Tag Archives: animals

Finding Refuge in Siouxland, Scatter Joy Acres, Omaha, NE

17 Oct
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This fall I came across a small petting zoo located in a quiet neighborhood outside Siouxland in Omaha, NE. Scatter Joy Acres is a place where people can go and on a much smaller scale than the other local zoo in Omaha see animals and sometimes interact with them.

There are a variety of animals and it seems a very family friendly venue as families roamed the grounds waiting for an event to start just checking out the various animals on the grounds.

Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring and finding new places to check out is always fun and the joy of traveling even if that means driving an hour away. Hidden gems to a visitor not familiar with the area. Sometimes these are overlooked because one is a visitor, but then that just means more exploring closer to home and a chance to spend more time on the ground looking than driving or flying.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Place with a View in Siouxland, Le Mars

21 Sep

Turkey vultures roost on a grain elevator in Le Mars, Iowa, Tuesday August 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I guess it’s not only human nature to seek out a high spot to take in the surrounding view of an area in Siouxland as a recent trip to Le Mars allowed me to watch a gathering of turkey vultures roosting on a grain elevator next to the community’s fairgrounds. Of course for birds they always look for that high, vantage point as it also keeps them safe from predators. Although some human in the area must not have been pleases in that I heard loud noises that sent these creatures soaring up to be safer and also take a look at whatever was causing a ruckus.

Turkey vultures roost on a grain elevator in Le Mars, Iowa, Tuesday August 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was one of the few times I had seen so many vultures hanging out together. A little conflab of sorts I suppose maybe sharing places of interest to find a meal the next day, as evening was coming on and these birds would be settling in some place for the night. A routine many of us hope to once again pursue as life becomes a bit safer than the current virus episode makes it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Turkey vultures take flight after hearing a noise while roosting on a grain elevator in Le Mars, Iowa, Tuesday August 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeking Shelter in Siouxland, Snyder’s Bend Park, Salix

19 Sep

A woodchuck looks around hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When one senses danger or even that something is amiss, it’s only natural to seek shelter. Even creatures in Siouxland are wary of man’s attempt to intervene in nature. While on a recent outing at Snyder’s Bend Park a parks department crew showed up to do some work, and this poor little woodchuck seemed a little besides himself trying to figure out if he was in danger and why were on these people hanging out in his neighborhood this particular day.

A woodchuck takes off after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A woodchuck runs for cover after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A woodchuck runs for cover after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In most cases it is good to heed one’s instinct and behave cautiously rather than proceed as if nothing unusual is occurring. I believe that is the premise of many a teen horror movie that has been used numerous times all leading to the same conclusion. This little guy scampered away as fast as it could and appeared safe as far as I could tell. Until the next time it ventures probably hoping not to hear another backhoe for a while as it looks for a morning snack.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

A woodchuck heads off to a safer place after hearing construction noise at Snyder’s Bend Park near Salix, Iowa Thursdat, August 6, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Perseverance in Siouxland, Orange City

30 Aug

A grasshopper gets nowhere fast as it flies in place for a while before setting down and trying it again within minutes, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 in Orange City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A motto created somewhere in time concerns perseverance and the continued attempts. I saw this little guy jumping into the air and then buzzing its wings until it fell to the earth again. Repeating the motion time and again, never really getting anywhere. I have no idea if it was something in its nature as an insect or not, but felt sad in that it didn’t appear to be succeeding in its endeavor. I know I will never know, which doesn’t diminish my thought of the grasshoppers continued trying and how life is that way sometimes.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa

20 Jun

A pheasant runs through a field near Winnebago, NE, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Because Siouxland is comprised of areas in three different midwestern states, Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska, it is easy to drive from a “metropolitan” area into the country in a matter of minutes. And that is a nice attribute about living in such an area if you enjoy nature.

A woodduck sits on a nesting box while its mate peeks out at Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And it’s nice in my opinion to get away from the urban into the rural and enjoy what nature presents. Although it is possible to find these bits of nature in an urban area, but that requires patience, waiting to see what is about and noticing the fleeting moments.

A common grackle grabs some lunch at a backyard bird feeder in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, May 11, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A downy woodpecker stops to a take a look around before heading to a feeder in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, March 30, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I personally enjoy watching nature, its creatures and listening to their sounds. Hearing rain falling, a gust of wind, the birds chirping early in the morning, the lack of traffic on a street and a motorcyclist enthusiast not revving an engine to an extreme rpm because they are probably deaf and can’t hear their motor anymore. An older adolescent with a toy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Northern Shoveler paddles about Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday April 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Not worried about appearances, a squirrel enjoys a snack while visiting a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

 

Ode to Fatherhood in Siouxland, Sioux City

18 Jun

A male house finch is joined by juvenile finches on a bird feeder Monday, May 25, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I can only surmise how a parent much feel as they watch their offspring grow up, even here in Siouxland. Listening to family and friends over the years the stories can be entertaining for the most part.

And I wonder if something similar plays out in the Animal Kingdom. To which I received a treat when a backyard bird feeder came alive with a lot sound.

A male house finch surrounded by juvenile finches Monday, May 25, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Juvenile finches looking for their father who is at a nearby bird feeder Monday, May 25, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It seems a male (father) house finch was out to grab a quick bite to eat and was quickly joined by some “youngsters”, juvenile house finches. And poor old dad couldn’t get much to eat without being interrupted.

Juvenile finches surround a male house finch on a bird feeder trying to eat some lunch Monday, May 25, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A male house finch feeds a juvenile finch some bird seed Monday, May 25, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Another juvenile house finch joins his dad and sibling on a bird feeder Monday, May 25, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Try as he may to escape, the juvenile finches followed him about, each looking for attention and something to eat. Even as he flew from one point to another.

A juvenile house finch squawks at a sibling after it was fed by a male house finch Monday, May 25, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A male house finch feeds lunch to some juvenile finches Monday, May 25, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even after I stopped watching and photographing I could hear the cacophony of bird sounds creating an interesting din of nature. Thinking this particular male house finch will be glad when his brood is grown and literally “flown the coop”.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A male house finch escapes its juvenile offspring looking to be fed keeps getting its lunch interrupted by juvenile finches Monday May 25, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A male house finch sitting on a bird feeder Monday, May 25, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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©)

Hanging out with Friends in Siouxland, Adams Homestead, North Sioux City, SD

29 May

Birds flock to a tree at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, April 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I find myself frequenting the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve often these days in Siouxland. It’s a nice place to go and forget about current events and issues and enjoy nature and the variety of animals that inhabit the park. All of whom are mostly hanging out with their friends every time I visit.

Turtles sunning themselves on a log at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

They live in the moment and enjoy what there is without projecting, as far as I can tell, and I remind myself that one never really knows what the future holds, except maybe The Shadow, and then only a select number of folk even realize what I am referring to. As friends would say, it’s a generational thing.

Geese sweep across the surface of Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The antics of the animals are fun to watch as well. Much like people watching, seeing them behave as they do and trying to determine whatever motives there may be, other than instinct. Probably a similar quest as to determining which came first, the chicken or the egg.

Two gadwall ducks paddle about Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday April 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Two wood ducks sun themselves on a log protruding from the water at Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday April 20, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And I find it’s a good thing to sit, watch and ponder, knowing there are answers to questions I will never know, and so don’t overly burden myself with asking pondering too long. Just enjoying the moment, being present, and looking forward to my next visit to this outdoor paradise.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A lone Redwing Blackbird sits in a tree at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, April 27, 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©)

%d bloggers like this: