Tag Archives: animals

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©)

Taking a Closer Look in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

6 Sep

An insect clings to a dew covered grass stem at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will be the first to admit that sometimes while out traversing Siouxland I am too focused on a specific place or subject I want to photograph. Many times while visiting the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve I am looking for birds and deer or other “larger” creatures. But sometimes, slowing down and really taking a look can prove fruitful. One such encounter this summer on a kind of foggy, dewey morning had me a take a second look while walking in a meadow at the preserve.

Morning dew clings to grass stems in a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Morning dew clings to grass stems in a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I do not own any macro lenses. Never have. When I worked for newspapers and needed to do closeup shots of certain subjects I used a “normal” lens and added a lens extension tube. This cheap man’s version of macro. And it worked effectively enough to give me images I needed without buying yet another lens I might use only occasionally. And I could use the extension tube on different lenses thus changing my focal length as needed.

An insect clings to a dew covered grass stem at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Morning dew clings to grass stems in a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

If I remember I believe I spent maybe 30 or minutes trying to take these photos. I was using an extremely long telephoto lens on a monopod. I had slowed my walk to a standstill and enjoyed it immensely, not realizing so much time had passed as I tried capturing dew drops and other nature looks with the lens I had at the time.

It’s easy to overlook things sometimes. Just wish I had my cup of coffee with me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Morning dew clings to grass stems in a meadow at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Monday, July 18, 2022. This week temperatures are regularly going to hit triple digits with high humidity creating tough conditions in the Siouxland region of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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

9 Aug

Photographs of the book “Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, 25 Years” by photographer Jerry L Mennenga, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the North Sioux City, South Dakota park, taken Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This month a local park and preserve will be celebrating its 25th anniversary as a nature preserve, park and general nice place to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve has grown into a local place of peace and solitude and to help celebrate its milestone I have put together a small book to commemorate its existence and to showcase some of the residents that hang out there.

Photographs of the book “Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, 25 Years” by photographer Jerry L Mennenga, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the North Sioux City, South Dakota park, taken Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographs of the book “Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, 25 Years” by photographer Jerry L Mennenga, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the North Sioux City, South Dakota park, taken Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have taken many walks and hikes over the years and seen changes to the preserve and am always happier after a walk. Although these days I am looking forward to cooler temperatures as the heat and humidity even in early morning can be stifling.

Photographs of the book “Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, 25 Years” by photographer Jerry L Mennenga, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the North Sioux City, South Dakota park, taken Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographs of the book “Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, 25 Years” by photographer Jerry L Mennenga, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the North Sioux City, South Dakota park, taken Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The preserve will be hosting a celebration day in August with some events and a chance for people to explore and enjoy the place to recharge themselves. Maybe get to see some of the residents of whom a few appear below. Although the cast and crew may change in nature, the joy of seeing and photographing them always remains a high point on any day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bashful Red-headed woodpecker tries hiding sitting atop a dead tree stump at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 27, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker looks for a meal at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, December 24, 2021 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A mourning dove sits quietly in a tree at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve on a chilly Friday, December 24, 2021 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall color at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An Eastern Kingbird takes in its surroundings at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 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©)

Seasons in Siouxland, Bigelow Park and Brown’s Lake, Salix

22 Apr
A number of Canada and greater white-fronted geese take off from Brown’s Lake at Bigelow Park in rural Woodbury County Monday, March 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The “spring season” in Siouxland as elsewhere seems out of whack with weather bouncing back and forth between seasonal and a bit warmer, to still cold with biting wind gusts that reminds one Mother Nature is not quite done with sharing winter yet. A couple of different days checking out Bigelow Park and Brown’s Lake yielded different results. Wind gusts making temperatures feel like the teens and only allowing one to stay outside of a warm vehicle for maybe 10-15 minutes tops.

Sandhill cranes make a flyover at Brown’s Lake at Bigelow Park in rural Woodbury County Sunday, March 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some common mergansers look like low flying missiles over Brown’s Lake at Bigelow Park in rural Woodbury County Monday, March 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A common merganser flies low over some Canada geese and other waterfowl at Brown’s Lake at Bigelow Park in rural Woodbury County Sunday, March 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the wind and temperature didn’t seem to affect or bother the waterfowl present at the lake. Flying in and flying out, taking wing on whatever pretext, although some did react to low flying raptors looking for a meal and watching perched in nearby trees.

