A few weeks ago, Shay's son celebrated a milestone birthday. Shay, her son and I spend a lot of time together taking pictures and developing our skills, so when he invited me to his birthday celebration I knew I had to come up with a fantastic present. I wanted the present to be something more than just a present, I wanted to be something he would remember forever. After talking with Shay we decided he would love to go on one of our famous photo shoot adventures! Now to decide where to go...we live close to a lot of cool places but I wanted it to be a once in a lifetime adventure.
During one of our photo excursions, Shay and I learned about Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. During the last few weeks of February and the first few weeks of March Snow Geese, Tundra Swans and Canadian Geese gather at Middle Creek as a stop over during their migration north. After some research we learned the best time to visit Middle Creek is the first weekend of March. I knew this would be something Cole would love so it was the perfect place for our photo shoot.
Shay, Cole and I had been looking forward to the weekend! And boy were we excited. On Friday, I called and confirmed the directions and was told the best time to view the water fowl was in the first hour of first light, it was recommended we be there no later than 6 am if we were planning on visiting in the morning, or the last hour before last light. After deciding on arriving for the sunrise, I realized I would have to pick Cole and Shay up at 4:30 in the morning. (Are you kidding me...everyone knows I am not an early riser especially on a Saturday!) I packed my camera bag, gathered my warm clothes and checked the weather forecast. Our sunshiny fun filled day was not going to happen. The weathermen were calling for rain on Friday ending overnight. As I went to bed on Friday, I said a prayer the rain would stop before morning.
4:00 Saturday morning I awoke to no rain but very thick dense fog...so dense it was incredibly hard to see. But I picked Shay and Cole up and off we went. After a few wrong turns...due to the fog, we arrived at Middle Creek. When we opened our car doors, we were greeted by the most incredible chorus of water fowl. Now the eerie thing is we could not see anything as it was still very dark, so we had no idea how close the geese were or even if we were going to run into them. We grabbed our gear and headed down the 1/2 mile path to the lake.
As the night turned to day we waited patiently in hopes that we would be able to catch a glimpse of the geese on the lake...after all there were supposed to be 65,000 snow geese and 2,400 tundra swans. This is what we saw...
I purposely did not edit these pictures as I wanted you to see what we saw. If you look real close you can see the faint outline of snow geese on the lake. The fog would come and go and thin out...at times we were able to see a little more clearly.
The fog cleared a little more...
We had great expectations of the things we would see while we were there. We were disappointed the weather did not cooperate and to make matters worse, Shay discovered her memory card was corrupt and did not have any of the images she captured. Talk about disappointment. My heart was breaking for her as she doesn't typically look at her shots until she gets home.
I promised her we would try to make it back next weekend since the weather was supposed to be really warm and sunny, as long as I could find someone to watch my kids!
Not only did I keep my promise to her, we were able to make it happen much sooner than the weekend. I arranged for someone to watch my kids and I picked her up right after work on Monday.
This is what greeted us when we arrived...
Gorgeous sunshine...with lots of wind! (Glad I remembered my hat and gloves...next time remind me to wear my long johns though!)
We were in absolute heaven...no matter which way we turned there were birds!
These little guys came walking right up to us! I kept thinking of Mother goose and her ducklings!
Words can not express the amazing feeling I had standing along the lake watching God's amazing creatures take flight and soar high above me. I can say though, this is one trip I will never forget nor will Shay. As you can see from this next picture...Shay was greeted with, well...sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words...
She's been hit!!!! The funniest thing about this is that Shay continued to shoot never stopping to see what happened. We both heard this loud swooshing noise, at the same time we both said, "what was that?" When I turned around and saw what happened, I couldn't stop laughing! The funniest thing is there were people all around us taking pictures, not close enough to see what happened, but none of them were hit! I will never forget the look on Shay's face. What a great memory!
Not only were we lucky enough to see the tundra swans and snow geese we also caught a glimpse of the resident bald eagle. I was lucky enough to capture him/her as he/she took flight over the lake.
As daylight turned to dusk, I was again struck by the beauty of God's creation.
And as dusk turned to darkness, I was reminded,
"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”"
Just as the moonlight was reflecting on the the water's edge, I took became very reflective. I went to Middle Creek with Great Expectations on Saturday but left somewhat saddened. I went to Middle Creek on Monday and was overwhelmed with the beauty of it all. I am so glad I had the opportunity to return. I already marked it on the calendar for next year!
One other thing of note, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and experiment with the settings on my camera and not shoot entirely on the automatic settings. After all I have all these bells and whistles, shouldn't I learn how to use them? Some of the pictures featured here are SOOC, or straight out of the camera shots, and have not been edited.
I am so grateful to God for blessing me with a photo bud who loves adventures as much as I do. I am so grateful for all you have taught me and encourage me to try. Thank you for the amazing adventure this week! Here's to many more photo adventures with you!
For more pictures from our adventure be sure to stop on over to Shay's post!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our adventure. I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments! Have you ever been to Middle Creek if not, there is so much more than just bird watching! Grab your walking shoes and camera and head on out! Have you ever been just amazed at God's beauty?
Focusing on Him,