|Mist rising on the Yellow Breeches Creek, Monaghan Township, York County, Pennsylvania|
The countryside is not, to my eye, very attractive at the moment. November is just as brown but has an advantage of not yet having been beaten down by winter snow and rain. Everywhere I look the landscape seems twisted and dull, dull, dull. It’s still too early for even the moss to turn green. Skunk cabbage isn’t up yet here, either, though I’m sure that’s getting close.
Sunday was warm and sunny here, and that brought out the first of the migrating vultures, both turkey and black vultures. I saw several groups of turkey vultures and one nice-sized group of black vultures enjoying the thermals the sunshine created. Likely the weather was nice enough to move a few raptors, as well, though I didn’t see any. The first of the spring hawkwatches are already opening, but even they aren’t seeing much other than vultures at the moment.
The landscape feels very “in-between” right now. Winter seems to be fading, but spring isn’t yet here. Snow geese are gathering at Middle Creek Wildlife Area in Kleinfeltersville, Lancaster County, but they don’t stay very long. I likely won’t get there to see them this year, but if you’re nearby don’t miss it. If you’ve never seen tens of thousands of snow geese at once, there is the place. Their arrival is one of the wonders of the natural world, and sound of that many waterfowl is amazing. Best viewing is in the late afternoon until darkness falls. The geese spend the days feasting in the surrounding fields and return to the lake as evening falls. At the moment, their numbers are estimated at 40,000. Some 3000+ tundra swans are also at the site, as well as several thousand Canada geese.