Stopping by Truman Reservoir

Driving through western Missouri today, I decided to visit the dam area of Truman Reservoir, just north of Warsaw.  Completed in 1979, the dam was built at the confluence of the Osage and South Grand Rivers, creating the largest (or second largest, depending on your source) body of water in Missouri.  Below the dam, the Osage River flows eastward into the Lake of the Ozarks and eventually enters the Missouri River just east of Jefferson City.

On past winter visits to Truman Reservoir (all at least 10 years ago), I found that most of the lake was frozen and that open water near the dam attracted a fascinating mix of loons, diving ducks and bald eagles.  Today's visit, on a mild, sunny afternoon, felt more like early October than early December; the temperature was in the low 60s F and not a cube of ice was found, even along an inlet where mallards and Canada geese lounged near the shore and where a pair of great blue herons stalked the shallows.

After repeatedly scanning the deeper waters, I found only a small group of red-breasted mergansers.  A flock of gulls (too distant to identify) crowded a beach, turkey vultures swooped along the dam and two bald eagles soared above the reservoir.  A far cry from the spectacle of past visits, today's stop was pleasant but hardly memorable; I'll have to return after winter settles in (if it ever does in this El Nino year).