Reunion Pond

Yesterday morning, glorious November weather coaxed me down to South Platte Park, in Littleton, Colorado.  There I encountered almost every species of duck that commonly winters along the Front Range; 90% of them were on a single, marsh-lined pond, seemingly reconnecting after their summer break before dispersing throughout the refuge.  Of course, this diverse congregation was more likely related to food availability and to their instinctual knowledge that safety is enhanced in a crowd.

The gathering included Canada geese, mallards, gadwall, northern pintails, American wigeon, northern shovelers, green-winged teal, wood ducks, lesser scaup, buffleheads, ring-necked ducks, American coot and hooded mergansers; common goldeneyes and common mergansers were observed on an adjacent lake.  It reminded me of a zoo exhibit where a variety of species are confined together to conserve space.

Ironically, waterfowl numbers were rather sparse in other areas of the Park and the annual influx of Canada geese, which usually occurs during the first week of November, has not yet materialized.  Once again, I may be witnessing the impact of global warming on the autumn waterfowl migration; as long as  open water and food are found up north, there is no need for ducks and geese to expend energy by flying to southern latitudes.