Archive | Weather RSS feed for this section

A Snack on a Cold Winter’s Day in Siouxland, Sioux City

7 Feb
A house sparrow eats a sunflower seed it found in the snow Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently the Siouxland area had another snow storm. This one dropping anywhere between 4-12 inches depending on where lucky souls happened to reside throughout the region. I felt really bad for some neighborhood residents as they tried to find food after this snow fall and made attempts during a very cold morning to get a meal.

A dark-eyed junco and a house sparrow race to a seed they found in the snow Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A house sparrow eats a sunflower seed it found in the snow Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I watched these neighbors dashing to and fro win the snow, chasing one another away from a possible food source and constantly looking. I photographed them for a while, watching the antics hopes of finding something to eat after the passing storm. Finally I had spent enough time getting fresh air and freezing my toes off. So I put my gear away and returned with nutrients that I filled feeders and spread about the ground, although the little buggers do that well enough themselves as they rush the feeders. Hopefully they got their fill for the time being before looking again in the afternoon as they always do before settling in for the night.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A squirrel eats a seed it found in the snow Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sparrow sits on a snow covered branch watching for its turn at a feeder Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A house sparrow eats a sunflower seed it found in the snow Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A house sparrow eats a sunflower seed it found in the snow Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Foraging for Food on a Cold Day in Siouxland, Bacon Creek Park, Sioux City

3 Feb
Deer forage in the afternoon on a cold day at Bacon Creek Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a fairly recent cold day in Siouxland I visited Bacon Creek Park to see what might be about and a chance for a short, quick walk. The weather not really conducive to spending long periods outdoors if didn’t have to, but also having a bit of cabin fever, sometimes short trips and a quick look about is in order.

As I saw these deer looking for some sustenance on this day in snow covered terrain I knew I didn’t have it so bad, leaving a warm house, a meal to return to and a chance to see some nature in action, as limited and calm as it was. Some days are made for a second cup of coffee and contemplation of all that is right.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A deer forages in the afternoon on a cold day at Bacon Creek Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hanging Out in Siouxland on a Cold Winter’s Day, Sioux City

28 Jan
A male cardinal sits nestled in a bush harboring during a cold blustery day at Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days recently in Siouxland it’s been extremely cold and like the winter’s tale involving Santa Claus’ trip around the world, “not a creature is stirring”. Upon a recent visit to Latham Park, a local private park, birds were hanging out about in the bushes that surround the park. While the green leaves and foliage is gone, the bushes still offer some refuge on a cold day sheltering the little feathered friends from gusts of wind. Probably dreaming of spring and warmer weather themselves. Patience oft thought of as a virtue, can sometimes be in short supply.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two sparrows sit on an iron wrought fence which surround Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Downy Woodpecker looks for lunch on a tree at Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A male cardinal sits nestled in a bush harboring during a cold blustery day at Latham Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Migration in Siouxland, Gavins Point Dam, Yankton, SD

26 Jan
A waterfowl that might be a lesser-scaup duck lands in the spillway of Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Thursday, December 30, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Maybe somedays I am not the most observant person, focused on some thing in particular and excluding other sights that should also command my attention. I have ventured out in a limited fashion this year in Siouxland looking for critters and migratory birds but to me it seems that the migration passed me by or is not following a pattern of what I have observed in years past, which could easily be the case.

Migrating snow geese fly overhead as they look for a landing place near the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Thursday, December 30, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
An American White pelican lands at a lake near the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Thursday, December 30, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have ventured already to some familiar places looking for migratory birds in December and January but have not found much of any thing. Even local wildlife that hangs out at such places. And my birding skills are vastly inferior to others I know, not seeing flying geese or other birds isn’t the same as finding certain species of song birds that pass through the area and are no larger than say a house sparrow.

