I always love to go to DeSoto Bend in the fall. It’s a wildlife refuge located around a lake that used to be a bend in the Missouri River, until the river’s path changed. It’s a beautiful area! A few of the times in the past, I’ve managed to visit at the right time to see huge numbers of birds on their way migrating south. Each year hundreds of Canada geese, snow geese, wood ducks, herons and cranes come through the refuge. Several eagles and hawks also come during the migration season because of the vast numbers of water foul.
Snow geese on the lake at DeSoto Bend (picture from the DeSoto Bend website)
Sadly, this year, I didn’t hit it right to see the huge numbers of birds. Also, the building is undergoing some major renovations so the look out in the building was blocked off. The museum area was still open as well as all the outdoor areas for looking for wildlife. Isaiah loved the displays of stuffed animals in the museum. In one display, there’s a mole underground (the glass cuts “through” his hole so you can see him) that Isaiah thought was pretty cool. Because it was on his level, he was able to see it clearly and determine that it was a furry critter. He talked to it and was very excited about it. He even decided that it must be alive since it looked more like a real animal than his toys. He started to walk away from it, then turned around and called it. He played peek-a-boo and tried to get it to follow him around the corner!
After we played with the animal displays for a while, we headed out to one of the outlooks that had a picnic table. We settled in to watch a small flock of loons and eat our peanut butter and honey sandwiches (or in Isaiah’s case, milk and a little bit of my bread). The loons spent most of our lunch diving for fish. Isaiah thought the birds were incredibly interesting. He also quite enjoyed sitting on the bench at the picnic table next to me. He figured out that he could kick his feet while he was sitting there. Once he discovered that, he didn’t want to stop! He kept kicking and grinning at me. We took some pictures and headed on to the next stop along the lake.
We encountered a small flock of geese in a corn field and stopped to take pictures (of course!). They took off and I got a cool picture of them in flight. I saw more geese a while later resting on the lake. They kept acting like they were getting ready to take off, but never did. Every few minutes one or two would take off and fly to a different position on the lake, but never more than a few feet and the rest didn’t ever follow suit. I was a little disappointed because I would have liked to get a picture of them taking off from the water. I did, however, get a cool picture of a few landing on the water, making a big splash as their feet hit the lake.
We saw lots of wild turkeys driving around the refuge. It seemed like no matter which road we took, there they were, waiting for us! When we first saw them, they were out in a corn field. Later, they were in the trees not far from the road. The last time we encountered them, they were crossing the road a ways ahead of us. The last couple got across just as we reached the place where they were. The last one started to run like he was concerned either that we would hit him, or that his friends had left him behind! Turkeys are such strange birds! I got a great picture for Thanksgiving, though!
On our way out of the refuge, my mom spotted a heron standing in some tall grass. We’d already passed him when she realized what he was, so we turned around and went back. I took a couple pictures, but they weren’t very good because the grass was pretty thick. While we were driving along looking for another place to turn around, we spotted another heron very close to the road. When we stopped and I put the window down to take his picture, I apparently scared him. He took off and flew a few hundred yards to a new spot. We, of course, followed him since he’d landed close to the road again. When we caught up, he stood tall and watched us. It almost seemed like he was posing! He’d turn his head different ways, pick up a foot part way or bend his neck a little to give me lots of different shots. He was such a funny bird!
Before we headed for home, we stopped at Dairy Queen for ice cream and to give Isaiah a snack. He was pretty sure what we were eating was way better than the garden veggies and berry bananas I was giving him! He really enjoyed watching the other customers and put on quite the show. He talked and danced around after I took him out of the high chair.
It was a fun day and I have some cool pictures of the birds and, of course, tons of Isaiah. I’d like to go back again in a month or so in the hopes of seeing the snow geese and maybe a bald eagle. The snow geese rising off the lake are something I’ll never forget and I hope that Isaiah will get a chance to see that someday.