Archive | Nature RSS feed for this section

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, Rural Nebraska

31 May

A Turkey Vulture stretches its wings as it surveys its surrounding from a high tree top near Winnebago, NE, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am always delighted while driving about Siouxland when I get to watch nature in action, or inaction as the case may be. This particular turkey vulture seemed content to sit high in a tree and air out its feathers one morning this spring. Not in a hurry or any place in particular to go.

A turkey vulture stretches its wings sitting high in a tree as it surveys its surroundings near Winnebago, NE, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Maybe something to that attitude toward life as we humans are always rushing from one thing to another, hell bent for leather as the saying goes and with a purpose. Exactly what that purpose is seems important at the time, but over time it seems to fade and I sometimes scratch my head why I was in a hurry to “get there” in the first place.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A turkey vulture circles overhead near Winnebago, NE, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Peeking Outside in Siouxland, Hitchcock Nature Center

27 May

The downtown area of the city of Omaha, NE can seen from an observation desk at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy visiting the Hitchcock Nature Center in southern Siouxland, especially its tower next to the nature center. The view allows one to see downtown Omaha, NE across the Missouri River and other areas as well. Normally during midweek there is not a lot of people. This particular day was in February of this year as the COVID-19 situation was beginning to ramp up and the weather was warmish for a February day.

People hike along a trail at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it is just nice to go outdoors and being there.  No agenda, no excessive hiking, just observing and enjoying the moment, photographically speaking anyway. As the weather finally begins to warm up even though it is already May, I look forward to some more outdoor forays and just spending time in the fresh air and sunlight, and hopefully sunshine.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Smoke rises from might be a controlled burn near the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Backyard Neighbors in Siouxland, Sioux City

23 May

A cardinal eats a seed while visiting a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Life in Siouxland like in many places is running at a much slower pace these days. While I can’t say I am bored because I get the occasional visits from some animal neighbors who drop by, sound off a greeting, and then continue on their way. These days with sunrises earlier and sunsets later, I miss some of these friends as they tend to be earlier risers than I am.

A red-bellied woodpecker looks for a snack in a backyard Sunday, March 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A squirrel peeks out a feeder to see if the it’s safe to leave in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It has been and will continue to be fun watching these critters now that I am more fully aware that they come and visit. It’s funny the things one might see while traveling at a speed less than warp.

A starling sits on a line in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Hairy woodpecker sits in a tree in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, March 30, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And as the weather continues to warm and be nice with only the occasional rain showers I hope my neighbors continue to spend some time in the neighborhood.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sudden breeze ruffles feathers on a robin in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, April 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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

19 May

A Cooper’s Hawk around its nest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday, April 9, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spending time outdoors in Siouxland that is devoid of people has been a bit of a blessing in that I am seeing, or rather, paying more attention to nature around me when I am out. Not in a hurry to be anywhere, I sit and watch and have been pleasantly surprised.

A Cooper’s Hawk sits atop its nest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday, April 9, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I tend to go places early and generally during the week, avoiding crowds at nature preserves and parks for the most part, although sometimes it just doesn’t matter. When it’s all said and done, I hope people will appreciate what there is rather than what they no longer have or have missed. But knowing human nature, that’s unlikely. Animals use what they need and call it good. Humanity just isn’t built the same way.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Cooper’s Hawk around its nest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday, April 9, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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

15 May

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Visitor Center Friday, May 8, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During the coronavirus pandemic that is gripping the Siouxland region as well as the world really, I haven’t been venturing out as much around Siouxland except for visiting the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve. Like in most places, parks in the area are still open and the Nature Preserve has trails for people to walk about and blinds to bird watch.

A Northern Shoveler duck watches its friends at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 8, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And so I spend more time observing nature in the “wild” or as wild as it gets at Adams. Recently I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple pair of Canadian geese out one morning with their goslings in tow, swimming about Mud Lake and as the saying goes, “getting their feet wet”.

A Canadian goose and its goslings out for a swim at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 8, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Canadian geese and their goslings out for a swim at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 8, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

They were taking advantage I believe of the state of South Dakota’s governor’s newest order for relaxation of distancing and for life to getting back to normal. But then again, they may be oblivious to this blight that is affecting their human counterparts or taking pity on them, and showing off their family to us less fortunate and helping us enjoy our time and reconnecting with nature.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Heading home after a morning swim two Canadian parents and their goslings at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 8, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out of Siouxland, Lee Simmons Safari Park, Ashland, NE

13 May

Venturing out to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out of Siouxland in recent weeks has not been totally difficult as in many places around the country, but still done with a little trepidation and awareness. On a weekend, which I don’t know what possessed me as opposed doing this during the week, I took a drive out west past Omaha, NE to visit the Lee Simmons Safari Park in Ashland, an offshoot of the Henry Doorly Zoo. It was a nice weekend and many other folk had the same idea. Normally at this park folk can park and stay and watch the animals there, but because of the coronavirus the park is currently only allowing drive through visitation.

Venturing out to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors in vehicles snake their way past a herd of bison at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On my way out of the park I asked one of the attending park personnel how many people had visited and he responded he didn’t know the total, but roughly there were 400 vehicles every hour entering. I later told friends I had not seen this kind of bumper to bumper traffic since living in the Los Angeles area in the 1990’s. But still, people were patient and gracious, giving everyone a chance to stop and watch and photograph animals as we all snaked our way through the acreage.

Pelicans relax at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Venturing out to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a variety of animals, although not as much as at the zoo proper. And on this particular day the animals seemed to cooperate and allow a look at a large number of people adjusting to a different way of spending leisure time.

Kids stick their head out of the top of a vehicle to better see animals at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Children poke their heads out of a sunroof and door window to better see the bison at a pond at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bald eagle in an aviary enclosure at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parts of Nebraska are beginning a soft reopening. Time will tell how that is going. Venturing out is desirable, but staying healthy has a stronger pull to walking about and into who knows what. Maybe some road trips onto the backroads of Iowa and Nebraska, just to take a look and see what one should visit again when the coast is clear.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A pelican “waves” at visitors driving through  the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Animals roam free at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying a drive through at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Animals relax as people driver through the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Signage directs visitors to see the animals and find other places at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park, a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Ashland, NE Saturday April 18, 2020,(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out in Siouxland as Temperatures rise, DeSoto

11 May

Getting out and enjoying oneself at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It is nice that there are a few nature preserves in and around and nearby in Siouxland where one can venture out and safely respect other people’s space while all enjoying the outdoors at temperatures now permit. And getting watch nature in its own natural habitat is always a plus.

Enjoying nature at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It still seems with the extended cool weather that is now slowly warming up that spring has taken a while to arrive and for the region to start showing some greenery to brighten up a brown and dismal looking landscape.

Spring arrival at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And folk can begin wandering about and finding spots to pursue their own recreation and see what luck they have in catching some dinner. When I fished as a child, it was always feast or famine. And just glad I didn’t have to depend on what I caught when I got home for supper.

Getting out and enjoying oneself at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And glad there was always one parent around to make certain the young ones were fed and tended too, just like in nature.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Eagle watching at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

%d bloggers like this: