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A Place with a View in Siouxland, Le Mars

21 Sep

Turkey vultures roost on a grain elevator in Le Mars, Iowa, Tuesday August 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I guess it’s not only human nature to seek out a high spot to take in the surrounding view of an area in Siouxland as a recent trip to Le Mars allowed me to watch a gathering of turkey vultures roosting on a grain elevator next to the community’s fairgrounds. Of course for birds they always look for that high, vantage point as it also keeps them safe from predators. Although some human in the area must not have been pleases in that I heard loud noises that sent these creatures soaring up to be safer and also take a look at whatever was causing a ruckus.

Turkey vultures roost on a grain elevator in Le Mars, Iowa, Tuesday August 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was one of the few times I had seen so many vultures hanging out together. A little conflab of sorts I suppose maybe sharing places of interest to find a meal the next day, as evening was coming on and these birds would be settling in some place for the night. A routine many of us hope to once again pursue as life becomes a bit safer than the current virus episode makes it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Turkey vultures take flight after hearing a noise while roosting on a grain elevator in Le Mars, Iowa, Tuesday August 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeking Shelter in Siouxland, Snyder’s Bend Park, Salix

19 Sep

A woodchuck looks around hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When one senses danger or even that something is amiss, it’s only natural to seek shelter. Even creatures in Siouxland are wary of man’s attempt to intervene in nature. While on a recent outing at Snyder’s Bend Park a parks department crew showed up to do some work, and this poor little woodchuck seemed a little besides himself trying to figure out if he was in danger and why were on these people hanging out in his neighborhood this particular day.

A woodchuck takes off after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A woodchuck runs for cover after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A woodchuck runs for cover after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In most cases it is good to heed one’s instinct and behave cautiously rather than proceed as if nothing unusual is occurring. I believe that is the premise of many a teen horror movie that has been used numerous times all leading to the same conclusion. This little guy scampered away as fast as it could and appeared safe as far as I could tell. Until the next time it ventures probably hoping not to hear another backhoe for a while as it looks for a morning snack.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

A woodchuck heads off to a safer place after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Checking on Visitors at the Zoo near Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

13 Sep

A peacock walks by visitors at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Humans are not the only curious “animals” on this planet. Zoo animals exhibit a curiosity as well when visitors drop by, and some even like to show off a bit and relax while checking on visitors to their domain. Maybe even smile at someone they see.

A meerkat takes a break from preening at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A giraffe smiles at a visitor at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But like people animals can be a bit aloof and not pay any mind to those who are checking them on on a warm day. People watching in reverse or just not interested. Although under different circumstances, maybe.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A curious peacock takes a closer look at a visitor at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

After a meal, a nap is always inviting at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A meerkat and smaller antelope watch visitors watching them at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nature’s Calligraphers in Siouxland, Snyder’s Bend, Salix

7 Sep

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I often times am awed by nature’s shows that take place in Siouxland and I can witness such feats of aerobatics and and “sky writing” done by birds.

This summer while visiting with a friend at Snyder’s Bend park we saw a large flock of pelicans performing synchronized flying near the park and it struck me as a form of calligraphy being written in the sky by these airborne creatures.

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What on the ground look like large unbalanced creatures created imagery in the sky that was fun to watch. I had never witnessed pelicans behaving in this manner before, mostly just images of these birds on the ground feeding. And seeing them fly in formation was truly amazing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Pelicans fly in formation at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Soaring in Siouxland, Snyder Bend Park

24 Aug

 

A raptor soars above the earth at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days are just fine days, even in Siouxland, with a blue sky and sunshine, although the recent heat and humidity has made them a little less enjoyable. But then I look up and see a raptor or some bird soaring above enjoying the thermals and just taking in the sights. I pause, and realize I need to do the same, minus the soaring, but take in the sights and enjoy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Riding the thermals at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Curbside Food to go in Siouxland, Rural Cherokee County

18 Aug

A turkey vulture swoops in to join some friends in a roadside meal in rural Cherokee County and near Quimby, Iowa Monday, July 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The advent of the coronavirus and its ancillary effects on people’s lives in Siouxland and elsewhere has been somewhat profound and probably the full extent will not be known until the virus is under control. People’s lives have changed including eating habits. Folk used to go out for meals but now many are dialing and asking for delivery or doing a pickup themselves. This kind of behavior I believe has been ongoing for years if not decades or longer in the animal world.

