For my birthday this year we went to a special place! Freezeout Lake is a Wildlife Management Area located in Choteau, Montana. Each year it serves as a stop over for thousands of swans and geese in their seasonal migration. Many years we have tried to come here but covid has recently stopped us. This year we finally succeeded in managing it. I was so excited when we finally could go! We booked a hotel right on the border of Choteau. Unfortunately, it took 3 hours to get there and that means 3 hours in the car! Thankfully, I brought lots of books and I looked out the window.
Since we had lots of time, we decided to explore the area. There are a lot of little side roads but we decided to take the main prairie road. We instantly stopped to look at some little birds that were flitting along the road next to us. Papa and I use a fun way to identify birds if one of us can’t see it, first papa describes it to me, then I tell him what it is, those little birds turned out to be horned larks, a new species! We drove on with the occasional lark flitting in front of the car. We saw meadowlarks on the fences. Driving past a field we spooked a few sharp tailed grouse, at first we thought they were ring necked pheasants because they have pointed tails too! Further on, we saw a bird swooping slowly over the prairie. Mom asked if it was an owl and it was an owl, a short eared owl to be exact! Another new species! Since it was getting late, we ate dinner at the end of the road at a stop over. Once we were done we looked through the spotting scope at the ducks. We drove back for the night in Chouteau.
At 6:00 am mama and papa woke me up, I did not want to get up. It felt extra early but I got up anyway, I knew that the excitement would begin soon. We got there at 6:20 and hiked out to the lake to watch the migration. There were many birding groups on the trail. It was very cold and I could not wait for them to take off. All of a sudden a loud vibrating sound filled the air and the geese and swans all took off at once! It was so loud that it was like an airplane! I took many photos as they flew against the sunset. We watched giant flocks of snow geese descend on a field across the highway, hiking out we saw a mink sliding into the reeds. We climbed into the car and headed onto a road crossing the highway. Driving up a hill we saw more flocks of geese coming our way, when we got there the geese pooped all over our car!