200,000 Snow Geese at Mid­dle Creek

Northern Berks Patriot Item - - RELIGION - By Carl Hess For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia Carl Hess is a reg­u­lar photo con­trib­u­tor for the Berks-Mont News pa­pers.

Snow Geese might be fly­ing north for the sum­mer but at the same time of year many peo­ple in our area are headed south-west to the Mid­dle Creek Wildlife Preser­va­tion Area to wit­ness an an­nual spec­ta­cle of na­ture. Mid­dle Creek is lo­cated on a fly­way and it an­nu­ally at­tracts up­wards of 100,000 north-bound Snow Geese, Canada geese, Tun­dra Swans and other wa­ter fowl dur­ing the mi­gra­tion pe­riod. Spec­ta­tors, na­ture lovers, pho­tog­ra­phers and day school­ers flock to the wildlife refuge every Fe­bru­ary. Mid­dle Creek, lo­cated near Klin - fel­ters ville, PA on the Lan­caster/Le­banon County bor­der, is only about 35 miles from Ham­burg.

I was among the spec­ta­tors on Feb. 21, a record shat­ter­ing day in more ways than one.

On that date there was an es­ti­mated 200,000 Snow Geese at Mid­dle Creek. This rep­re­sents an in­crease over the pre­vi­ous record (170,00 birds) which was recorded in 2007. It was also un­sea­son­ably warm with record­break­ing tem­per­a­tures reach­ing into the low eight­ies. De­spite be­ing a week­day, the warmth brought out peo­ple from near and far to wit­ness the mas­sive gath­er­ing of Snow Geese.

If you’d like to see this rel­a­tively close-by spec­ta­cle, do so quickly as soon the last re­main­ing Snow Geese will de­part for their spring breed­ing grounds far to our north. How can you tell if the Snow Geese are still at Mid­dle Creek? Check on­line. The Mid­dle Creek Wildlife Pho­tog­ra­phers group on Face­book is con­stantly be­ing up­dated with re­ports and pho­tos. The Penn­syl­va­nia Game Com­mis­sion also up­dates its Wa­ter­fowl Mi­gra­tion Up­date site daily. You can find at http://www. pgc.pa.gov/ In­for­ma­tion Re­sources / About Us/ Con­tact In­for­ma­tion / South east/ Mid­dle Creek Wildlife Man­age­ment Area/Pages/ Mi­gra­tionUp­date.aspx.

If you can’t get there this year, mark it on your cal­en­dar for next year and en­joy the pho­tos.

SUBMITTED PHOTO — CARL HESS

A gag­gle of Snow Geese re­lo­cate from the lake to a smaller pond on the Mid­dle Creek Wildlife Wildlife Preser­va­tion Area.

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