Smithville Lake is a large reservoir north of Kansas City, Missouri. Stretching north to south above the east wall of the Missouri River Valley, the Lake and its surrounding wetlands are a magnet for migratory waterfowl and early November is an excellent time to visit. Access to the area is via U.S. 169 (north of I-435), on the west side of the Lake, or from Missouri 92 which passes south of the reservoir; the Visitor Center is adjacent to the Dam on Route DD, which loops between the above highways.
Migrant ducks are peaking by November; rafts of diving ducks (redheads, ring-necks, scaup, common goldeneyes, buffleheads, ruddys, canvasbacks and mergansers) gather on deeper waters near the dam while surface feeders (mallards, wigeon, gadwall, shovelers and coot) favor the backwater shallows; the former are often joined by a variety of loons, grebes, gulls and terns though pied-billed grebes prefer the shallower waters. Bald eagles are common here throughout the colder months, peregrine falcons follow the migrant waterfowl and ospreys fish on the lake during their spring and fall migrations. Large flocks of double-crested cormorants are also attracted to the reservoir and often roost in drowned trees north of the Route W bridge.
American white pelicans rest and feed along the shorelines and, as autumn progresses, large flocks of Canada and snow geese visit the reservoir. In addition, birders will find an excellent variety of raptors, game birds and upland songbirds in the woodlands, wetlands and fields that surround the lake.