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A Morning’s Drive in Siouxland, rural Thurston County, Nebraska

16 Sep

Two bison soak in some morning sun near Winnebago, NE Monday, August 29, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some mornings when I wake up early, which seems to be most days, I feel I need to get out and do a little exploring or at least driving around the Siouxland area. Because the vast majority of the region is rural and farmland or open acreage, there are choices available to explore, which makes it all the better and the opportunity to actually get lucky and find some wildlife.

A deer peers out from tall grass near Winnebago, NE Monday, August 29, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A doe and its young eat grass in a yard at a home in rural Thurston County, Nebraska near Winnebago, NE Thursday, July 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The light that time of day is also much nicer, a little more direct and slanting and will become more so as the season gets into fall. It also means not having to get up as early to beat the sunrise in getting out as the days start a little later.

Morning light in a pond in rural Thurston County, Nebraska near Winnebago, NE Thursday, July 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Steam rises off a pond in rural Thurston County, Nebraska near Winnebago, NE Thursday, July 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And it’s always pleasant to drive about country roads with the windows down in the cool morning air knowing the heat of the day won’t be scorching and force one to run the AC the entire time. Of course, if there is other traffic on the road one needs to be conscious of the ensuing dust storm as some like to fly down those gravel roads. But that’s another story.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A deer on a hill top watches a visitor on a country road in rural Thurston County, Nebraska near Winnebago, NE Thursday, July 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bison graze in a field near Winnebago, NE Monday, August 29, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Shhhhhh! Don’t Wake the Babies in Siouxland, Sioux City

4 Sep

Baby house sparrows call out from a bird house for food from their parents in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa, Wednesday, August 3, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I’ve noticed some noisy neighbors recently in the area and it has been a bit fun to watch and mostly listen to the little guys/gals as mom or dad flies to and fro feeding them. But I can’t figure out how all three of the baby sparrows plus an adult fit into the birdhouse.

An adult house sparrow has a mouth full of food for its nestlings in a bird house in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa, Wednesday, August 3, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An adult house sparrow has a mouth full of food for its nestlings in a bird house in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa, Wednesday, August 3, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Baby house sparrows go quiet calling out from a bird house for food from their parents in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa, Wednesday, August 3, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And I imagine at some point the little dears will be ready to fly off and just hope they make it on their life’s journey. Other neighbors, furry ones, hear the cries of “feed me” and watch longingly from afar, possibly thinking of their own meal.

Nature is what it is. But one hopes like with all living beings they get a chance, but sometimes it sees chance can be a good or bad encounter.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Baby house sparrows call out from a bird house for food from their parents in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa, Wednesday, August 3, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An adult house sparrow looks about before flying to a feeder for another batch of baby food for its nestlings in a bird house in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa, Wednesday, August 3, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting Nature in Siouxland, Frost Wilderness Wildlife Area, Vermillion, SD

2 Sep

A Cedar Waxwing sits on a branch at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like visiting new areas outdoors that I haven’t been to or seen yet. Although I have been to Frost Wilderness wildlife management area previously, I just didn’t know it. When previously visiting, there wasn’t any signage and this time I also found another entry that lets a visitor get a bit closer to the Missouri River that separates South Dakota and Nebraska. Plus I got to photograph a bird I have seen fleetingly but never long enough to make an image. Those Cedar Waxwings can be quick little birds, and prefer staying within the shelter of their surrounding trees. This time though one of them made me feel at home while other species also checked me out.

A Cedar Waxwing eyes a visitor from a branch at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A juvenile bald eagle takes another pass overhead looking at a visitor and if it would be of any interest to it at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An Orchard Oriole sits atop a tree at Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Orchard Orioles sit atop a tree at Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular wildlife area has mowed pathways which made walking much easier. And as one near the border between the two states another turnout with a pass through gate makes it easy to access the river and surrounding area. One thing though, the area appears managed more for the avid hunter than it does for the hiker and bird enthusiast. Signs are posted about the hunting availability and I would be shy to go walking early morning in the area looking for species as a visit a year or two ago I heard a very loud shot not more than 100-200 yards away. It wasn’t a shotgun, but a more robust type of rifle. Myself and some students with me made a quick beeline to our parked cars. Bullets have a way of traveling where not directed and sometimes folk don’t look beyond their target to see what lies beyond as the intent of bring down an animal occupies the senses.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An Eastern Kingbird looks about a meadow at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

