Greeted by Winter Ducks

Arriving in Littleton, Colorado, on this mild, sunny afternoon, I opted for a walk in South Platte Park.  There I was pleased to find a large number and wide variety of winter ducks, forced south by frozen lakes and wetlands to our north.

Most of the ponds and lakes at South Platte Park were open but ice claimed the shallows.  American coot, common goldeneyes and buffleheads were the most common winter visitors, though green-winged teal, ring-necked ducks and lesser scaup were also present.  Northern shovelers, permanent residents in the State, are primarily winter residents at South Platte Park and were perhaps the most abundant species at the refuge; mallards, American wigeon, gadwalls, common and hooded mergansers and pied-billed grebes were also observed.  Canada geese, reinforced by migrants from the north, have reached their seasonal abundance in Metro Denver, grazing on almost every patch of open grassland (including the entrance to our farm).

After experiencing such a sluggish waterfowl migration in the Midwest this autumn, today's sightings were especially rewarding.  Since I plan to participate in a waterfowl count at South Platte Park this coming Saturday, I anticipate even more sightings during my brief December visit.