Tag Archives: DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge

Birding is not for the Weak in Siouxland, DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, Correctionville

14 Mar

Recently I went with some friends to the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge in Siouxland near Missouri Valley. It’s a way stop for a variety of migratory birds that pass through the area during the fall and spring months. Recently bald eagles have been passing through and one couple are nesting across the Missouri River from a bird blind at the park which give people an opportunity to see them.

A bald eagle nesting in a tree along the Missouri River at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bald eagle sits atop a tree at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have not a “nature” or wildlife photographer. Although I like seeing the birds. It’s just impressive. And my poor attempt at capturing images pales severely with many wonderful photos I have seen of these birds in flight, swooping and catching fish out of a river or soaring overhead. And I can’t say I don’t have nice gear to capture such scenes, but we can’t be great in all our endeavors, but it doesn’t mean one can not enjoy being out in warmer temperatures and seeing nature and such majestic birds.

An immature bald eagle sits atop a tree at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A number of bald eagles sit atop trees across from the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But I did kind of catch the “I got to get me a better bald eagle photo” bug and went out again looking and found one along the Little Sioux River near Correctionville. It helps that the sun was shining brightly off and on and I saw the “white cap” before I actually recognized the bird. It was soaring and swooping and checking out the river looking for a meal. Above the tree line and then lost below the tree line as it skimmed the river. I also wasn’t the only spectator watching this bird do its aerial thing. Two onlookers perched on a high line wire were also watching along with some close friends and relatives nearby. They didn’t leave their perches until the eagle flew away looking for another spot along the river then they went out and did their own aerial stunts, but much closer to the tree tops, guessing they wanted to be near something to duck into in case big brother returned.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An eagle sits in a tree top overlooking the Little Sioux River looking for a meal Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An eagle soars over the Little Sioux River looking for a meal Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Two pigeons watch from a high line wire as an eagle soars over the Little Sioux River looking for a meal Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting a refuge in Siouxland, the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge

15 Aug

On a nice cool fall day the outside benches are an ideal place to sit and enjoy the quiet at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summertime in Siouxland is not always the best time to visit the DeSoto National Wildlife refuge. The migration of waterfowl and other birds has not yet begun and so they may not be a lot to see while visiting on a humid summer day. But maybe that’s the point and a person can spend more time checking out other displays at the welcome center and learning more about the area and the nature it contains. While there this summer I heard a few smaller birds sitting in trees and saw some turtles resting on logs in the water, but pickings were slim and the day much too hot and humid to spend much time enjoying the refuge’s trails.

A viewing gallery inside the Welcome Center at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge allows visitors to look for and observe waterfowl during a visit, situated along the Missouri River and near Missouri Valley, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

What looks like a momma or pappa turtle and a younger one bask on a log at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Informational displays help explain life along the Missouri River and wetlands that existed in the area around the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Checking out the displays inside the welcome center was something I had not completely finished on an earlier a visit a year or two ago. Then I was more interested in seeing the migrating birds and trying to photograph them from inside and outside the center. But some of the displays, while brief, give nice details about the history of the area and what life was like previously besides having a nice quiet moment, as they were no others there at the time and thinking about the upcoming migration of birds once again completing their life cycle on a yearly basis.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Display signs showing various raptors help visitors identify what they may see along the water from inside a viewing gallery inside the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Native plants greet visitors entering the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Welcome Center near Missouri Valley, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge

17 Jan

Last fall while heading to southern Siouxland I stopped in at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge which actually straddles two states, Iowa and Nebraska, and did a short hike in nice weather, but limited area because of the migratory waterfowl movement in preparation for winter. It’s a nice place to spend a day, or even half a day. it also houses historical information about river movement during the early territorial times when people and goods moved upriver to the outer reaches of the early westward expansion of the U.S.

A raptor keeping watch for lunch along an inlet from the Missouri River at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A trail map of the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

There are a few exhibits within the learning or welcome center with staff there to assist one. And local area schools visit to learn more about their area and local history and the early pioneers.

A local school group visits the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge and play games that relate to animals found near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Exhibits abound at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge welcome center near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

But the attraction really is watching migratory birds that pass through, resting on their yearly trips and exploring the area through various trails that are easily accessible.

A walking trail makes its way through the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Trails traverse wooded areas at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A view out of a window at the welcome center at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge show resting geese near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

It’s a good place to get away from the stresses of the world, commune with nature as it were and just enjoy some peace and quiet.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Learning History in Siouxland, about The Bertrand, DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge

20 Dec

This fall I made my first visit to the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge in Siouxland near Missouri Valley which actually straddles two states, Iowa and Nebraska, on either side of the Missouri River.

Besides information and space dedicated to wildlife and migrating birds, the refuge also had an exhibit about an excavated sternwheeler boat, The Bertrand.

Information about the steamboat Bertrand and its history and recovery at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A replica of the steamboat Bertrand on display with recovered artifacts at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

According to information on site The Bertrand was just an ordinary boat hauling supplies northward up the Missouri River from St. Louis to the Montana territory during the mid-1860’s, got stuck in the river and sank. No one was killed. And many boats wrecked in the river during the 1800’s as they carried supplies north into new territory. Much later in the 1980’s two Nebraskans decided to find the ship and excavate items on board at the time of the ship’s sinking, which was basically everyday items people in the 1800’s were using as they went about their everyday chores.

Recovered artifacts from the steamboat Bertrand which sank in the Missouri River in the 1800’s at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Recovered artifacts from the steamboat Bertrand, a supply boat with passengers, which sank in the Missouri River in the 1800’s at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

It’s a fascinating exhibit and gives a really good look into life at that point in history. I always find int refreshing when I can learn something new about an area I am living in or near, and understand more about what earlier settlers’ lives entailed.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

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