Tag Archives: wildlife management area

Experiencing a Drought in Siouxland, Badger Lake Wildlife Management Area, rural Monona County

10 Oct

Birds flying “erratically” looking for insects gives thought of WWI air to air dog fights seen at the Wildlife Management Area, Badger Lake near Whiting, Iowa Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This region of Siouxland has and is currently is in a state of either severe or extreme drought according to state personnel tracking such phenomena and it doesn’t look likely that it will pass anytime soon. Recently I revisited a wildlife management area, Badger Lake, in rural Monona County and saw what wetlands had been there previously has disappeared. Climate change does have its ebbs and flows, but it seems the lack of rainfall and snowfall during the various months will begin to affect the region if water is not forthcoming is a more timely manner. And the former small lake is now completely filled in with plants.

An area filled with water one to two years ago is now a “sea” of green at the Wildlife Management Area, Badger Lake near Whiting, Iowa Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

American White Pelicans rest late in the afternoon at Badger Lake Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An area filled with water one to two years ago is now a “sea” of green at the Wildlife Management Area, Badger Lake near Whiting, Iowa Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The sun rises over Badger Lake Wildlife Refuge in Monona County, Tuesday Oct. 19, 2021, near Whiting, IA. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While out looking for harvest photos for an agency I occasionally photograph for this year seems again hard on those crops being harvested, mainly soybeans and corn. It seems the last few years the crops harvested have been above average, already getting timely rain to sustain them and let them mature.

However, the amount of rainfall to sustain such agriculture is not forthcoming. The timely rains help the current crop(s) but does nothing to alleviate the drought threat. So going forward the ground water level becomes less where it is found further down, below where these kinds of crops can reach. The drought also affects migrating bird species as there is less places for them to stop and rest and find the kind of nourishment needed to sustain their long journey. Although locally, various birds were zipping about frantically catching gnats and other morsels they seemed to enjoy. However, my attempted at showing these small wonders was challenged as they moved so quickly and blended so well into the background.

So this winter, as predicted to be brutally cold and extreme in its own right, will say a lot whether there is large amounts of snowfall that will help alleviate the water problems going forward.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An area filled with water one to two years ago is now a “sea” of green at the Wildlife Management Area, Badger Lake near Whiting, Iowa Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Birds flying “erratically” looking for insects gives thought of WWI air to air dog fights seen at the Wildlife Management Area, Badger Lake near Whiting, Iowa Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Birds flying “erratically” looking for insects gives thought of WWI air to air dog fights seen at the Wildlife Management Area, Badger Lake near Whiting, Iowa Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Migrating American white Pelicans herd fish to feed while others rest in a body of water near Badger Lake Wildlife Management Area in rural Monona County near Sloan, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. Some folk think migration periods might vary this year to changing climate temperatures in various regions where the birds winter and summer during the year. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Migrating American white Pelicans herd fish to feed while others rest in a body of water near Badger Lake Wildlife Management Area in rural Monona County near Sloan, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. Some folk think migration periods might vary this year to changing climate temperatures in various regions where the birds winter and summer during the year. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, Wildlife Management Area in Rural Woodbury County

6 Oct

A blooming water lily at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area off of Hwy K-25 Wednesday, July 13, 2022 near Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days when I head out into Siouxland I have no destination in mind, but just hope I might come across something that might make a decent image and a chance to visit an area I have not been to previously. A wildlife management area off a county road I have driven numerous times was such an unexpected opportunity. Nothing fancy, a short trail and a creek. But it was quiet, and once I arrived, critters were about just enjoying their summer’s day while mindful of a visitor, but not overly concerned.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A young Redwing Blackbird looks about perched atop a small tree at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Snyder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A turkey and its chicks wander about until seeing a visitor at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Snyder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Turkey chicks seem puzzled after their mother moved into higher weeds (at right) after seeing a visitor at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Snyder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Turkey chicks seemed puzzled after their mother moved into higher weeds (at right) after seeing a visitor at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Snyder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Still Day in Siouxland, Wildlife Management Area, Salix

29 Aug

A water lily on a still pond at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Snyder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes a quiet, still day is a pleasant day in Siouxland. Enjoying the outdoors, on a cooler day with the hopes of seeing some wildlife but not really knowing what to expect. There are the days when one must look a bit more to see the beauty in the vastness, which might be one unique lily pad among the many.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Content or Quality in Siouxland, rural Woodbury County

7 Aug

A momma raccoon looks for food possibilities under some water lilies at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes while out shooting in Siouxland I come across situations where I weigh the idea of capturing an image and its content versus the quality of what that image may be because of the shooting situation. Working for newspapers for so many years has taught me that most times a photographic situation may not be ideal. And I still find that to be true. In those newspapering days I was shooting TriX and sometimes one might “pull” the processing to flatten out high contrast situations in bright sunlight, or a mixture of bright sunlight and deep shade. And TriX was rated at 400ASA.

A momma raccoon looks for food possibilities under some water lilies at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A baby raccoon follows its momma as it looks for food possibilities under some water lilies at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I was exploring a wildlife management area new to me that I had not walked before. And I came across a creek and small pond. I was watching birds fly about when I noticed movement along a bank. Naturally the pond and creek were 4 to 5 feet below me and when I spotted the raccoon through tall grass and lily ponds I thought I would try my luck. I find photographing animals always a challenge. And the raccoon didn’t seem to have noticed me. It wasn’t until I had been shooting a bit trying to focus through the tall grass and into the shade that I realized the bigger raccoon had company. A couple of babies tagging along behind as they hunted for a meal.

Two baby raccoons follow their momma as it looks for food possibilities under some water lilies at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A baby raccoon follows its momma as it looks for food possibilities under some water lilies at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A momma raccoon looks for food possibilities under some water lilies with a baby close by at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The one little guy/gal hugged his momma’s tale and made it hard to distinguish one from the other until I got home and started editing my files. Most times when I see an animal and it doesn’t seem to be aware of me I pretty freeze in place, barely moving a foot unless to make certain I am rooted in spot so I don’t go tipping over as I look through the viewfinder. And trying to keep track of the head in deep shade and focus at the same time was a challenge.

So then later it becomes the balance of sharing images that may not be stellar technically but have some value for the content. Images of raccoons are not at the top of the Fujita scale if one is measuring intensity and dynamic content. So I guess it’s more of the challenge to be able to produce images under less than ideal conditions and still tell somewhat of a photographic story. The raccoons trailed off, pun intended, away from me still looking for food and I enjoyed watching nature having a day out with the kids.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A baby raccoon gets wet following its momma as it looks for food possibilities under some water lilies at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A water lily pond at a Woodbury County Wildlife Management area near Synder Bend Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 south of Salix, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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