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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©)

A Day Out in Siouxland and a Frozen Falls, Falls Park, Sioux Falls, SD

29 Mar
With a lower than normal water flow, people take a photo near the water falls at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The winter in Siouxland this year was a curious season. Almost no measurable snowfall except in some areas of the region which causes concern for an agricultural area since moisture is necessary for planting crops in the spring. But also allowed residents to check out areas that normally are off limits due to water levels. The Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD is one such place. Visitors were able to access areas normally not available simply because the presence of water was too high and safety was an issue. Safety is always an issue, but folk were taking advantage of the low water levels to take photographs and see the park in a different light.

Low water runoff exposes a large area at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Foam floats into the air from where the waterfall hits the area below it at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But some area residents made the best of the situation with low water levels in the park from the Big Sioux River, and enjoyed themselves as we all adjust to whatever the new normal might be.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A white-ring mallard sits in flowing water along with a juvenile mallard at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s All in the Technique in Siouxland, Canada geese, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

27 Mar
Canada geese come in for a landing at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Friday, March 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I am out and about in Siouxland looking to photograph wildlife, birds in particular, I always find it amazing in watching them and seeing how much we humans have adapted technique for some of the technological advances that have been made, particularly when it comes to airplanes and flying. Who better to study, than birds.

Canada geese glide into a landing at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Friday, March 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese soar overhead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Friday, March 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I could only wish I was so graceful when moving about on this earth, although I am sure than a few of them have tumbled along the way, I just haven’t witnessed those moments. But the Canada geese are not alone in their graceful comings and goings. Other winged creatures have their own particular way of moving and getting about and it just makes for a nice day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

One Canada goose gets settled in after landing on Mud Creek at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Friday, March 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

American robins take flight from a tree top at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Friday, March 4, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An Eastern Kingbird takes flight near Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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

23 Mar
A rabbit hunkers down as a visitor passes by at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I spent a good deal of time walking the trails of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve located nearby. It’s peaceful and a nice way to get some exercise while also feeding the photography bug, photographing whatever critters may pop up during the walk.

A rabbit looks about watching someone approach on a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, August 3, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A rabbit sits quietly watching someone approach on a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, August 3, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young bunny continues its morning trek into tall grass at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most times I concentrate on deer and other larger animals. They also tend to “linger” a bit while checking out visitor on the trails, while the smaller critters tend to bolt right away. Better to be safe and leave than sorry for hanging around to see who’s bopping down the pathway.

And many times while there I also find various bird species. Mostly songbirds but at other times different varieties, and they too tend to be skittish and I am not always able to get as close as I might like to photograph them other than a “here is a snapshot of what I saw” kind of photograph. Of course he doesn’t help when a bicycle or runner goes by. That tends to spook the creatures with a fast moving “animal” passing by.

A Great Blue Heron feeds at Mud Creek in the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Great Blue Herron at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Great Blue Herron at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I try to be stealthy when photographing the birds, and have not yet gotten into the habit of rising before dawn to go “camp out” at a spot and wait for the critters start stirring in the wee hours of the morning. I still like to walk the park as much as I like to photograph the creatures and try to enjoy the best of both worlds and just enjoy the moment, a little fresh air and quiet, before the noise of the world grows louder as it inevitably will.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Great Blue Herron snacks in a marsh at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a Walk in Siouxland, Downtown Sioux Falls, SD

21 Mar
Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even in winter it’s nice sometimes to get out of town and take a walk in a nearby community, like Sioux Falls, SD. The downtown landscape around it and Falls Park will be changing in the years to come with some major construction underway along the Big Sioux River that runs through the community.

A walk from Falls Park into downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A walk along the Big Sioux River in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It had been a little while and there seemed to be new artwork in the downtown area, although it could be just new artwork to me since I have not been there for a few months. And as the weather cooperated and warmed up the day, it was nice to saunter about without an agenda to see what might photographically be appealing.

Dated billboard in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are numerous times when walking around a community it’s easy to become enthralled with architectural offerings as buildings’ angles and lines will draw one’s attention. And it’s easy to walk past street artwork as it’s just there, in harsh light and somewhat challenging to photograph.

But therein lies the challenge and a chance to savor these pieces of art for their own sake, which may look different on a summer’s day with trees leafed out and shade and a chance to saunter without a chill, that happens even happens on “warm” winter days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A statue of Richard Franklin Pettigrew stands near Falls Park in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Pettigrew was a founding father of Sioux Falls and his early years was a surveryor and later land developer. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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

19 Mar
Two Canada geese seem to be complaining to a photographer while they enjoy their day at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter in Siouxland as elsewhere has been unusual to say the least this year. Temperatures on a roller coaster ride, cold, very cold and then warm. The warm days were pleasant though, and most folk took advantage and got out to enjoy them. The waterfowl at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve also seemed to enjoy a bit of sunshine and warmth as they enjoyed walked about a frozen Mud Lake.

A bicyclist rides by as geese walk on an ice covered lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two women point at some geese on Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Canada geese enjoy a warmer day at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Living in the Midwest has its challenges during the winter months. But except for the extreme cold on some days, there was little snow shoveling this year which made many people happy, except for those that remove snow during the winter to add their bottom line. It’s March and warmer days are ahead. Maybe even a little rain to make up for practically no snowfall in this area. And it might be nice to once again photograph critters out at the preserve walking about some green space and getting much needed exercise and a chance to welcome a change of seasons.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two men walk their dogs during a warm day at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A joint bone of some animal that did not survive the winter, weather prey or succumbing to an injury seen at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese waddle about a dozen Mud Lake on a warm day at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Canada geese take to the sky blue yonder above the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, February 20, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Watching Eagles Soar, Gavins Point Dam, Yankton, SD

15 Mar
A bald eagle looks down from its perch near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Saturday , January 8, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s been an exciting winter this year in Siouxland to have been able to to see so many bald eagles and enjoy watching them cavort in and around the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD and elsewhere.

A bald eagle launches itself off a branch as it takes to the sky near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Saturday , January 8, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bald eagle launches itself off a branch to check for fish near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Saturday , January 8, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The birds or raptors are so fierce seeing them up close with a telephoto lens. And bird migration for the coming warmer months has begun as well with various species making their annual return trip for spending the spring, summer and early part of the fall months before making the trek again.

But it will be nice to see some green re-emerge and add some color to the landscape. And enjoying warmer weather, although winter has been overly warm itself, just not on a daily basis.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People gather to watch bald eagles near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Saturday , January 8, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A juvenile bald eagle sits on an ice outcropping looking for a meal near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Saturday , January 8, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A juvenile bald eagle holds onto a fish it took out of the river near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Saturday , January 8, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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