I never mind getting out and taking a look, but am ever hopeful that my interest my at least afford me an opportunity to pull my camera out of its bag and make a couple of photographs. Of course, in the kind of weather as we have been having, I fault no feathered visitor in finding a warmer, more user friendly place to shelter in and hang out until conditions are better for its journey. I bitch and moan a bit about getting out in sub degree weather to look for these guys, and am not the “one on the road” traveling to a destination looking for fair winds and smooth sailing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Migratory waterfowl birds congregate at a lake area near Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Thursday, December 30, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
An American White pelican lands at a lake near the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Thursday, December 30, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Migrating snow geese fly overhead as they look for a landing place near the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD Thursday, December 30, 2021 (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Practicing Creativity in Siouxland, Lawton

20 Jan
Sioux City, Iowa, Camera Club member Ron Nicolls slings a lighted steel wool pad around himself as other camera club members attempt slow shutter, long exposure photographs in Lawton, Iowa Monday evening, Jan. 9, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently I joined a couple members of the local camera club in Siouxland, Sioux City Camera Club, as they attempted some slow shutter, long exposures of lighted steel wool done by another club member, Ron Nicolls, who attempts to get members to see a little differently and experiment with their photography.

Photographers stand at the right side of the image frame attempting slow shutter, long exposure photographs while Sioux City, Iowa, Camera Club member Ron Nicolls slings a lighted steel wool pad around himself. Stars can be seen above Nicolls during the photo demonstration that took place in field near Lawton, Iowa Monday evening, Jan. 9, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Sioux City, Iowa, Camera Club member Ron Nicolls allows photographers to prefocus on him before lighting a steel wool pad to sling around himself as camera club members attempt slow shutter, long exposure photographs in Lawton, Iowa Monday evening, Jan. 9, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Sioux City, Iowa, Camera Club member Ron Nicolls slings a lighted steel wool pad around himself as other camera club members attempt slow shutter, long exposure photographs in Lawton, Iowa Monday evening, Jan. 9, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was interesting as Nicolls spun the lighted steel wool on a tether about his person in a snow covered field, a little fire prevention precaution. As one continued photographing the look of what one was seeing kept changing. This makes sense in that, like a camp fire, as the fire dies out, the intensity first seen when the steel wool is lit and and then flung about, it burns itself out and thus gives varying degrees of light for photographing.

Sioux City, Iowa, Camera Club member Ron Nicolls lights a steel wool pad to sling around himself as camera club members attempt slow shutter, long exposure photographs in Lawton, Iowa Monday evening, Jan. 9, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Sioux City, Iowa, Camera Club member Ron Nicolls slings a lighted steel wool pad around himself as photographers attempt slow shutter, long exposure photographs in Lawton, Iowa Monday evening, Jan. 9, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Sioux City, Iowa, Camera Club member Ron Nicolls slings a lighted steel wool pad around himself, and its begins to dim as sparks fly into the air and photographers attempt slow shutter, long exposure photographs in Lawton, Iowa Monday evening, Jan. 9, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Depending on where one was standing you also had to be mindful of flying sparks either hitting you or flying nearby. However the sparks added a bonus of sorts to the images captured. I was shooting with an Olympus OMD M1 body which touts 4-5 stops of in-body stabilization and so was handholding my camera shoot between 2.5 seconds and 6 seconds at f/2.5 and f/3.2. I did get movement from Nicolls as he lobbed the lighted steel wool about his body, but for the most part, the in-body stabilization worked well, allowing me to somewhat “move about the cabin” and yet capture images created by the spinning burning wool pad.

It was an interesting and creative endeavor Nicolls presented to other camera club members and an opportunity to attempt a different type of photography that most have not considered. It was also nice that the weather that day was in the mid-30’s so not so bone chilling to make such an effort less than ideal. One’s pursuit of creativity is only limited by one’s non attempt at trying something different and experimentation which could lead to yet another effort to try another photographic approach.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Photographer Tom Schoening makes adjustments to his camera on a trip during a slow shutter, long exposure photography shoot by Sioux City, Iowa, Camera Club member Ron Nicolls who is slinging a lighted steel wool pad around himself in Lawton, Iowa Monday evening, Jan. 9, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Sioux City, Iowa, Camera Club member Ron Nicolls slings a just lit steel wool pad around himself as photographers attempt slow shutter, long exposure photographs in Lawton, Iowa Monday evening, Jan. 9, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Sioux City, Iowa, Camera Club member Ron Nicolls slings a lighted steel wool pad around himself as other camera club members attempt slow shutter, long exposure photographs in Lawton, Iowa Monday evening, Jan. 9, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Photographer Tom Schoening and Carey Anderson finish their slow shutter, long exposure photography shoot by with Sioux City, Iowa, Camera Club member Ron Nicolls who was slinging a lighted steel wool pad around himself in Lawton, Iowa Monday evening, Jan. 9, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Jack Frost Nipping Toes in Siouxland, Clay County, SD

16 Jan
Hoar frost creates a contrast with a tree’s darker bark seen along a county road in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter time in Siouxland can be a pretty time. Freshly fallen snow, hoar frost, snow drifts, within reason, can make for some compelling images. It’s just getting over the idea of getting outside when it’s cold and taking the photographs. On a recent trip to Clay County in South Dakota near Vermillion, hoar frost covered trees and roadsides. a virtual winter wonderland.

Hoar frost decorates a field seen in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Hoar frost seen along a snow covered county road in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What makes for a pretty scene may not always make for the best of driving conditions. And one always hope that other drivers share the same concerns and are not in such a hurry that a side trip through a ditch is part of the travel route. Especially when fog is also part of nature’s plan that visibility is limited. But it does make for a pretty site and instead of thoughts of sugar plums dancing in my head, it’s just another hot cup of coffee, and maybe a sweet roll to savor after a stint outdoors on a cold day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Hoar frost decorates a field seen in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Hoar frost seen along a snow covered county road in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Hoar frost covers trees along a county road in Clay County outside of Vermillion, SD Friday, Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Outdoors in Siouxland, Ice Fishing at Moorehead Park, Ida Grove

14 Jan
Ice fishermen try their luck for some action at a pond in Moorehead Park in Ida Grove, Iowa Saturday, Dec 31, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When growing up I did a little river and pond fishing near my home. It was fun, challenging, peaceful. Sometimes I spent more time just looking at nature and letting my imagination run away while sitting there fighting off bugs and mosquitos and waiting for some fish to bite.

In Siouxland when out and about I see people fishing at various places I traverse. But I never understood the appeal of ice fishing. It’s cold out, and colder still when one is not moving about and seated on ice. I have photographed a few hockey games in my day and was always glad to get away from the ice as it was sometimes colder during the winter indoors at a game than going outside to return to a newspaper office.

Whenever I see folk trying their luck I am always reminded of that movie with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemon, “Grumpy Old Men”. A too funny comedy, at least I thought so at the time. Although art and life and life an art imitating one another may or may not be true.

A fisherman walks out onto the ice to try his luck at Moorehead Park in Ida Grove, Iowa Saturday, Dec 31, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Ice fishermen chat while waiting for some action at a pond in Moorehead Park in Ida Grove, Iowa Saturday, Dec 31, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But enough people do ice fish and seem to enjoy it. I never asked though if they catch the same fish summer or winter. And if the time of year made a difference to the taste. Change of seasons and food source available for the fish, like honey bees near a clover field or a field of flowers. Different types of pollen affects the end result of the honey produced. But maybe fish aren’t that complicated.

