December at South Platte Reservoir

South Platte Reservoir, completed in 2007, sits north of Chatfield State Park and along the southwest edge of South Platte Park in Littleton, Colorado.  Though relatively small in size, the reservoir is easily viewed from a levee along its southern border and is known to attract an excellent variety of diving ducks, including rare visitors such as long-tailed ducks; within the past week, greater scaup and white-winged scoters have been observed on the reservoir.

On this cold morning, snow showers moved along the Front Range and the low December sun was beginning to burn holes in the gray overcast.  American coot were numerous along the rocky shores of the reservoir and a large flock of Canada geese cruised on its open waters.  Pairs and small groups of buffleheads, common goldeneyes and ring-necked ducks dove for their breakfast, joined by a few common mergansers, redheads and lesser scaup.  Unfortunately, no rare species were observed during my visit.

On the other hand, an adult bald eagle soared above the reservoir and an immature bald eagle perched in a grove of the trees east of the lake (along Eaglewatch Lake in South Platte Park).  Other flocks of Canada geese noisily moved about the valley, American kestrels hunted along the Park's entry road and the beauty of the Front Range foothills was magnified by clear, cold air and the snowy landscape.