Tag Archives: travel

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©)

Celebrating Film in Siouxland, Prairie Grass Film Challenge, Dordt University

27 Feb

Attendees watch one of the entries in a screening room prior to the awards ceremony for the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In today’s world, there is a proliferation of media. Video and stills. Everywhere. As a photographer, I somewhat thrive on seeing images and for the most part enjoy them. People’s tastes runs the gamut. Depending on one’s point of view there is “good” and “bad” art, video and photography. Individuals pursue what interests them and where their tastes lie.

Every year in Siouxland at Dordt Universtiy there has been a 48-hour film challenge, the Prairie Grass Film Challenge. Individuals and teams come up with and create a film within the specified time period and then compete at this private Christian college in northwest Iowa. The films need to be family friendly but do push the boundary as each, as people are, have an individual opinion of what is friendly. And winners for this year’s competition just recently were announced.

One film crew entry pose on “The Red Carpet” prior to the awards ceremony for the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The films are produced by high school, college and post college individuals. All maybe reflecting a generational outlook through their individual films, and most certainly have a point of view and moral component to the pieces. Attending the awards ceremony (which is also live streamed to competing teams from around the country) held at the small university one can feel the excitement for these folk as much as directors, producers and actors attending the Oscars and receiving awards and recognition for their work.

Teammates for a film entry react after winning first place in their division during the awards ceremony at the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Presenters react as they watch one attendee show off his Superman shirt under his street clothes mimicking a recurring theme for this year’s entries which involved superheroes during the awards ceremony at the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Twenty-five teams made the final cut of the competition that were judged and then four films were selected for best of in three categories with a fourth winner judged best of show. It’s fun to watch these folk enthusiasm and see their creativity put to the test, or not. Prior to the awards ceremony the film are screened in rooms around campus for people to view a few of them before finding out the winner. It’s a fun night, except for the cold weather and sometimes snowy conditions, and a chance for people to begin an adventure in film that may continue or compete in a venue their find worthy of their own involvement with similar values. As with everything, you get out of the experience what you put into it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Dordt University jazz band performs prior to the start of the awards ceremony for the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Members of a film crew ham it up on “The Red Carpet” prior to the awards ceremony at the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An audience member dressed up as a bee patiently waits for the awards ceremony for the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Mark Volkers, left, and Bob Pollema, right, emcee at the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 awards ceremony at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

History surrounds Siouxland, Fort Omaha, Omaha, NE

21 Feb

A former departmental headquarters of historic Fort Omaha in the late 1800’s, now the Metropolitan Community College media and library center, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Siouxland region and parts surrounding Siouxland are steeped in history. As hard as it is to remember sometimes that Iowa, Nebraska, both Dakotas and other midwest and western states were at one time open territory and prairie before the land rush that brought settlers and others who “tamed the land”. Previously populated by Native American Tribes that followed the buffalo and other seasonal practices involving roaming a large swatch of land.

A sign post with history about historic Fort Omaha, now the Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A large part of the college is still open as it was during the days the fort was in use, primarily as parade grounds or muster grounds for troops located or passing through to other outposts.

History of the Omaha barracks and parade grounds at historic Fort Omaha, now the Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The parade grounds at historic Fort Omaha, now the Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As warmer weather approaches it will be nice to be able to spend more time learning about area history as opposed to rushing back to a warm vehicle out of the cold. And seeing what other gems are about Siouxland.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Part of the parade grounds at historic Fort Omaha, now the Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Greener Pastures in Siouxland, Rural Buena Vista County

19 Feb

Cruising in rural Monona County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

in rural Buena Vista County, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes while out driving in Siouxland in nicer weather I never know who I might see off the beaten path. More likely a critter of some sort. And I am glad when driving backroads I am moving slowly enough to be able to brake and then get one or two photographs made before the elusive creatures vanish.

Planted crops on a summer’s day in rural Monona County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Cornfields and woods near corn and soybean fields can be an ideal spot to find nature hanging out and I feel lucky when I can both enjoy and photograph the scene at the same time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Learning History in Siouxland, Winnebago, NE

11 Feb

The Clans Sculpture Garden in HoChunk Village in Winnebago, NE Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. The twelve clans include the buffalo clan, eagle clan, water spirit clan, thunder clan, snake clan, hawk clan, fish clan, pigeon clan, deer clan, elk clan and wolf clan (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I don’t think I will ever tire of learning about history. And more importantly history that occurs here in Siouxland. Sometimes it does take a little effort to seek it out and spend some time learning, but I always think in the end it’s time well spent.

The clan sculpture garden in Winnebago, NE gives a visitor a glimpse of the Winnebago Tribe what originates and still resides in Wisconsin but because of abuse at the ends of the federal government “liberating” lands for the movement of white settlers, part of the tribe was relocated to Nebraska.

The Clans Sculpture Garden in HoChunk Village in Winnebago, NE Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. The twelve clans include the buffalo clan, eagle clan, water spirit clan, thunder clan, snake clan, hawk clan, fish clan, pigeon clan, deer clan, elk clan and wolf clan (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Clans Sculpture Garden in HoChunk Village in Winnebago, NE Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. The twelve clans include the buffalo clan, eagle clan, water spirit clan, thunder clan, snake clan, hawk clan, fish clan, pigeon clan, deer clan, elk clan and wolf clan (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Clans Sculpture Garden in HoChunk Village in Winnebago, NE Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. The twelve clans include the buffalo clan, eagle clan, water spirit clan, thunder clan, snake clan, hawk clan, fish clan, pigeon clan, deer clan, elk clan and wolf clan (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The sculpture garden has one piece for each clan and plaques that explain what is represented and representative of each.

in Winnebago, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Clans Sculpture Garden in HoChunk Village in Winnebago, NE Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. The twelve clans include the buffalo clan, eagle clan, water spirit clan, thunder clan, snake clan, hawk clan, fish clan, pigeon clan, deer clan, elk clan and wolf clan (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It is a bit of a hidden gem but worth the time to stop and learn and appreciate. History never lies, it’s just how its told by individuals that spin it to put forth their own “truth” or shades there of about it. Other agendas by people who generally do not want the truth known, or prefer to skirt because of interests that belie what is real and what becomes myth.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

in Winnebago, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Clans Sculpture Garden in HoChunk Village in Winnebago, NE Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. The twelve clans include the buffalo clan, eagle clan, water spirit clan, thunder clan, snake clan, hawk clan, fish clan, pigeon clan, deer clan, elk clan and wolf clan (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Cruising Siouxland, Buena Vista county

7 Feb

Driving in rural Buena Vista County, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I think it’s never too early to think about getting out and cruising through Siouxland, looking to see what is just beyond the bend and what new friends one might make while out and about.

A quiet scene in rural Buena Vista County, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I never tire of seeing vistas, although I am sure the ones in Iowa pale in comparison to those west and east where mountains provide a different kind of view but at least here I know I won’t get a nose bleed from altitude.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A hilltop view in rural Buena Vista County, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Grassland and forest in rural Buena Vista County, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Extremes in Siouxland and Waiting, Iowa and Nebraska Scenes

5 Feb

Living in the Siouxland region means that residents can experience extremes in weather. Generally not all at once, but with each season comes that particular weather pattern. Personally I like fall and parts of early summer before the very hot and humid settles in. It’s just nice to be out and about.

around Preparation Canyon State Park located near Moorhead, Iowa Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But along comes winter bringing its own weather taste and while I would prefer a longer lasting fall and shorter winter, I know at least that eventually one will go and another will arrive. As the saying goes, “Just wait a minute…….”

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A winter scene near Winnebago, NE Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

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