After a week of summer-like weather across most of the U.S., cooler air has moved east of the Continental Divide. Nevertheless, sunny skies and minimal wind in Metro Denver sent me down to the South Platte Valley for a morning hike.
Not fooled by the recent mild conditions, buffleheads and common goldeneyes still joined the Canada geese, mallards, shovelers, gadwall and pied-billed grebes on the valley ponds and lakes. Other signs of March included the loud, seasonal calls and drumming of northern flickers and nest building by a pair of black-billed magpies; the latter couple took a break from their work to harass a red-tailed hawk that had perched in a nearby cottonwood.
Perhaps the most potent reminder that we are still in early spring is the forecast for snow flurries overnight. Indeed, March is the snowiest month along the Front Range urban corridor and, lest we get too anxious for an end to winter, we must remember that April snowfall ranks just behind that of March. Fortunately, such upslope snowstorms are interspersed with mild, sunny weather and, except for the damage to flower beds, spring snows are easy to take. There are truly no bad months for outdoor exploration along the Colorado Front Range.