It’s been called the Serengeti of the sky, when snow geese descend on Lovewell Reservoir in late winter. In some years, estimates have put peak numbers at around 1 million snow geese.
The show, one of the best wildlife spectacles in Kansas, is just beginning.
“When you look up in the sky, it’s just solid geese coming in for as far as you can see,” said Thane Loring, Lovewell State Park manager. “Sitting at the marina right now, it sounds like a tornado they’re so loud.”
Lovewell State Park is about 15 miles west of Belleville, in northcentral Kansas.
According to Loring, the annual event usually occurs between Valentines Day and St. Patrick’s Day. He gave no estimate of current snow goose numbers but said they’re increasing rapidly as the birds stage and rest while on their northward migration. Snow geese often winter near the Gulf Coast and nest on the Arctic tundra.
Loring also said snow geese aren’t the only wildlife attraction currently at Lovewell State Park. He estimated that more than 100 bald eagles were around the lake. The eagles follow the snow geese as they migrate northward. Geese and ducks are a main meal for America’s national bird.
Loring said Lovewell is currently infested with migrating ducks, too. While duck hunting season is closed, this is a great time to be shooting ducks with a camera.
“Right now all of those drakes are so pretty in their spring colors,” said Loring. “The pintails and mallards are so beautiful this time of the year.”
The spring waterfowl migration is a spectacular show every spring in Kansas. However, the large numbers of snow geese witnessed in recent years confirms a population problem. Snow goose numbers have increased to such levels that biologists are concerned about the damage they are causing to their tundra nesting habitat. As a result, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows a conservation order hunting season, which opened Feb. 18 and closes April 30, 2018. During the conservation order, there are no bag or possession limits and gear and shooting hour regulations are relaxed. Visit www.ksoutdoors.com for more details.
Loring expects the waterfowl show to last at least another week, though weather systems can change things quickly.
For area updates, contact the Lovewell State Park office at (785) 753-4971.