at a nearby waterhole with a loaded shotgun but without decoys – and be lucky enough to have some of these migrants stop by for a drink, well, that’s enough to pique my interest.