American White Pelicans sit on a sandbar across the Missouri River at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Informational signage about the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Trail markings signage at the Frost Wilderness wildlife management area near Vermillion, South Dakota, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Passing Moment in Siouxland Watching Nature, DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri Valley

31 Aug

A redheaded woodpecker checks out who is also visiting the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, July 3, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when I am out in Siouxland visiting various wildlife refuges my encounters with nature and the creatures is sometimes very fleeting. Many birds are very coy about strangers and visitors who happen upon the creature’s neck of the woods. Whether walking a trail or grassy meadow, the feathered friends take note and then seem to vanish. A blink of an eye is almost a lifetime while trying to photograph them.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Redheaded woodpecker eyeballs a visitor at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, July 3, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Moments later a Redheaded woodpecker plays coy and ignores a visitor at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, July 3, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Redheaded woodpecker launches itself from its perch at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, July 3, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Displaying some interesting aero dynamics a Redheaded woodpecker leaves its perch at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, July 3, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Redheaded woodpecker leaves its perch upon a post at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, July 3, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lazy Days of Summer in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

27 Aug

An Asian tiger yawns from the soon to become heat of the day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This summer in Siouxland like many places has been extremely hot and dry. When I visited the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE earlier in the summer on such a day the animals reminded me that sometimes it’s okay to take a break during the heat of the day, if possible, and not over do it. Although for humans that is not always possible, as temperatures seem to become more extreme both in summer and winter maybe the human race needs to re-evaluate it’s life and needs to accommodate a climate that is not always hospitable. But that will never happen as the wheels of commerce and industry and those who wield the power will never acquiesce to such a mind set as they work from their mostly air-conditioned and more temperature controlled board rooms and offices.

But watching the animals at the zoo, they understand nature and seem to know when taking a break is a reasonable option too puruse.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Resting but always wary, a tiger lays on a cool cement floor at the start of a soon to be hot day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nap time for a young cheetah at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young cheetah looks up at the sound of a noise at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young spider monkey picks off something from another at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two spider monkeys look out what their enclosure at the humans watching them at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two spider monkeys look about from their enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fair Time in Siouxland, Woodbury County Fair, Moville

15 Aug

A show pig appears to be looking for a way out as its owner participates in a 4-H/FFA judging event at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Rural Iowa in Siouxland would never be complete without a county fair in the summertime. Or elsewhere in other states for that matter. As a child I spent a few summers participating in 4-H events with projects and remember some fondly, and others that may not have gone as expected. And fairs have a long history, originally beginning in England as a sort of religious celebration according to some online sites.

According to a history site the first county fair in the U.S. took place in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1807. Sheep farmer Elkanah Watson wanted to promote better farming practices and held a sheep shearing demonstration and contest. Probably happy with its success, Watson began developing agricultural fairs that included contests and activities for the whole family.

While trying to maintain control of their animal entries, 4-H/FFA members of various county clubs also need to stay focused on the event judge during a competition at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A 4-H/FFA member preps his sheep for showing at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And in Iowa according to another site it was in 1841 that an exhibition was held exhibiting a particular cattle breed. An Agricultural Society created an event to show off cattle of the Durham breed, the first such exhibition west of the Mississippi River. In 1855 the Agricultural Society created the Lee County Fair in Lee County and thus began county fairs. And others in most states with agriculture began their own fairs. It was a chance for “country folk” to get a day off and maybe show off some of their livestock or produce they had grown. And fairs have changed over time, adding carnivals, and two youth groups, 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of American) were started to offer young people interested in agriculture and farm type living than now includes organic a space and place to pursue those interests.

A bunny “exhibit” for a 4_h member a at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Animal owners like the 4-H member and owner of this rabbit puts an ice water bottle in the cage to help keep the animal cool during sweltering temperatures during the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022. Large fans were also deployed throughout the barn areas to keep the air moving during the fair. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visitors enjoy the rabbit exhibits of 4-H/FFA members at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

For 4-H and FFA members the county fairs are the place to show off their work for the year and compete with like-minded individuals and maybe go to their state’s fair to compete amongst their peers, the “championship games” equivalent to sporting events. And these days 4-H clubs are not limited to only “kids in the country” like when I was growing up, and the various activities and kinds of projects has greatly expanded beyond just animals. Although some members whose parents might own small acreage can raise rabbits, chickens, goats or lamps as well as other types of projects that might include nutrition, photography, art, explanatory projects involving building or cooking.