A juvenile bald eagle surveys Brown’s Lake at Bigelow Park in rural Woodbury County Sunday, March 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An adult bald eagle looks over at a juvenile bald eagle in tree tops at Brown’s Lake at Bigelow Park in rural Woodbury County Monday, March 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But as much as I like watching the birds fly about and test my skills trying to photograph them, the windchill and cold temps made the prospect of having breakfast and a pot of coffee a strong influence in seeking a warmer climate than my vehicle. And nothing like having another opportunity to try again to capture these creatures in nature.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A common merganser flies low to land at Brown’s Lake at Bigelow Park in rural Woodbury County Sunday, March 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese lift off at Brown’s Lake at Bigelow Park in rural Woodbury County Sunday, March 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese do a fly over before landing at Brown’s Lake at Bigelow Park in rural Woodbury County Sunday, March 6, 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©)

Bird Migration in Siouxland, DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri Valley

5 Mar
Swans rest at an open water area on a lake area at the DeSoto National Wildlife Area Monday, January 31, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like most parts of the U.S. that are pathways for bird migration during the winter months, I have seen birds moving through Siouxland, but it seems hit and miss at times. Although by no means am I a “hardcore” birder, out in whatever weather looking for these critters, but try to time my trips with reasonable temperatures at least north of 20-25 degrees without windchill. And maybe because it has been such a weird winter in that temperature swings from the 50’s down to below zero every few days has affected the birds and their instincts and migration.

Swans come in for a landing at a lake area at the DeSoto National Wildlife Area Monday, January 31, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese, a variety of ducks and swans enjoy open water and ice at the DeSoto National Wildlife Area Monday, January 31, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the few times I venture out I see some waterfowl in various open water areas but not nearly as much as previous years. But then I read about others who have seen scores of birds around the Siouxland area so figure my cold weather reluctance might be a factor.

Two women view Canada geese, a variety of ducks and other waterfowl near an open water area at the DeSoto National Wildlife Area Monday, January 31, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese, a variety of ducks and other waterfowl enjoy open water and ice at the DeSoto National Wildlife Area Monday, January 31, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But getting out and enjoying nature and attempting to photograph these creatures is all part of enjoying the day or moment until the next opportunity arises. I just keep wishing that the little rodent Phil had seen or not seen his shadow, whichever it may be, and that winter would end earlier than the little critter predicted.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An eagle watches for movement from atop a tree along the Missouri River at the DeSoto National Wildlife Area Monday, January 31, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese, a variety of ducks and other waterfowl enjoy open water and ice at the DeSoto National Wildlife Area Monday, January 31, 2022 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Quiet, Albeit Maybe a Lazy Day in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

23 Feb
One of the monkey species reacts after a bit of a nap at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some actions, whether animal or people, speak for themselves. When it comes to primates and other species as well, it’s easy to identify with creatures and some habits they exhibit. All God’s children in Siouxland, and some days reflect that fact.

Recently visiting the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE I visited a primate section and spent some time observing and enjoying behavior that anyone might exhibit. Some days are just made to lounge after breakfast and it was late morning when I arrived. A warmer than usual day and the sun was trying to peek out from behind the morning clouds.

A young primate rests on a cement branch in an enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spending some quiet time at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Curled up for a quiet day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There has been a see saw of weather extremes in Siouxland as of late. Temperatures in the 50’s, then dropping down to single digits with overnight lows in the minus 0 range. Those are days I personally like not to venture outside and have reached a stage in life where that is possible. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to pick and choose one’s moments. Not often, but once in a while it works out.

A little extra mid-morning snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A primate watches as visitors stop and watch him and others at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young primate watches children outside of its enclosure waving to it at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Personally I am looking forward to those spring days so time spent outside only requires a sweater or a fleece pullover and a hat. Longer daylight so drive time and the beginning of plants and fauna greening up again. It also allows a little longer visit to the zoo and maybe another museum or park in the Omaha area, as well as a lunch break. Some days are meant to be slow and meandering and spent in thought and gazes.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A primate tends to some needs at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A warm day in winter is a nice pleasure taken out of doors at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying some sunshine on a warm winter’s day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer’s Past in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

27 Nov
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©)

Now as fall begins to wane and the prairie winds pushes temperatures into a more wintry feel in Siouxland, I just sigh and think about walking about the region in warmer temperatures and realize it will again be a few months. Even though recently air temp has stayed in the 40’s with a couple days even approaching high 50’s, that prairie wind creates a wind chill affect negating whatever warmth the sun appears to be sharing.

A male cardinal perches on a bird feeder near the welcome center at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, August 3, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A red-headed woodpecker searches for a meal on a tree at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Tuesday, August 3, 2021 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So I try to adjust my thinking and pull out heavier coats to continue taking walks in nature, weather permitting, as well as driving conditions, and enjoy the moment at hand. Wishful thinking is that, until the reality of the day interrupts serene thoughts and life presents itself in the moment.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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©)

Bidding “Friends” Goodbye in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

9 Nov
A deer checks out a walker on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the changing of seasons takes place in Siouxland and elsewhere, I am certain I may not see as many wildlife critters as I did during the spring and summer months, and early autumn. My own inclination to get up when it’s dark and to take a walk when it’s cold seems less appealing these coming months. But then again, I might get lucky. While out and about, I might come across some deer and other critters over the winter months as they look for food and survived the fall’s hunting season. As least I hope they do. It makes for a much pleasant walk when the creatures pause, stare and wonder about you as much as you might pause, stare and wonder about them.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A deer checks out a walker on a trail from a safe distance at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A deer stops its grazing as a walker approaches on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A deer checks out a walker on a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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