A Mid Winter Thaw

Thanks to downsloping chinooks over the past few days, we are enjoying a mid winter thaw along the Colorado Front Range; today's afternoon high may reach 60 degrees F.  At South Platte Park, in Littleton, the lakes are reopening and the waterfowl are spreading out from the river.

This morning, mallards, green-winged teal and gadwall were still primarily on the South Platte but large rafts of northern shovelers, spinning to stir up a meal, were observed on one of the riverside lakes; among the other common residents and visitors were buffleheads, common goldeneyes, common and hooded mergansers, American coot, lesser scaup and ring-necked ducks.  Less abundant but also present were redheads and wood ducks.

Not to be ignored, noisy flocks of Canada geese moved about the refuge, muskrats plied the open waters, red-winged blackbirds sang in the wetlands, belted kingfishers chattered above the river, black-billed magpies cruised along the valley and northern flickers called from the cottonwoods.  While there were no rare or unusual sightings at the Park, a warm, sunny day in mid January was rewarding enough for this visitor.