A 4-H/FFA member cuddles her kitten before competing in an event during the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The cat looks calm wearing its leash/bib during a 4-H/FFA competition during the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A kitten looks very sedate from all of the affection and attention during a 4-H/FFA competition at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But county fairs also harken back to a little country nostalgia that those farming might enjoy. Collecting and exhibiting older “antique” farm tractors is now an expensive hobbies, akin to those who collect and show off model A and T cars and those muscle cars of the ’50’s and ’60’s.

Older style tractors and in some cases, “antiques” on display at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Older farm tractors are as collectible to some folk as antique cars seen at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And then there is the carnival side of fairs and the rides that all kids, no matter the age, still enjoy and look forward too.

A county fair wouldn’t be complete without carnival rides see at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A county fair wouldn’t be complete without carnival rides see at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A county fair wouldn’t be complete without carnival rides see at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some of the events are a bit fun-filled for the kids as in a pie eating contest that was more whip cream slurping than actual pie eating. And though I didn’t watch all of it, a few of the younger ones seemed a bit unsure if inhaling all of that topping was actually going to stay put. And no “spill buckets”.

Happy about winning the age division pie eating, well whip cream slurping contest, during the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Standing nonchalantly after winning the age division pie eating, well whip cream slurping contest, while a volunteer holds another contestant’s pigtails to keep them clear of the whip cream during the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Fair Queen makes sure this particular contestant gets plenty of whip cream to slurp during a “pie eating” contest at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In the end though, for those that compete at the county fair, bringing home a blue ribbon or best of show or even a championship trophy still tops the list of accomplishments.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Showing off some “fancy booties” a prize winning goat entry for a 4-H/FFA member is held for a commemorative photo in the winners circle at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Content or Quality in Siouxland, rural Woodbury County

7 Aug

A momma raccoon looks for food possibilities under some water lilies at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes while out shooting in Siouxland I come across situations where I weigh the idea of capturing an image and its content versus the quality of what that image may be because of the shooting situation. Working for newspapers for so many years has taught me that most times a photographic situation may not be ideal. And I still find that to be true. In those newspapering days I was shooting TriX and sometimes one might “pull” the processing to flatten out high contrast situations in bright sunlight, or a mixture of bright sunlight and deep shade. And TriX was rated at 400ASA.

A momma raccoon looks for food possibilities under some water lilies at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A baby raccoon follows its momma as it looks for food possibilities under some water lilies at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I was exploring a wildlife management area new to me that I had not walked before. And I came across a creek and small pond. I was watching birds fly about when I noticed movement along a bank. Naturally the pond and creek were 4 to 5 feet below me and when I spotted the raccoon through tall grass and lily ponds I thought I would try my luck. I find photographing animals always a challenge. And the raccoon didn’t seem to have noticed me. It wasn’t until I had been shooting a bit trying to focus through the tall grass and into the shade that I realized the bigger raccoon had company. A couple of babies tagging along behind as they hunted for a meal.

Two baby raccoons follow their momma as it looks for food possibilities under some water lilies at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A baby raccoon follows its momma as it looks for food possibilities under some water lilies at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A momma raccoon looks for food possibilities under some water lilies with a baby close by at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The one little guy/gal hugged his momma’s tale and made it hard to distinguish one from the other until I got home and started editing my files. Most times when I see an animal and it doesn’t seem to be aware of me I pretty freeze in place, barely moving a foot unless to make certain I am rooted in spot so I don’t go tipping over as I look through the viewfinder. And trying to keep track of the head in deep shade and focus at the same time was a challenge.

