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Migrating snow geese make pit stop at Middle Creek

John A. Pavoncello
York Dispatch

York County residents can take a quick trip across the Susquehanna River to see thousands of migrating snow geese and tundra swans making their annual stopover at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster and Lebanon counties.

Tens of thousands of snow geese, along with tundra swans, Canada geese and ducks, make a stop at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster and Lebanon counties during their spring migration, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2018. John A. Pavoncello photo

According to the park's website, an estimated 100,000 snow geese and 3,000 to 4,000 tundra swans were making a layover at Middle Creek during their Atlantic Flyway migration on Thursday, Feb. 15. Joining them were 7,500 Canada geese and numerous species of ducks.

There are an estimated 6 million snow geese that call the Arctic tundra their home. Most of the snow geese that pass through Middle Creek spend their winter in the Delmarva area. 

Tens of thousands of snow geese, along with tundra swans, Canada geese and ducks, make a stop at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster and Lebanon counties during their spring migration, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2018. John A. Pavoncello photo

The best times to see migrating snow geese at Middle Creek are sunrise and sunset, when the birds leave the lake and return from feeding in nearby fields. Most of the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is off-limits to vehicles and pedestrian traffic, but visitors usually can see the birds along Kleinfeltersville Road near the Middle Creek visitors center.

The most popular viewing spot is at the end of Willow Point Trail. From the visitors center, turn left onto Kleinfeltersville Road and then take the next right to the Willow Point Trail parking area. The trail is an easy 0.4 mile walk on a paved trail to a viewing spot complete with covered picnic tables and viewing glasses. 

Tens of thousands of snow geese, along with tundra swans, Canada geese and ducks, make a stop at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster and Lebanon counties during their spring migration, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2018. John A. Pavoncello photo

For more information about Middle Creek or to check the migration numbers, visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission's website at http://www.pgc.pa.gov and use the search function to find Middle Creek.