The skies are empty until suddenly, another V-Shaped squadron appears, seemingly out of nowhere. They glide peacefully and effortlessly above the lake, eventually breaking formation, each floating gracefully down into their own spot on the water. The surface is like a massive party, with thousands all talking at the same time.
Those of us nearby on land are talking too. Admiring the beauty of each squad as it arrives, marveling at the sights and sounds of the nearly 100,000 snow geese, who choose to spend a week or two with us each year near our home in Lancaster County, PA. They come to visit Middle Creek Wildlife Reserve on their way back to the Arctic circle, after summering down south.
Suddenly, for what seems like no reason, they take off. Only a few at first, but within seconds the whole group is in the air. Like organized confetti in the wind, they move en masse, from one spot on the lake to another. On land, the sound of pounding wings resonates in our chests, as we all fall silent and soak in the beauty of the scene.
It lasts only seconds, but is well worth waiting for. If we’re lucky, it will happen a few more times before we get too cold, or it becomes too dark to see.
Around the corner, behind some trees, on a more secluded part of the lake, a few tundra swans float quietly. They keep a good distance between themselves and the out-going, socialite snow geese. They all travel the same route toward their Arctic, summer breeding grounds, but the tundra swan doesn’t travel as far south in the summer.
Each March, both swans and geese stop in Lancaster County, to feed in the farm fields, and rest on the lake at Middle Creek. For those of us that come by to watch them, it’s literally the stuff of National Geographic.
But beyond the serenity of the scene at Middle Creek, lies the future of these birds and their Arctic nesting grounds. Climate change is already effecting Arctic temperatures and is expected to do so most dramatically in that part of the world. How will those changes effect the birds’ ability to reproduce? Will climate changes at lower latitudes like Middle Creek, effect the food sources the birds stop by to feed on? Will that effect their migration patterns?
As we walk the roughly half-mile path from the lake back to our cars, you can feel the deep appreciation, respect and love we all have for nature, it’s processes and it’s creatures. But our first challenge is not to forget those feelings when we turn on the car, and drive back into our daily routines. The second, even more important challenge, is to find ways to live more sustainably, recognizing that our actions are not at all unrelated to the peace and beauty we experienced at the lake.
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On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 11:38 AM Five O’Clock Shadow wrote:
> Todd Fulginiti posted: ” The skies are empty until suddenly, another > V-Shaped squadron appears, seemingly out of nowhere. They glide peacefully > and effortlessly above the lake, eventually breaking formation, each > floating gracefully down into their own spot on the water. The sur” >
Enjoyable to read