I prefer to just stomp around the woods and trails, trying to keep warm while walking and looking for critters, when moving on four legs or two, each make for a good subject depending on the moment.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An ice fisherman joins a couple others who are waiting for some action at a pond in Moorehead Park in Ida Grove, Iowa Saturday, Dec 31, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Still Life in Siouxland, Bacon Creek Park, Sioux City

12 Jan
A still life of drift wood covered in snow and frozen in a pond at Bacon Creek Park in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes life can be simple and uncomplicated, even in Siouxland. A quiet walk in a park covered in snow when it’s cold. Not many folk about, and sometimes few critters. Which then may make it simple looking for images. Or not.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Until Next Year in Siouxland, Backyard Birds, Sioux City

31 Dec
A white-breasted nuthatch holds onto a seed it pulled from a feeder in the backyard of a residence Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the winter temperatures yo-yo back and forth between warmish and downright cold in Siouxland, I thought I would pay tribute to some backyard visitors until next year when the weather will be decidedly more pleasant. Cool is not bad, downright freezing is not. I would guess some of the visitors might be regular, but still they stayed long enough for me to attempt photographs, many of them, and I hope to see them back next year as the days grow longer and warmer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A red headed woodpecker poses for a photograph in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, November 15, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An American goldfinch poses on a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A house finch checks out a visitor while visiting a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A house sparrow comments about a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
An American Goldfinch enjoys a snack at a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday May 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sparrow munches on seeds at a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, January 16, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A downy woodpecker eats some suet in the backyard of a residence Sunday, December 26, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sparrow munches on seeds at a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, January 16, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Freezing One’s A__ Off in Siouxland, Sioux City

27 Dec
Frigid winter weather has temperatures around a -15 degrees Fahrenheit, and wind gusts up to 40 mph making the windchill feel like -44 degrees Fahrenheit, as a squirrel feeds on corn while covered in blowing snow flakes trying to stay warm in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like much of the Midwest and other parts of the country the Siouxland region was in an arctic freezer recently, with temperatures dipping to -44 degrees with windchill and wind gusts of 30-40 mph. I bundled up to clear sidewalks, which later covered again with the wind blowing, and filled feeders. I feel bad for the little critters spending the cold outdoors and so like to see that they have something to eat. And also filled some water bowls I keep outside, which froze over in just minutes. Even heated water bowls I keep outside during the winter were freezing over with just small areas visible without frost or ice. It’s pretty amazing and scary it’s so cold.

As temperatures for the Siouxland region which includes western Iowa, southeastern South Dakota and Northeastern Nebraska are expected to remain at -30 degrees Fahrenheit with wind wind gusts still up to 40 mph, house sparrows drink from a heated pet water bowl outdoors in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, photographed through a doorway window pane.
Frigid winter weather has temperatures around a -15 degrees Fahrenheit, and wind gusts up to 40 mph making the windchill feel like -44 degrees Fahrenheit, as house finches and sparrows feed at a backyard feeder then fly to nearby bushes with puffed out feathers trying to stay warm in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographs of the birds eating do not really tell the story of the frigid weather. Interestingly enough I had to wait a few minutes for the lens to acclimate outdoors as my first set of photos appeared not sharp, and luckily I could stay in a corner area outdoors that was somewhat protected from the wind. The birds though were thoroughly enjoying themselves and the eats and I was happy to see that.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Frigid winter weather has temperatures around a -15 degrees Fahrenheit, and wind gusts up to 40 mph making the windchill feel like -44 degrees Fahrenheit, as sparrows feed on fallen seed from a backyard feeder as they try to stay warm in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A house finch flies to another feeder as temperatures for the Siouxland region which includes western Iowa, southeastern South Dakota and Northeastern Nebraska are expected to remain at -30 degrees Fahrenheit with wind wind gusts still up to 40 mph, in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Dec. 23, 2022.
Frigid winter weather has temperatures around a -15 degrees Fahrenheit, and wind gusts up to 40 mph making the windchill feel like -44 degrees Fahrenheit, as sparrows puff out their feathers on a fence line in between trips to backyard feeders trying to stay warm in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
As temperatures for the Siouxland region which includes western Iowa, southeastern South Dakota and Northeastern Nebraska are expected to remain at -30 degrees Fahrenheit with wind wind gusts still up to 40 mph, house sparrows drink from a heated pet water bowl outdoors in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, photographed through a doorway window pane.
%d bloggers like this: