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Taking in the View in Siouxland, Mulberry Bend, Newcastle, NE

18 Sep

Looking at the South Dakota side of the Missouri River seen from the Mulberry Bend Overlook in Nebraska along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

For being part of the Midwest and flyover country, the Siouxland area has some nice rolling hills and hilltops that make for nice viewing or the surrounding countryside. The Mulberry Bend Overlook, part of the Missouri National Recreational River corridor gives one such a view. Recently a make over was done to the park and so it’s been closed for about a year. To me it doesn’t seem to have changed much, although I believe some changes were done to make it more accessible to those physically challenged. The views though are still impressive.

American While Pelicans hang out on a sandbar in the Missouri River seen from the Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A view of the Missrouri River seen from a trail at the Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An overlook from a trail at the Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a couple of trails out from the overlook allowing a different view of the Missouri River and a pleasant walk for the most part, plus some seating to sit and enjoy, as long as the bugs are not too intrusive at the time one chooses to visit. Hot, humid and very muggy days are not ideal. But it’s a nice place to get away, and hopefully fall will provide some nice scenic looks as the leaves change color before falling as the winter months approach.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A platform viewing area over looking the Missouri River that is also disabled accessible at the Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

New signs along trails help hikers know where they are at at Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A second overlook off of a trail at the Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A ridge trail leading back to the parking lot for Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

at Mulberry Bend Overlook along the Missouri National Recreational River area Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Newcastle, NE (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Buzzing About on a Summer’s Eve in Siouxland, Spirit Mound, Vermillion, SD

14 Sep

A bee buzzes around a backlit sunflower plant at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a recent trip to South Dakota and a visit to Spirit Mound, I liked the lighting that was occurring around some sunflower plants. Early enough in the morning for some directional light before the light turns flat when it reaches its zenith in the sky around noon. Plus the heat and humidity didn’t kick in until later as well.

Backlit plants at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A backlit sunflower plant at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy the light when it creates a better photographic image and gives a photo a bit more “personality”. And during summer months, early morning and late afternoon, early evening are generally the better times to be out photographing. But sometimes the ideal time might not be a good time depending on one’s schedule.

The bonus this time though was finding an apis mellifera flying about and securing a bit more substance before summer is gone. Although I must admit, I didn’t see the creature until editing images later when looking on a larger screen than the camera’s viewfinder.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bee buzzes around a backlit sunflower plant at Spirit Mound Saturday, July 23, 2022 near Vermillion, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating 25 years in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve North Sioux City, SD

12 Sep

Working with quill ink pens is not as easy as it looks seen at the one-room school house during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently a local park in Siouxland celebrated 25 years as a park, or nature preserve, and previously was a working farm. The park consists of roughly 1,500 acres and was donated by the granddaughters of the original homesteader, Stephen Adams. Mary and Maude Adams donated the land in 1984 for people to have a place to go for inner renewal. Part of the park is located along the Missouri River and contains a cottonwood grove and other forested areas as well as prairie meadows both of which are teeming with nature and critters.

A threshing bee demonstration during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Threshing demonstration during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Meeting some of the farm animals during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The park has certainly evolved over this quarter of a century from the homestead , farming and “wild” acreage to a more managed park-like area that still fits the original idea of the granddaughters, but makes it more manageable for park personnel and those that enjoy their time there.

There are now many more manicured walking trails and prairie areas that have been added for the enjoyment of those who venture beyond the homestead. Many bicyclists and runners do, as do some hardy hikers.

Two deer cautiously watch a walker during early morning hours at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday April 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Turkeys on parade at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday April 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What might be a chipping sparrow sits on a log in water looking for insects at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday April 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A number of people attended the day’s celebration to support the park and enjoy a nice day. Although predicted to be hot and muggy, clouds moved in and the humidity tamped down making it a more pleasant day. One sometimes can’t ask for more than that.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Hayrack rides during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Kid crafts during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Kids learn candle making during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mom helps out during a kid’s craft session during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A rope making demonstration during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Park manager Jody Moats and Dave Blaeser during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Deer in “Headlights”, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

25 Jul

A deer and turkey spy a passer-by in a meadow area at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, July 05, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I do get out and walk about Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in Siouxland I sometimes get lucky and find deer, stopped in their tracks, and watching me, as I walk on a trail. Never having really hunted anything more than sparrows when a kid with a BB gun I could never sit still very long and would have been lousy waiting for animals to appear and then take advantage of and shoot them. My dad always told me that if I killed a deer, I was on my own skinning it. And I really had no desire to shoot one. Watching them traverse in a field or meadow or woods is enjoyment that I like. The bonus is being able to photograph them at a close enough range, most of the time, to actually see some detail.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A deer makes its way across a meadow area at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, July 05, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With its fawn not far away, a white-tailed deer watches a visitor using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A white-tailed deer watches a visitor using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A white-tailed deer watches a visitor using a walking trail while its fawn looks in another direction at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hanging Out with Friends in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

21 Jul

A female cowbird sits on the back of one of the burros at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 27, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are some days in Siouxland I like hanging out with friends, maybe going on a photo safari and seeing what types of images we can find. And I am certain that is true for animals as well. At the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, there are a couple of burros and sheep which pasture together at the preserve. They can generally be found in the same vicinity of one another of which I don’t particularly pay close attention. But recently, while photographing the group in the pasture I took note of another critter hanging out as well.

