June 14, 2012: Ankeny Wildlife and Wine

Today started out great.  I bought a waffle iron and made belgian waffles with strawberries from our garden. Yum!
Then we went to Ankeny Wildlife Refuge to take some pictures, and this is where the post gets very long and pic heavy :)  This trip was a great opportunity for Rob to play with his new camera, and he ran with it.  He had a total of 93 photos, even after deleting some.

Ankeny Wildlife Refuge is well-known for its bird population.  There are lots of observation points like this one, where you can look out and see the birds.  Unfortunately, a lot of the birds were hard to photograph since they insisted on flying around a lot.

We saw a pretty snake.
One pond was full of these crazy big tadpoles.  They were everywhere.

There was also a weasel-like mammal.  We could not get a very close look, so we can't say for sure what it is.
We saw a few herons,

and pretty butterflies.
The seed heads on the grasses were purple.  It was really pretty.

Of course, there were flowers and bees :)
These birds were landing in the water after a short flight.
I don't even know what to say about this guy.  He just looks cool (my apologies if this bird is female).

This guy's cool too.  It looks like he is wearing a bandana or wants to join the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

We ended up on a trail that would not end, and it led us past some farm fields.
This bird was super photogenic.  It was almost like he was posing.
We saw lots of red-winged blackbirds.
After all the hiking around, we went to Ankeny Vineyard to taste some local wines.
We tasted some wine, we bought some bottles, and we sat surrounded by grapevines
to have a little drink.  It was so peaceful.
On the way home, we stopped at the grocery store, where Rob pretended he was a private detective snapping photos of people in the parking lot.  I was his main victim :)

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