Winter takes a Hit

Down at South Platte Park this morning, crunchy snow still covered the ground and a layer of ice coated the larger lakes.  Winter ducks congregated on the river and open pools; northern shovelers were most abundant, joined by buffleheads, common goldeneyes, lesser scaup, American coot, ring-necked ducks, common mergansers and a pair of redheads.

A great blue heron hunted in the shallows and red-winged blackbirds, sensing spring, called from the icy wetlands.  Red-tailed hawks and black-billed magpies basked in the bright Colorado sun while downy woodpeckers scoured dead limbs for hibernating insects.  Finally, a pair of belted kingfishers chattered above the river, seemingly in celebration of the mild, sunny weather.

Indeed, the extended forecast calls for highs in the fifties and sixties (F) over the next ten days, putting a significant dent in winter's handiwork.  Then again, March and April lie ahead, two of the snowiest months along the Colorado Front Range.