Duck Count Doldrums

Despite the warm, sunny weather (or perhaps because of it) the March waterfowl count at South Platte Park was rather dull this morning.  The recent summer-like conditions have totally opened the ponds, lakes and wetlands throughout the Valley and the ducks (migrants, winter visitors and permanent residents) are widely dispersed.

Our group saw a fair number of common goldeneyes, buffleheads, mallards, shovelers, gadwall and coot; a few common and hooded mergansers were also observed.  As usual, Canada geese were common on the refuge though their massive wintering flocks have moved off to the north.  A lone double-crested cormorant was seen but no grebes or white pelicans made an appearance.

Migrants should pick up in the coming weeks and summer residents (including pelicans, western grebes, cinnamon and blue-winged teal) generally arrive by mid April.  The summer-like weather, on the other hand, will surely not last; upslope snowstorms are especially common in March and April along the Colorado Front Range.