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The heron are nesting near Denver ... see them close-up.

One of the largest great blue heron rookeries in Colorado, Chatfield State Recreation Area, is just 15 miles southwest of downtown Denver. From now through september, you can see these large birds nesting here. At last count, some 50 pair were nesting in the tops of dead trees in the midst of the reservoir.

Since the birds need protection when they're sitting on their eggs, there's no boat access directly to the site; tie up at designated buoys nearby. Or watch from an overlook platform onshore, about 100 yards from the rookery.

Heron are impressive birds, with wingspreads of 6 to 9 feet. You'll see plenty of activity throughout the day--one parent flies back and forth from feeding trips along the nearby South Platte River while the other stays on the nest. Bring binoculars or a spotting scope.

To reach the reservoir, take State Highway 75 southwest to Deer Creek Canyon Road and turn into the entrance. Day-use fee is $2 per car. At the gate, you can get a free map and bird check list. Park hours are 6 A.M. to 10 P.M. daily.
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Title Annotation:Chatfield State Recreation Area
Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1985
Words:187
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