A turkey vulture looks up the roadway before feasting on some road kill in rural Cherokee County and near Quimby, Iowa Monday, July 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Raptors, especially turkey vultures, have been enjoying “curbside meals” for as long as I have seen them. Sometimes I have to be cautious driving in the country because these birds are reluctant to leave their meal once they found it alongside the roadway and I don’t want them flying up and into my vehicle when I pass by. These creatures would probably turn their heads and wonder why these two-legged creatures haven’t been doing this previously.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Turkey vultures find their meal interrupted as a car approaches their road kill dinner in rural Cherokee County and near Quimby, Iowa Monday, July 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Day Out in Siouxland, Snyder’s Bend Park, Woodbury County

16 Aug

Enjoying a walk with a friend at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) 

It’s always nice to get out and enjoy fresh air and a little exercise in Siouxland, and summertime is perfect for that. The outdoors can offer difference experiences to those who pursue them. No matter the age.

Making a catch at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) 

And enjoying oneself should not only be relegated to humans. Four legged friends also should enjoy themselves and then sharing that experience after the fact.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying a dip in the water at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sharing with friends after a little dip at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sharing with friends after a little dip at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursday, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) 

Missing Friends in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

14 Aug

 

One could almost hear hear this gorilla asking if closing time is near while visitors try to get its attention at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It would probably be an understatement that during this pandemic that people miss seeing their friends, even here in Siouxland. I read a recent feature story in a Nebraska newspaper where a zoo official said that while the zoo itself has been impacted with layoffs and less revenue coming in because of it like other businesses was shut down a number of months, this zoo official also thought some of the animals had missed seeing their human friends.

Two young boys get a closer look at one of the gorillas in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An orangutan rests in its exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most people have had a pet in their life at one time or another, either as a child or later in adulthood. Or if not, certainly a friend. And while folk gov overboard at times for their pets, they each fill a space in one’s life that most people can appreciate. I would guess the same is true of animals at the zoo. Seeing hundreds, probably thousands of people pass by their exhibits. Some times when I have visited the zoo previously the gorillas seem distant or even a little annoyed at their human cousins by turning their backs to them and even hiding out of view of the windows there for people to see through. People staring, making gestures and of course trying to capture that perfect selfie.

Children check out a gorilla in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Maybe showing off a bit as this gorilla relaxes in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A gorilla checks out visitors during a family day in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This time I found most all of the gorillas interacting, as much as that is possible, with the humans passing through the exhibit. Some even showing off a bit as they lolled about in their enclosure, sometimes feigning awareness but warily watching. Although some, mothers in particular, kept trying to find someplace away from prying eyes as it fed its young, moving the little guy to different locations but not avoiding those damn tourists. And there were a number of young gorillas in and about the enclosure which also drew people’s attention as they watched them behave like any child.

A mother gives her child an close encounter with a gorilla in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

No privacy blankets for this mother trying to feed her young in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Although I did spy what I thought was an unusual addition to the exhibit as personnel did a little house cleaning. Also ignoring those prying visitors’ eyes as she went about her work.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A different species does a little house cleaning in the gorilla valley exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An entry point into the gorilla valley at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Steady Steed in Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

28 Jul

A horse chases away flies on a humid summer’s day in a field in rural Plymouth County, Iowa Monday, July 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days in Siouxland, like other places, are better than others. It all depends on the story. A horse standing at the top of a hill pawing the ground, bobbing its head as though it were Pegasus ready to leap skyward and fly to the heavens. But upon closer inspection, the poor beast is standing in a meadow besieged by flies and so it prances about trying to chase the little buggers away so it can have a few moments of peace. Paul Harvey said a lot when he used it now oft quoted tagline, “….the rest of the story.”

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Even the Birdies in Siouxland like a Cool Day, Decatur, NE

28 Jun

After living a few years in the state or Louisiana and eventually returning to the Midwest after a couple more stops during my work career I can say I am not a big fan of hot summer days and the humidity that comes with it.

A robin sits on a fence in a park on a hot day in Decatur, NE Monday, June 15, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While visiting Decatur, NE recently walking in the town’s park along the Missouri River I spied a robin sitting on a fence post as I approached a path and noticed its reluctance in taking flight. I guessed that even birds don’t always enjoy hot, muggy days and so I skirted the path a bit so as not to disturb the bird and then watched as it also seemed to relish a fresh breeze blowing, a short lived reprieve from the hot day. But sometimes any small favors are something to savor.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A robin sits still on a fence and enjoys the breeze on a hot day in a park in Decatur, NE Monday, June 15, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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