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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Connie Goldman

March 14, 2010
Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area

This field trip had already been delayed for a week. The original date found Middle Creek socked in by ice, with little open water and Snow Goose numbers still way down. Now, we were faced with a grey and rainy day after a day of torrential rains and flooding with many reports of downed trees and temporary power outages. Our small group of hardy birders arrived at the visitor center while peering through rain-drenched windows. After a look inside the visitor center to visit rest rooms, check the feeders (Carolina Chickadees) and the bird list, we were on our way around the tour route.

Thinking we may be peering through raindrops for the remainder of the afternoon, we pulled over to check the first water impoundments. We enjoyed a large groups of Ring-necked Ducks, and also the fact that the rain was transitioning to drizzle! By our second stop or so, the precipitation actually stopped as we watched an American Kestrel perched atop a snag. There were points during the afternoon that the sun even tried to poke through the clouds! We had numerous opportunities to scan through the hoards of the Snow Goose flock as they fed and roosted in various fields. We took a leisurely ride along the tour road, stopping wherever there was bird activity. From one vantage point we viewed a Bald Eagle sitting in its nest. A second eagle flew over this field, setting the huge mass of white geese whirling up into the sky in the much-desired spectacle we had hoped to witness. It was in a field along the main road that we identified a white Ross’s Goose. In the field adjacent to the Willow Point Trail, a Cackling Goose was found in among the thousands of snow geese there. The tour route also held Eastern Meadowlarks flying below a mixed blackbird flock. Three dashing Eastern Towhees perched on arched branches. A Belted Kingfisher sat silhouetted in a row of wet trees. A few songbirds foraged in the woods. From the tour stop opposite Willow Point we scanned from the water’s edge, identifying numerous species of ducks. Tundra Swan numbers had decreased from high reported numbers, but we saw an occasional swan in flight and a flock of about twenty tundras sitting on the water.

We had dared to venture out in ugly weather and had been awarded with a wonderful Snow Goose spectacle, various species of special interest, and some clearing in the skies. Thanks to my companions for their birding efforts and for their company, both of which made this a fun birding day!

More pictures from the field trip can be seen by Clicking Here

Trip List
Tundra Swan
Snow Goose
Ross's Goose
Canada Goose
Cackling Goose
American Wigeon
Green-winged Teal
American Black Duck
Northern Pintail
Ring-necked Duck
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Carolina Wren
Northern Mockingbird
American Robin
Carolina Chickadee
American Crow
European Starling
Eastern Towhee
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird