Tag Archives: eagles

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri Valley

1 Jan
A large flock of ducks lift up off of the Missouri River at the DeSoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With changing seasons it’s always enjoyable to go to the DeSoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley to watch the migration of birds. Mainly ducks, geese and some others. Probably more that I don’t recognize. So it’s always a lucky thing to meet an actual “birder” who will sometimes point out species they are excited to see.

Ducks are seen on the shoreline of the Missouri River from a blind at the DeSoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
An eagle sits atop a tree at another location still along the Missouri River at the DeSoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Depending on weather one can sometimes find a lot of people or few. Because of the drive time to the refuge I always tend to hit mid-morning which doesn’t find a lot of folk rummaging about yet until later in the day. Unless it’s a really, really special occasion, I never rise before the sun to get there at first light. I realize I am missing photographic opportunities but I like being fully awake while getting to the park. And it seems it’s not until noon or early afternoon that people start showing up in numbers so it’s easy to get about and social distance. Plus, if I don’t see everything at that time, and one doesn’t as various birds continue to migrate on their time table, it gives me another reason to make another trip.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bicyclist makes his way down a paved road at the DeSoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An eagle sits atop a tree across the Missouri River at the DeSoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Drive through rural Siouxland, Harrison County

30 Nov
Sometimes vehicle sunroofs can be beneficial when bird spotting like in rural Harrison County near Magnolia, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was nice to get out on a recent weekend to drive about rural Iowa in Siouxland without extreme cold or snowy conditions on the backroads and Loess Hills byways. I enjoy driving through the scenic areas skirting the footballs of what is known as the Loess Hills in Iowa that stretches down into the southwest portion of Iowa.

A gravel road traversing the byways in rural Harrison County near Magnolia, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular stretch of road and the general direction I was headed kept me driving through hilly areas most of which are wooded and will be necessary to check out come next fall. Coming across various rural scenes and sightings was rewarding and fun. I never drive very fast on the backroads allowing drivers with more “pressing matters” the opportunity to go around me as I look for subjects of interest to point my camera at.

Although at first hard to see, two deer find a lunch time meal in a newly harvested corn field in rural Harrison County near Magnolia, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A rural scene in Harrison County near Magnolia, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While the pace of being in the country really isn’t all that less frenetic as city dwellers, it does give one a chance to pause, look around, enjoy the beauty of the countryside if that appeals to a person. Some folk may find that really, really boring, but for others it is that slice of heaven. Time flies by fast enough until one realizes it has, and wonders how that happened. So slow drives on a weekend may not stop time or even slow it down, but I can personally can make an effort to enjoy it for what it is for myself and forgot about other crazy stuff happening in the world around me for a little while.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spotting an eagle sitting in a tree over a gravel road in rural Harrison County near Magnolia, Iowa Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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©)

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