Tag Archives: shore birds

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©)

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©)

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

12 Jul
A Lesser Yellowlegs poses as it hunts for a meal at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a jaunt to Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is always a nice way to start one’s day. Of course that is after having a couple cups of coffee to jump start the day. I am finding one needs to be an early riser to find nature’s creatures a bit more active as they hunt for their morning and mid-morning nourishment. For the shore birds, they sometimes do this just underneath a bird blind that the preserve has put in place in numerous places along Mud Lake for visitors to enjoy the residents and passers through.

A Canada goose informs a visitor that the bird blind is currently occupied at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A Redwing blackbird makes some noise on a perch at Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Two Lesser Yellowlegs look for food in Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I try to improve my photography of nature it’s nice, and convenient, to have willing subjects, as long as they are not too aware of one’s presence. Hence the bird blinds. I know I will not be traveling to far flung places on the earth like Africa, Peru or even the Rocky Mountains to photograph animals in the wild. But will be content with the “local wild creatures” I have nearby at preserves and parks and do the best I can to capture them in motion. Not a bad way to spend a morning.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

American white pelicans slowly circle overhead at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A wood duck floats in Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A Lesser Yellowlegs hunts for a meal at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
An Eastern Kingfisher studies its surroundings from a tree branch overhanging Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Cruising in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

19 May
A muskrat nibbles on a snack at Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a few places in Siouxland one can go to and watch nature. Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is just a few minutes north by vehicle and most days affords one an opportunity to watch and photograph nature unfolding, with creatures cruising the park. There are a few blinds set up along one of the small lakes found there that water fowl, shore birds and other creatures frequent.

A muskrat tries to slip away after being seen by a visitor at Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A friend who is a avid birder generally arrives pre sunrise to see as many species and identify them for a local club. I admire his determination to get out early and enjoy the sunrise and day’s activities beginning. I on the other hand need some caffeine to get my day started a wee bit after sunrise.

And then there are those creatures who value their privacy, and when spotted by the occasional visitor leave before one has a chance to see what they are doing. Evidently shy by nature, and probably with good reason, fleeting glimpses are all one sometimes gets before realizing what it was that one saw.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A muskrat makes its way to to the other side of Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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