So then later it becomes the balance of sharing images that may not be stellar technically but have some value for the content. Images of raccoons are not at the top of the Fujita scale if one is measuring intensity and dynamic content. So I guess it’s more of the challenge to be able to produce images under less than ideal conditions and still tell somewhat of a photographic story. The raccoons trailed off, pun intended, away from me still looking for food and I enjoyed watching nature having a day out with the kids.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A baby raccoon gets wet following its momma as it looks for food possibilities under some water lilies at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A water lily pond at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sharing, Kind of, in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

3 Aug

Two giraffes apparently can share their eats when one isn’t aware of the other seen at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I have taken more interest in photographing animals, backyard birds, zoos, wildlife in nature around Siouxland and such, I began looking more at their behavior and interactions. Probably applying human attributes, fairly or not, as I watch them interact with one another.

The giraffe in the foreground didn’t seem to notice as opposed to not minding, the other giraffe sharing some of its food at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE the day I visited. Sometimes a gentle touch is a better approach. Just like siblings, sharing is good when one is the recipient of the sharing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A little sharing at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, June 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Encountering a Jurassic Experience, the Scraposaurs, Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Sioux City

1 Aug

The Wooly Rhino was built with salvaged steel and covered in hair plugs and is one of various “prehistoric animals” are represented by the traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it’s nice not to have to travel too far in Siouxland to find an interesting exhibit to check out. A traveling exhibit currently at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City consists of recycled Jurassic critters, or creatures from an earlier age. Artist Dale Lewis created whimsical creatures out of recycled metal bits and pieces. Although pieces might not be the best description for some of these towering creatures.

The pterodactyl is built from a variety of stainless steel screening material with forks for teeth while the chicks are made from former steel farm equipment and part of a traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The pterodactyl is built from a variety of stainless steel screening material with forks for teeth and is part of a traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The artist’s inspiration for “Dino” the dog was the TV cartoon “The Flintstones” and is one of a variety of various “prehistoric animals” built from scrap material are represented by the traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lewis harkens from Minnesota so this may be a way to spend cold winter days as he created these creatures from various metal materials. The exhibit is slated to be on site until April of 2023. So it will be interesting with a heavy winter snow to see these creatures peeking out from under snow drifts. Maybe experiencing another ice age that their forebears endured and were lost in so many centuries ago.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The “Thing” is one of many creatures built from a variety of scrap material various “prehistoric animals” are represented by the traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bison statue is flanked by one of several scrap built “prehistoric animals” are represented by the traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The artist, Dale Lewis, “signed” his name on one of the “prehistoric animals” are represented in the traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Built from a variety of scrap material various “prehistoric animals” are represented in the traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Floor Show in Siouxland, De Soto National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri Valley

29 Jul

Two Great Blue Herons squabble over shoreline territory while looking for food until they sort it out at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, July 3, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days when I head out to photograph I might have a destination in mind. One particular day I headed down to DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley. The refuge encompasses area in both Iowa and Nebraska (Boyer Chute National Wildlife Area) along the Missouri River. Depending on the time of year I expect to find some wildlife. Mainly birds during the spring and fall migration periods. Hopefully eagles and then shore birds and ducks and geese.

This particular day it was a cool morning only to heat up later so I thought why not go for a drive and hope for the best. Driving into the refuge I saw a juvenile eagle fly overhead and a couple of other birds, but there was not many species showing.

Two Great Blue Herons squabble over shoreline territory while looking for food until they sort it out at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, July 3, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Great Blue Herons squabble over shoreline territory while looking for food until they sort it out at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, July 3, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I drove to a large “blind” area set up by the federal parks folk which happens to be across the river from a perennial eagles nest. I parked walked to the blind and then pleasantly surprised to find three Great Blue Herons feeding along the shoreline. I am just happy to see wildlife, and happier still to be able to photograph them within a reasonable distance. I was not prepared though to find one bird unhappy another was walking into its shoreline feeding area and so the dance began. Since I was concentrating shooting only one bird at a time I was not shooting wide enough when the two began to engage. Shooting through a blind opening with a long lens and not having one’s hand on the zoom ring is not good camera practice. Oh well.

It was enough though to enjoy seeing something I had never witnessed and still being able to make a few frames showing the birds’ dancing. Done in a manner of seconds, they parted and just started feeding again.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two Great Blue Herons squabble over shoreline territory while looking for food until they sort it out at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, July 3, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Great Blue Herons squabble over shoreline territory while looking for food until they sort it out at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, July 3, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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