Friday, May 25, 2012

Lake Marburg - 2

Out of the entire month, this was the nicest day, and a
lot of waterfowl turned out to enjoy the weather.

Lake Marburg, DeLorme P.82, F-3, is located in Cordorus State Park, covers 1,275 acres with a 26 mile shoreline. It is a 120-foot deep man-made lake three miles southeast of Hanover, PA, to provide drinking water for the town of Spring Grove, and for the industrial needs of the P.H. Glatfelter Paper Plant. The town of Marburg has remained at the bottom of the lake since the dam was finished and lake filled in 1966.

I got up at 4:45, beating the alarm by a quarter hour, downed a bowl of cereal, poured a travel mug of black coffee, and hit the road. Lake Marburg is 26 miles around, and with the head start I got in yesterday, I intended to complete the perimeter of the lake today. The hour and a half drive got me to the lake at dawn.

A reflection of spring colors.

The air was hazy and moister-laden from the evening and night’s rain. With no breeze moving yet, the glass-smooth surface was covered with a blanket of yellow pollen. That didn’t last long, however, as I was soon joined by both fishermen and a breeze that all came with the sun’s rising over the hills. The amount of wildlife is much greater than I’ve experienced elsewhere. I’d see mergansers, loons, wood ducks, coots, ground hogs, about five couples of Canada Geese with their goslings, osprey, herons, and much more.

With the break in the weather, as short as it was, I began to see paddle boats moving around on car and truck tops, and saw five paddlers on the lake during the course of the day. On my way back to the ramp yesterday, I saw something new to me. About a dozen paddlers were out in small kayaks and playboats playing a game of kayak baseball on the lake.

Another mallard zooms by the marina.

A couple things I need to work on is orienting my paddling around a body of water to keep the sun behind me for the greatest part of the day, and having the wind behind me when I reach the most interesting areas of shoreline so I can drift down on wildlife while remaining motionless. I lose more shots than I’d like by the subject being backlighted, thus losing all the colors and best appearance, not to mention gaining water reflection or glare. I messed up this morning. I saw this mountain side that was beautifully flooded by the clear, yellow light of the sun rising over the opposite hills. Between the great lighting and early hour, I thought it would have been a great chance to spot a deer. While moving slowly and silently along as I scoured the hillside, I totally missed the osprey with a fish having breakfast on a branch above me until it took off. I just sat and watched, as it was useless to try to grab for the camera in that instant.

It was a perfect training day, and pairs of geese were seen frequently
taking their young goslings out for an introduction to their new world.

The ends of the fingers, coves, or closed bays are the most interesting for finding wildlife. Surprisingly, today was such a beautiful fluke of a day, with highs reaching 88-deg., that a lot of the waterfowl were using the warm weather to get more in the open. Each of the next several days would see temperatures dropping ten degrees a day.

These are a bit older, and with their color change, are harder to see.
I count six.

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