A birder friend informed me that cowbirds will often accompany larger animals and feed on flies and parasites that might normally afflict the four-footed beasts. And so it get a comfy cushioned seat while munching at the same time. Reminds me of some human couch potatoes I have known along life’s journey. It’s nice to have friends.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A female cowbird sits on the back of one of the burros at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 27, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A female cowbird sits on the back of one of the burros at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 27, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Managing the Heatwave in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

27 Jun

A couple of Canada geese enjoy a sunshine day at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, Sunday, March 13 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Life in Siouxland has been heating up as it were. Like most of the country it seems the heat has settled for a few days with only intermittent rain showers to cool things down. On those days I wistfully think back to brisk walks I have taken outdoors, mostly at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve looking for critters and enjoying the time when I get back home and I put some coffee on to sit down with and enjoy the warmth.

Oh we humans are a fickle lot.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Canada geese find some open water on an iced over Mud Lake at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

More Bird Antics in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

20 Apr
A downy woodpecker checks out the scene at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I never tire of watching birds at bird feeders. Each species seems to have its own ritual when having a bite to eat. And sometimes I even feel intrusive watching them eat as they stop, stare, long and hard, before continuing their meal. But for a quiet moment, it can be bliss.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A downy woodpecker snacks at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker snacks at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker snacks at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker snacks at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Waiting for the Thaw as Winter Passes in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

14 Apr
Greater white-fronted geese among Canada Geese at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Friday, March 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As mentioned before winter in Siouxland and elsewhere has been different this year. Local weather folk said there were more above average warm days in February than cold days. But those cold days were very cold and small ponds and lakes, like Mud Lake at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, froze over. Migratory waterfowl walked about or even appeared to “skate” on the ice on the water. With only small areas where they could get their feet wet.

A Canada goose sounds off on a frozen Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, Sunday, March 13 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Blue hour in the morning on Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, Sunday, March 13 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But temperatures have warmed once again and the ice has melted for the time being. But it is not unusual to sometimes get a spring blizzard in April in Siouxland. It doesn’t last long, but still, winter has supposedly passed. The landscape is still brown, but recent and sporadic spring sprinkles with hopefully bring some spring flowers, or at least a green landscape. One can only hope it’s sooner than later.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two pair of Canada geese announce their presence at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, Sunday, March 13 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A morning walk on a frozen Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, Sunday, March 13 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One More Look of Siouxland’s Winter Visitors (well first of the year winter), Gavins Point Dam, Yankton, SD

8 Apr
A bald eagle perches in a tree above the spillway of the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Monday, January 3, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This year, so far, I have seen a number of bald eagles in various locales within the Siouxland region. The majority of those sightings took place at the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD along the Missouri River bordering the state of Nebraska.

Watching this creatures soar and dive and then perch aloft in tree tops is indescribably thrilling. They are are magnificent. Using a telephoto lens allows one a closer look. And after shooting way too many photos, one is able to retain a few keepers. I have seen other eagle photos posted that are much more dynamic than mine, but I keep trying. Time, place and luck, one can only wish and hope.

A bald eagle flies over the Missouri River looking for a meal below near the spillway of the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Monday, January 3, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bald eagle scoops up a fish from the Missouri River near the spillway of the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Monday, January 3, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even the best “athlete” has challenging days. A number of eagles caught fish from the Missouri River then subsequently lost their grip, which seems hard to imagine seeing their talons up close through a lens when they perch in the tree tops. But fish, even dead ones, are slippery, and then sometimes you have that interloper who expects you to share.

And back again into the drink for another chance for a meal and maybe the thrill of a catch.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A juvenile bald eagle challenges an adult male to its catch in mid-air over the Missouri Rive near the spillway of the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Monday, January 3, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bald eagle clutches a fish it caught from the Missouri River near the spillway of the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Monday, January 3, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Try try again and a bald eagle clutches another fish it caught from the Missouri River near the spillway of the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Monday, January 3, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes plans don’t go as expected as a bald eagle drops a fish it caught back into the Missouri River near the spillway of the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Monday, January 3, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographers and birders watch bald eagles perch in trees and fly about the spillway of the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Monday, January 3, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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

2 Apr
A red bellied woodpecker checks out the area before approaching a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When out and about in Siouxland and enjoying nature, I can only smile sometimes when I see various antics the feathered friends sometimes provide. A real life “floor show” with meaning. This winter on a warmish day I watched a red bellied woodpecker enjoying himself at a suet feeder, all the while keeping an eye on an interloper who sat nearby, watching. A Cyclops that unblinkingly never wavered from watching the bird enjoy an afternoon snack. These are those days from which I can amass a few hundred photographs trying to find one or two interesting moments or movements. But then, sometimes those moments don’t really materialize but are just images frozen in time of a warm winter’s afternoon.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A red bellied woodpecker eyes a visitor as it readies to snack at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A red bellied woodpecker feeds at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A red bellied woodpecker feeds at a suet feeder at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A red bellied woodpecker feeds at a suet feeder at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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